Belgium's Rock Werchter festival was one of many major event to come up with an alternative program after the worldwide Covid-19 shut down killed the festival summer.
Aside from a digital program, Rock Werchter opened the festival site on the originally scheduled festival weekend, July 2-5, to host the Zomerbar (summer bar) at the North West Walls site in the Festivalpark.
The summer bar opening hours were eventually extended until July 26, at which point 36 concerts, two comedy nights and one live TV show had taken place, witnessed by more than 15,000 people.
All shows were ticketed at 400 capacity. Tickets were sold in packages only: four seats around one table, including one parking ticket. Tickets were priced between €100 and €180, depending on the artist.
The Summer Bar was realised with the help of 37 local clubs and associations and some 1,300 volunteers over the entire period, who took care of the smooth running of the food and beverage operations, hosting and parking.
"Was it a success? Most definitely. But this needs to be put into perspective. We are living in unusual times. Until now, open-air events with up to 400 people were possible, under strict conditions," a promoter statement reads.
"The Summer Bar was good while it lasted but it’s not a viable model. It was only possible with the help of sponsors and suppliers, the support of the local authority, and the efforts of many, many workers. It’s still a summer without festivals or concerts.
"The live music and events industry is suffering. We live in times of empty schedules, temporary redundancies, significant loss of turnover. The proceeds from Rock Werchter merchandise sales and the Summer Bar will be donated to LIVE2020, the Belgian live music sector’s solidarity fund.
"LIVE2020 aims to support those who are struggling financially, as well as supporting the recovery. It is important to us to be able to contribute to LIVE2020."