The 18-year-old Dour Festival might be considered to be something of a late developer but it’s certainly made up for lost time by smashing its own attendance record two years in a row.
After reconfiguring the site to create more space after selling 130,000 tickets in advance in 2005, it managed to pull another 4,000 last year and seems intent on confirming its position as "The European Alternative Music Event."
The marketing slogan used to be "The Belgian Alternative Music Event," but a sharp increase in the number of visitors coming from France, Holland and the U.K. – and maybe some expansionist thinking in the marketing department – led to the organisers deciding to fly a bigger banner.
This year’s event July 12-15 will see Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Wilco, Bright Eyes, The Rapture, Two Gallants, and The Frames playing Dour’s 35,000-capacity La Plaine de La Machine a Feu site – midway between Brussels and Paris.
That lineup should help the festival build its reputation for focusing on developing talent.
However, festival marketing officer Sophie Chevalier believes it’s the festival’s ability to cross genres that has caused the crowds to come. She said it’s a festival for music lovers rather than for lovers of any particular genre.
This year’s bill also has hard rock and metal offerings from bands such as Sick of It All, Converge, Walls of Jericho, Sounds Like Violence, and Dropkick Murphys, a reggae and ska lineup that includes Sizzla, Beenie Man, Anthony B, and Israel Vibration, plus the techno-electric sounds of acts including Luke Vibert, The Cinematic Orchestra, and Goose – a local act that looks set to conquer new territories after this year’s European Talent Exchange Programme in Holland.