Three of the most famous producers in the world will show off their skills at Belgium’s Rock Werchter music festival this summer. Deadmau5, Skrillex, and Steve Aoki are all booked to play at the festival, which boasts one of the most eclectic lineups in the world.
Pearl Jam is taking the stage just before Deadmau5. Other acts that will appear over the four day weekend include hip hop’s Cypress Hill and punk rockers Rise Against, as well as big names like The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Florence + the Machine, and Snow Patrol.
Essentially, it’s an audiophile’s paradise, with pretty much every genre covered. Three stages will be on the go at any given time, which means that there is bound to be something going on that appeals to every participant throughout each day and night. Camping is onsite for those who get full festival passes.
Rock Werchter has been labeled as one of the biggest festivals in the world, and one of the cool features it offers is that festival wristbands also get you into a series of museums. Organizers have even established their own festival museum, and artwork is exploding around the festival grounds (not literally).
The festival has been around since 1975, albeit under a different name. It was originally a rock and blues festival, called the Rock & Blues Festival, and the first year it took place in a single tent as part of the local youth movement’s activities. Two years later, the founders turned it into Torhout/Werchter, or T/W, and the tent held 5000 people for one day in each town. This space proved to be too small for the crowd that showed up, and by 1987, the festival was drawing over ten times that number in each location.
A year earlier, attendees booed Depeche Mode as an inappropriate addition to the festival, due to their synthesizer sound. When Belgian vocal trance band Milk Inc. joined the 2009 lineup, many of the festival’s fans claimed that they did not belong at a rock festival. This year, nobody seems particularly unhappy about three of the biggest names in EDM showing up to perform.
By 1999, the festival had become at three-day affair, and Torhout was dropped as a venue. The festival now takes place exclusively in Werchter, mostly because it is financially unsustainable to present big acts twice in the same circuit. Each year, the festival showcases around sixty bands and artists, and in 2004 and 2006, Rock Werchter received the Arthur Award for Best Festival from the International Live Music Conference (ILMC).
Full festival passes are sold out for the four-day 2012 festival, which takes place from June 28 to July 1. Single-day tickets are still available from the festival’s website for every day except Sunday, but they promise to sell out quickly as the date approaches.
With Deadmau5 playing the main stage on Friday, Skrillex hitting up the Pyramid Marquee on Thursday, and Steve Aoki performing on Sunday, it’s a tough call for visitors to pick a day. Luckily, electronic dance music has become acceptable to festival-goers, so other less well-known bands and producers will also be taking part this year. Open-minded participants are sure to be in for a treat no matter which day they go, since Rock Werchter likes to give opportunities to the best new musicians, including some unsigned acts.