Summer Music Festivals: Rock Werchter & Pukkelpop

To get the ultimate summer feeling all one has to do is visit a music festival. Provided the weather is nice, it simply doesn’t get better than lying in a grassy field while listening to some great music. I went to my first multi-day festival last year and liked it so much that I went to two this year: one at the beginning of my summer break and one at the end. First up was Rock Werchter: with 3 stages and 80000 visitors total this must be the biggest event I ever went to. Pukkelpop is much smaller and showcases some quirkier music. Both festivals were great and I’ll tell you now a bit about the bands I’ve seen and what I did during those days.

I was one happy bunny upon my arrival at Rock Werchter…

Rock Werchter:

Bands I saw:

Day 1: Sigur Ros, Vampire Weekend, The National, Black Angels, Laura Mvula.

Day 2: Charles Bradley, Gary clark jr, Two Door Cinema Club, The Script, Phoenix, The Lumineers, Ben Howard, Blur.

Day 3: Disclosure, Rudimental, Django Django, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, James Blake, Frank Ocean, Rammstein. (Plus it was my birthday!)

Day 4: Bastille, Haim, Tom Odell, Alt-J, Of Monsters and Men, Jake Bugg, Depeche Mode.

All in all Rock Werchter was a great festival. The people I was with were fun and we stayed at the Rock Village. I dislike campsites so I was happy to stay in a wooden chalet with bunkbeds with pretty good mattresses. On top of that it came with breakfast, a swimming pool, jacuzzi and massages. The atmosphere at Rock Werchter is great. It’s very relaxed as there are three stages with only two of them having performances at the same time. This makes for some easy choices. The festival also attracts larger bands that easily ask a lot of money for an individual show. So you’re definitely getting your money’s worth.

Highlights Rock Werchter: The National, Frank Ocean, Ben Howard and Blur. Because nothing says happy birthday than getting doused in a rain of beer while rocking out to Song 2.


Bands I saw:

Day 1: Imagine Dragons, Mikal Cronin, Allah-las, Surfer Blood, Villagers, Phosphorescent,  Kate Boy, AlunaGeorge, Dillon Francis, Bombino, Nine Inch Nails, Savages, Eminem.

Day 2: The Prodigy, Cloud Boat, Lord Huron, Noah & the Whale, Little Green Cars, The Black Heart Rebellion, Chvrches, Girls in Hawaii, Skunk Anansie, Eels.

Day 3: Clock Opera, S O H N, Bosnian Rainbows, Alabama Shakes, Kodaline, Bonobo, Frightened Rabbit, Foals, Franz Ferdinand, The XX.

At Pukkelpop there is no special campsite devoted to non-campsite fans. So instead we stayed at a hotel about 20 mins away from the festival. It’s so nice to be able to shower after a day filled with dust, dirt and beer. Musically you can find some more challenging stuff at Pukkelpop if you dare: there’s a bit of everything from dance to metal and everything in between. This makes making choices really difficult and so on day one I found myself wandering from tent to tent a bit trying to find something that pleased my ears. Pukkelpop is a lot smaller than Rock Werchter and so I ended up front row at the main stage for Skunk Anansie and The XX and pretty much every other show where I didn’t feel too tired to stand up on my own two feet.

Left = Skin from Skunk Anansie

Highlights: Villagers, Savages, Little Green Cars, Eels, Chvrches, Clock Opera, Franz Ferdinand, The XX.

If I were made to choose between these two festivals I wouldn’t know how. Both have their strengths and so I will eagerly await the announcement of the performances for next year. If it’s interesting enough I may just find myself doing a tandem yet again. What festivals did you go to over summer?

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