LucerneThe sky opened Friday evening over Grote Kaai during the start of Lokerse Feesten. Visitors did not let the vagaries of the weather affect their hearts. “We are proud of our staff because we can make this happen,” says festival president Timothy Heiningk.
Umbrellas and ponchos had to be brought in right before the performance of The Haunted Youth, who were allowed to play the 46th version of Lokerse Feesten. Fortunately, the sun also poked its nose in the window every now and then, even a rainbow appeared over the podium. Caroline van Heys, Natasha de Ross and Sarah Templeri enjoyed a bottle of champagne at the table. “It’s Friday night and we can finally enjoy live music again. The rain is not a concern for us,” friends say.
Also Chris Vervet, former baker At Stationsplein in Lokeren, to enjoy the first evening of the festival with his wife Manuela and their friends Martin and Ruth. “If I’ve had to bake in the past, that didn’t exist at all on Friday night. The only festival night we’d had a few years ago was that night with Triggerfinger. Then the plaza was evacuated by a storm. I hope that doesn’t come tonight,” Chris laughs. “Usually we went here last summer to impress Lionel Richie. It’s not possible this year, but I hope it lasts a little longer and one day he will come to Lokeren.”
Not all 400 bubble tables for four were picked up at Grote Kaai on Friday. Sixty tables remained empty, but the festival board took that into account, says Chairman Timothy Heiningk. “We never assumed we would sell out every night. When we reformed our program, it was said that festivals could take place in their normal form after August 13th (Meanwhile, Pukkelpop and Tomorrowland, editor) were canceled as well as with groups who attended our festival.”
The festival site looks different this year, with bubble tables in the first place, but the VIP tent isn’t there either and there are only eight counters instead of three. The stage is also smaller. “We are not working with international mega productions this year. We are compelled to go smaller this year, but we absolutely don’t want to lose in quality,” said Vice Chairman Bart Nunemann.
The festival board has previously said that never before has so much time and work been devoted to setting up Lokerse Feesten like this year. “This is not an exaggerated statement,” Heninck says. “Since it was not clear what would be possible, we have come up with different scenarios for this summer, but we are proud of our staff because we can make it happen. During these 10 days, another 500 volunteers will be busy here.”
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