The weekend saw a return to some large-scale music events with Pukkelpopwartier and Ostend Beach welcoming thousands of music enthusiasts after uncertainty as to whether coronavirus restrictions would allow them to take place.
As an established fixture of Belgium's festival calendar, Pukkelpop was forced to downsize from its usual 66,000 capacity and this year run a smaller format under the name Pukkelpopwartier. Yet in spite of the reduction in size, crowds limited to 1,500 people were still drawn to the event that took place from Thursday to Sunday at Hasselt's Muziekodroom venue.
Although many of the headline acts that had been scheduled were unable to attend the event, the lineup of largely Benelux artists including Dutch rap group The Opposites and Belgian indie band Dirk. All days sold out.
A spokesperson for the festival described the palpable excitement of attendees: "It was four days of smiling faces, of festival-goers having a good time and artists that could finally do what they do best: making people happy."
And although the use of Covid Safe Tickets (CST) for events made the much larger Pukkelpop impracticable this year, the safety measures worked well on the smaller scale.
- Pukkelpop organises smaller event after cancellation of large-scale festival
- Ten years ago, a pop festival turned to disaster
- Indoor events possible in autumn 'if everyone is motivated to get vaccinated', De Croo says
Also over the weekend, the 11th edition of Ostend Beach dance festival took place on Klein Strand in Ostend and was attended by 20,000 people over the three days.
Attendees could dance without masks but were required to show a CST upon entry, a measure that organisers said functioned "very well," adding that "everyone understood and respected the safety rules."
With three stages, the event catered to a variety of tastes with a schedule spread across 'Urban Friday', 'Clubbing Saturday', and 'Classic Sunday' and featuring artists such as Kölsch, Pat Krimson, and Yves Deruyter.
"It was fantastic, the best one yet. The atmosphere was very relaxed and we really felt that everyone had been waiting for this moment for a long time. It was also great to see so many happy faces without the need for masks," a member of the organising team said.