A European music festival, I HAVE FINALLY ATTENDED A EUROPEAN MUSIC FESTIVAL! Wait, let me just be sentimental on this again, but ahhhhhhh. Sorry if I had to repeat myself right there, because every time I relive that moment all I feel is great love for everyone and everything. It feels like part of my dreams came true even.
I remember when Bart and I were just friends, Rock Werchter was the one that we have talked about most of the time, especially last year because some of my favourites were there (and Hozier is just hot, ha! Oops sorry Bart). And because of that fact, this music festival is undeniably one of the most notable events of our life together. Rock Werchter became the first music festival that we have attended with the company of each other and also the first event on where Bart tolerated my fangirl life.
Before I start with the festival itself, let me just give you a backstory on the happenings before the festival’s day one. Yes, we weren’t supposed to go to Rock Werchter, because initially our Europe trip was scheduled during the spring time and part of that plan is to watch Florence + the Machine in Lisbon. However, due to some series of (un)fortunate events we ended up taking a summer trip that I may say got its own ups and downs, and one major point to this trip is finally getting a chance to attend a music festival in Europe! Thus, Rock Werchter took a big part of our summer.
We did not hesitate in attending the festival and one of our main reasons besides the experience itself is its oh so phenomenal lineup! Prior to the next ballistic moments that will happen in a few minutes of you reading this, it is best if I will have to introduce to you this happening in my life. So, this is the first phase of my story and welcome to our Rock Werchter 2016 life!
Anxiety, excitement, panic attacks, laughter, and most of all an overwhelming mixture of emotions. Our 30th of June started with a heavy pouring rain, which we did not expect, yes, I wore summer clothes during a cold rainy day in Belgium, how unfortunate right? So we had to buy a raincoat and a pair of wellies first before getting in to action. The train station became our next stop, and this was the time where our excitement built up even more because we were able to witness how the people with their camping things filled up the whole station.
Our arrival in Leuven was pretty smooth, what’s even better was the fact that our Airbnb place was near the train station and the city’s bus stop. All thanks to Anne (https://www.airbnb.com/users/show/29846533) and her family for providing us a good home for four (almost five days). Then of course after all the arrangement at our place we went back to the station right away to ride the free shuttle/bus provided by the festival. That is why, if you do not feel like camping, don’t worry, because Leuven is a good place to stay in, plus there is a free bus ride anyway. It is fun, we promise!
After months and days and hours and minutes and seconds of waiting, finally! I know you are also bored already from all my festival blues, sorry about that! Okay going back, finally! We have arrived, we walked almost a kilometre or less from the bus stop, at first I did not experience the pain because I am giddy excited for everything that are about to happen, but after the day and the next Bart and I got somehow irritated walking so long already. Yup, we are lazy people.
The process of entering the festival grounds was a smooth one and what astounded me the most was the whole Food & Beverage section. Buying the stubs/tokens was a fast and clear thing to do, buying of food will also not take you forever; if you are a frequent festival-goer you may understand this sentiment of mine, especially here in the Philippines, lines will take you forever just to get a bottle of water!
Time for us to now settle down and the first band that we have witnessed was Kaiser Chiefs, who performed at the main stage. It was actually a cool and different experience for me because the crowd is quite different, but it was still a great experience. The next one to perform was Jake Bugg (AHHHH SUCH A CUTIE, forgive me if that was the first thing I have noticed, I am a fan don’t worry!) During his set, the rain did not stop on pouring and that instance totally made Jake’s country rock set a solemn one–if that is even the proper word to describe that experience. But overall, Jake definitely provided everyone a great performance.
Ellie Goulding was set to perform next, ELLLLIIIIEEE! I love her so much and I have been waiting for her since I don’t know when. Once she started performing, Bart and I noticed that she is much better than her recorded voice. Her whole performance is certainly an A+++! And one more thing that I have loved was that Ellie gave the crowd a great rollercoaster of emotions, she either made us all feel extremely happy or emotional, then the next thing you know is that she united everyone with a feeling of love and being love in return, especially when she sang Army.
A childhood’s dream and for my dad a fanboy’s dream was about to happen right after Ellie, because the Sir Paul McCartney was up next! “Paul, Paul, Paul!” a chant that surrounded the whole festival grounds, until there he was with his band preserving his total rockstar aura. He performed some classic The Beatles and Wings songs and also some songs from his new album.
What I love about Paul’s set was everyone’s singing and by everyone I mean the millennials up to the older generation. The crowd was outstanding for being interactive. Paul also showed equality and unity by waving the flags of Belgium, United Kingdom, and the LGBTQ community. That thing was also timely during that moment because Brexit happened just a week or two before the festival.
His performance was the best for me during that day and it even became truly perfect when the confetti showered us right after his last song. The experience became so magical and right now I could tell you that I am running out of good adjectives to say, because it’s that breathtaking!
I will not end this letter with the sweetest lines ever, because our day ended with a long line for the shuttle back to Leuven and a bit of regret that we weren’t able to watch Flume and James Blake. However, part of me not giving a good ending is because there are still more to come! So we now bid goodbye to Rock Werchter’s first day and see you again next week for Bart’s letter or which I may say the phase two of our Rock Werchter adventure!