Although Graspop and Dour didn’t technically sell out, the metal bash at Dessel overcame a public transport strike to record 135,000 visitors over three days, well up on its recent average crowds.
Dour could also have squeezed a few more onto its 45,000-capacity site, but the overall five-day crowd of 195,000 smashed its previous attendance record.
“We have several festivals in Belgium, but they all vary from each other. We are together strong,” says Herman Schueremans from Live Nation’s Rock Werchter, which in July set the Belgian ball rolling by selling out its 88,000-per-day capacity.
He says the key Belgian festivals have gained a reputation for consistently giving fans good value for their ticket money. They certainly have a reputation for making people want to stay for the whole event. Most of the tickets sold for Rock Werchter and Pukkelop, the country’s two biggest festivals, are full festival tickets.
Werchter had 55,000 on the campsite each night, while Pukkelpop had more than 50,000.
It’s particularly good news for Pukkelpop (Aug. 14-16), which in 2011 could have been blown away when a deadly storm caused the event to cancel shortly after opening.