Jul 27, 2020

Rock Werchter Summer Bar: small pleasures in strange times

The heady days of the Rock Werchter for LIVE2020 Summer Bar are over. So it’s time for a quick round-up with a few facts and figures. The Summer Bar was in place for twenty days, at the Festivalpark in Werchter. Between 2 and 26 July, 36 concerts, 2 comedy nights and 1 live TV show took place. Over 15,000 people had a great time at the Summer Bar: that much was clear from all the happy faces. In the crowd, on stage and backstage. Being able to enjoy live music again – a real delight.

Working at the Summer Bar were 37 local clubs and associations with approximately 1300 volunteers over the entire period. They took care of the smooth running of the bar, serving food and drinks, hosting and parking. The Summer Bar also offered some respite for the performers and their crews, production staff, audio/light/video technicians, booking agents, caterers and event security. Was it a success? Most definitely. But this needs to be put into perspective. We are living in unusual times. Until now, open-air events with up to 400 people were possible, under strict conditions. The Summer Bar was good while it lasted but it’s not a viable model. It was only possible with the help of sponsors and suppliers, the support of the local authority, and the efforts of many, many workers. It’s still a summer without festivals or concerts. The live music and events industry is suffering. We live in times of empty schedules, temporary redundancies, significant loss of turnover. The proceeds from Rock Werchter merchandise sales and the Summer Bar will be donated to LIVE2020, the Belgian live music sector’s solidarity fund. LIVE2020 aims to support those who are struggling financially, as well as supporting the recovery. It is important to us to be able to contribute to LIVE2020.

From now on, we are looking ahead. To next year, when Rock Werchter will return at full strength, from 1 to 4 July. A first batch of names has already been announced for 2021: Pearl Jam, Gorillaz, Twenty One Pilots, Pixies, alt-J, Jamie xx, Royal Blood, The Lumineers, Thom Yorke Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, Rag’n’Bone Man, Nothing But Thieves, The Streets, Cigarettes After Sex, Miles Kane, Fontaines D.C., GoGo Penguin, Cavetown, Big Thief, Black Pumas, girl in red, The Dead South and Boy Pablo. More names will join these soon. Tickets for Rock Werchter 2021 are available at proximusgoformusic.be and ticketmaster.be.

But for now, take care and stay safe. Wear that mask, keep your distance, and wash your hands. Look after yourself and others.