Vintage Werchter

Rock Werchter chief Herman Schuermans said this year’s Belgian festival was definitely Grand cru class, leaving 80,000 music fans delighted with four days of top-notch entertainment.

He hesitated to say it was the best of the 35 annual Werchter festivals he’s produced, but multiple reports suggest it reinforced why Belgium’s No. 1 outdoor continues to mop up awards and many consider it to be Europe’s best festival.

It was so hot throughout the July 2-5 weekend that a couple of light shows came as something of a blessing to those who soaked up the sun and music from top acts including Coldplay, Metallica, The Prodigy, Placebo, The Killers, Oasis, Kings of Leon, Dave Matthews Band, Limp Bizkit and Elbow.

Schuermans was particularly pleased that once again the four-day tickets were sold weeks in advance and 60,000 fans opted to camp onsite and continue to soak up the atmosphere.

“There were so many outstanding performances and each act seemed to play with so much energy, wanting to be better received than the act before or even to be the best act of the day,” Schuermans explained. “They were striving to be competitive in the best possible way and the festival benefited because so many of them delivered excellent sets.”

The recession doesn’t seem to have dampened the foreign visitors, as they came from 70 countries but mainly from Holland, followed by the U.K., and then France, Ireland, Spain, Norway, Germany, Luxembourg and Australia.

Others came from such far-flung places as Bahrain, Swaziland, the United Arab Emirates and South Korea.

Other acts helping boost Rock Werchter’s international reputation included Grace Jones, Lady GaGa, Bloc Party, Amy Macdonald, The Streets, Mastodon, Lily Allen and White Lies.