Sunday, 20 July 2008

Rock Werchter Festival 2008 in Belgium - A Music Lover's Wet-Dream

Rock Werchter is an annual festival that takes place in the small Belgian town of Werchter, which gets beseiged by roughly 85000 young music fans every year, who come to camp, party, and enjoy a massive line-up of some of the best bands and dance acts the world has to offer. It may not be as famous as the UK's Glastonbury or as well-attended as Denmark's Roskilde, but not only is it the oldest major music festival in Europe, it also has arguably the best line-up of any rock fest in the world, with the possible exception of Holland's Pukkelpop.

This year's line-up was any South African rock, dance, indie and electro lovers wet-dream, giving myself and photographer Chris Saunders the opportunity to see many of the acts we love the most and wouldn't usually have a chance to catch live. These are mostly bands which would never make the trip down to the southernmost tip of Africa, so needless to say, getting the chance to see them all during four days was a phenomenal experience. This year, artists on the bill included Radiohead, Sigur Ros, Beck, Neil Young, Nick Cave's band Grinderman, The Kings of Leon, Hot Chip, Kaiser Chiefs, Justice, Digitalism, Soulwax, 2 Many DJs, The Chemical Brothers, The Hives, Gossip, Band of Horses, MGMT, Mark Ronson, Gnarles Barkley, REM, Lenny Kravitz and many more. Even massive hip-hop star Jay Z and major metal moguls Slayer, looking a bit lonely as the only acts of their kind on the bill, made the trip to the land of mussels and waffles for the festival.

Surviving four days of such extreme madness requires many things, including protection from the rain which inevitably falls during the festival's four days, tons of Euros to buy food and drink vouchers, and a commited desire to run around frantically trying to catch as many of Werchter's best bands as possible, which can be difficult, since some of these acts are playing at the exact same time. Some impossible decisions had to be made: The Hives or Band of Horses, Gossip or MGMT, 2 Many DJs or Chemical Brothers - life is tough when one is confronted by so many difficult line-up clashes. Needless to say though, we left Rock Werchter feeling extremely fragile and utterly exhausted, but exhilerated and totally satisfied after seeing so much great music packed into one unforgettable weekend. I know it's wrong to boast but I just can't help it - Rock Werchter 2008 was, simply, incredible.

Contact Chris or myself ( if you are interested in a story on the event. - Daniel Friedman


The Kings of Leon

Sigur Ros's Finale.

A Thom Yorke close up

Elza Novak

The Editors Live!

An Emotional Crowd.

I have no idea what these guys where up to?

Be prepared, bring good footware.

After waiting 7 hours to watch Radiohead live it was great having the crowd support our weight.

More images can be seen in the next issue of SL magazine.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hey Chris
You are a legend... have told you that before :) Hope to chat to you again soon ok... alot has happend since i last saw you....