It may not have a government but it’s got a darn good music festival. Rock Werchter, Belgium’s most famous attraction since cheap beer and chocolate, comes to a field near you (well if you’re in Continental Europe) from Jun.30 to Jul.3. Get started with this guide.
Held in the village of Werchter (funny that), near Leuven, Rock Werchter has been going since the early 70s. Now it is one of the biggest festivals in Europe, just as synonymous as rival Glastonbury (sometimes clashing on the same weekend). 2011 is no different with over 120,000 attendees expected to head down to enjoy a lineup that includes The Chemical Brothers, Coldplay, Portishead, Kings of Leon and Arctic Monkeys.
Getting there is fairly easy. The De Lijn bus company runs a continuous shuttle service between Leuven railway station (easily reached anywhere in Belgium) that is included (along with return train fare) in the festival ticket price.
If you can snag a cheap flight to Zavantem, you can get one of the two trains per hour to Leuven but possibly the cheapest way is to car pool with friends and make the road trip to Belgium via the Eurotunnel or ferry.
Grabbing a ticket for Rock Werchter can only be done through official channels. A 4-day combi ticket (including camping) is a lot cheaper than British equivalents at EUR 195 (GBP 172). One-day tickets cost EUR 76 (GBP 67), but you can buy a camping ticket on top for EUR 18 (GBP 16) and stay on whatever days the lineup most takes your fancy.
New this year is Camp-site XL ticket (EUR 25 or GBP 22) which enables visitors to come and stay at A sites (closer to the main entrance and stages).
Here’s What a Real Gapper Thinks:
Last year, we were really lucky because the weather was great. If you like camping, Rock Werchter is more than up to the task, and the atmosphere is buzzing. Most people seem to bring chairs – usually only newbies don’t – so get one of those foldable camping chairs that you can carry over your shoulder easily. Toilets can be a problem, but you’ve gotta make some compromises somewhere!
Another tip would be to bring your own food, maybe some canned soups and something to heat them up because the food and drink is overpriced and not exactly gourmet. From the beginning, try to pick up as many plastic cups as you can see on the floor because you can also give those in for a free drink! Finally, if there’s only one tip I would leave you with, remember this: it’s the people you go with that really make the trip!
See our travel guide to Belgium
Got any more tips for Rock Werchter? Share your thoughts below…