A photo from a previous edition of the festival. Credit: Belga
Organisers and stallkeepers at Ghent’s music and arts summer festival, Gentse Feesten, have expressed concern after a drop in attendance registered this week due to the record-beating temperatures in the country, with one calling the situation “disastrous.”
Management at the festival has said that the drop in attendance could put this year’s edition of the festival under financial strain, as members of the public flee the scorching outdoors during the afternoon, according to HLN.
“It’s just disastrous,” stallkeeper Xavier Cloet told the outlet. “We have already broken the world record for more staff than guests,” he added, referring to the around 30 attendants he had seen on Thursday afternoon, a day which saw the record for the hottest temperature recorded in Belgium fall.
From Zuidpark to Veerleplein, the outlet said the city’s streets were as deserted as a ghost town, with a spectacle on Thursday gathering a mere ten spectators— a rare sight during Ghent’s renowned, multiple-day festival which has an average attendance of two million.
Stallkeepers nevertheless hold on to the hope that, as the heatwave recedes, the weekend will see attendance levels go back to normal.
“We assume the weekend will make everything right,” Cloet said, adding: “Fortunately the focus of our program is in the evening — the evening sales make up for a lot.”