Rock Werchter postponed again
The Rock Werchter music festival is moving its edition from 2021, which should have been last year’s, to July 2022. “It is almost impossible that Werchter will drag the rest into its trap,” said the well-known stage builder Stageco.
‘We have concluded that we cannot prepare the festival normally. Nor can we be sure that the festival can go on in full form once the date comes, ” said a press release. ‘Postponing again is the right decision, but a very bitter pill to swallow. We want to offer fans and artists only the very best Rock Werchter experience. In the current circumstances we cannot achieve this. ‘
Tickets will be transferred to next year. Ticket holders can also convert their money into credit for other festivals that take place in the Werchter Festival Park in 2021 or 2022, it says.
Organizer Herman Schueremans had recently announced that Rock Werchter could be postponed to September. This turned out to be not an option due to the many uncertainties surrounding the virus, such as the vaccination speed and the availability of international artists.
Blow for employment
The organization is working on an alternative for this summer. That will not be able to ease the pain for the Belgian live sector. Behind Rock Werchter is an ecosystem of dozens of suppliers and thousands of freelancers. The most famous supplier, the stage builder Stageco, makes a hard decision. The company normally sets up four stages in Werchter. ‘The impact of the festival amounts to only a few percent of our turnover,’ says operational director Tom Bilsen. ‘But it can hardly be otherwise or Werchter will drag the rest into his trap. We assume that we will be able to write on our stomachs for the first part of the summer, until the end of July. ‘
We assume that we can write on our stomach for the first part of the summer, until the end of July.
If the festival season falls to pieces again, it will be a blow to employment at Stageco, which has almost all medium-sized and large music festivals in our country as customers. The company employs 100 people on a permanent basis. In a normal summer, 250 stage builders and subcontracted technicians are added. On the spot, all those people also receive help from technical personnel supplied by the festival organizer.
Eaten up reserves
Bilsen hopes that something more will be possible from August. Pukkelpop is still on the calendar, Tomorrowland may move to the end of the summer. Other festivals are also willing to postpone their dates. ‘That way we can still have something left over from our year,’ says Bilsen.
Last year, the global player stranded on a turnover of just under 4 million, or 10 percent of its Belgian turnover in the 2019 financial year. 2021 will not get much better, the director already knows. Two almost lost years, how does he keep his company afloat? ‘With state aid, the little work in fashion and construction that there is and our reserves, we will survive this. But what if everything gets going again and our reserves are completely eaten? How are we supposed to keep up? ‘