Chris Stessens

Summer of 2020: the summer with no festivals

The security council’s ban on mass events till 31 August means all the big summer music festivals will be cancelled. Rock Wercher, Tomorrowland and Pukkelpop have all been called off, but many smaller festivals and concerts have also been cancelled too.

People, who already bought a ticket, should receive a voucher or this year’s ticket becomes valid for next year.

The decision to abandon summer music festivals due to the threat of corona was anticipated.  Experts already let it be known that bringing large crowds together with visitors from Belgium and abroad simply wasn’t sensible.  Festival organisers are relieved they now at least have clarity.

The security council intends to provide a clearer definition of “mass event” by 3 May, while it is also looking at what will happen with smaller events.

Metal meeting Graspop will have to celebrate its 25th anniversary next year.  Tomorrowland attracts 400,000 visitors from at home and abroad over two weekends.  Cancelling the festival will have an enormous economic impact on hundreds of suppliers, acts and staff. 16-18 July and 23-25 July 2021 have already been pencilled in as the dates for the next event.

Rock Werchter, TW Classic and Werchter Boutique are affected too. A spokesperson for the organisers says “This was the only good decision.  The health and security of festival goers, artists, crew and volunteers is our greatest priority.”

Some had hoped Pukkelpop from 20 to 23 August might escape the ban, but it was not to be.  In Ghent too many are heartbroken.  The Festival of Ghent, Europe’s biggest street festival, from 17 to 26 July is cancelled as are the Lokerse Feesten (Lokeren beginning of August), the Cactus Festival in Bruges (early July), Reggae Geel, and Suikerrock in Tienen and Maanrock in Mechelen (end of August).

Leffingeleuren, organised in Leffinge outside Ostend, on from 15 September still hopes it can proceed.