Weather Leaves Sfinks Bedraggled

Antwerp’s Sfinks Festival was yet another victim of the wet European summer, but event producer Patrick de Groote said it was nowhere as bad as the 2001 washout that left the Belgian event in a financial crisis.

"More than 50 percent of the crowd aren’t regular festival-goers and so they’re inclined to buy day tickets nearer the time of the event," he explained after four days of rain cut the usual 10,000 per day crowd by a quarter.

"It doesn’t put us into a bad financial situation, but it does mean we need to be a little more careful when planning what new features we’ll be able to offer the audience next year."

In 2001, Sfinks’ 25th anniversary, torrential rain turned the 10,000-capacity Boechout site into a quagmire and cut attendance by half, leaving the influential world music festival with a downside of 10 million Belgian francs (around US$340,000).

The event only survived because of what festival accountant Jan Moens described as "an increased grant from the Flemish Ministry of Culture and a very understanding bank manager."

This year’s July 26-29 bill included Mahala Rai Banda, Kocani Orkestar, DJ Gaetano, Hoba Hoba Spirit. Tashi Lhunpo Tibetan Monks, 17 Hippies, Kasai Allstars and Gypsyland Extravaganza.