Richie Sweetens It For Suikerrock

A last-night sell-out featuring Lionel Richie and Belgian act Clouseau ended this year’s Suikerrock Festival on a high, after rain had put a dampener on the early part of the three-dayer.

It was wet when a bill topped by Lauryn Hill played the opening night and the 16,000 capacity main square at Tienen was only half-full.

"As with most Belgian street festivals where most of the entertainment and activities are free, we don’t sell many tickets for the main square in advance," explained festival booker Stefaan Wouters.

"People tend to wait until the day to look at the weather. If they decide to come, it’s only a case of them having to go to the town centre," Wouters said.

The crowds picked up as the weather improved and there were 14,000 on the following night to see Suzanne Vega and Hooverphonic, another Belgian act.

The 16,000 that showed on the final night for Richie and Clouseau ensured the festival, which takes its name from the fact the town is the hub of Belgium’s sugar production, did much better than break even.

The other acts helping the people of Tienen to put up with the miserable weather July 27-29 included Krezip, Natalia, Sarah Bettens, Nailpin, Warren Suicide, Neo and Confuse The Cat.