Last weekend, Sony Music and GenerationFly sent the winner of their summer internship contest to Wercheter, Belgium for Rock Werchter. Here are her dispatches.
By Kristina Truong
It was a gorgeous Friday in the small town of Werchter, Belgium, a perfect day for music festival craziness. After a rigorous 25 minute walk from our RV through farmland and cattle, my group and I found ourselves in a massive crowd of thousands of kids on their way to what some say is the best rock festival in Europe: Rock Werchter.
We finally got through the entrance and retrieved our press passes, granting us exclusive access to the VIP lounge. Once inside, one of the festival directors, Geert, from LiveNation Belgium, gave us a thorough background and history of Werchter and set us up with all we needed for the day to come.
After fueling up in the amazing VIP lounge, we made it out to the festival ready to rock. The lineup of the Friday show at Rock Werchter was incredible: Coldplay, the Killers, Bloc Party, Jason Mraz, the Streets and Lady Gaga, just to name a few. We met tons of people and made new friends from all over the world — the majority of the crowd was international and they were totally excited and psyched to meet and party with Americans.
Bloc Party definitely got the dance party going on in the crowd with all their raw energy. The Killers put on a fabulous show and reciprocated their energy onstage right back to the crowd. The closing act, Coldplay, put on an epic show giving the audience such a moving experience. Lead singer Chris Martin made a tribute to the great Michael Jackson by singing his own version of “Billie Jean,” and he killed it (in a good way).
But the biggest surprise of the night had to be Lady Gaga. The wildcard pop star in the middle of a bunch of rock bands, Gaga brought an extra bit of manic energy that the crowd reacted to, and the result was nothing short of mind blowing.
The unbeatable line-up Saturday at Rock Werchter consisted of spectacular acts like Social Distortion, Limp Bizkit, Franz Ferninand, Kings of Leon, Regina Spektor and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
One of the great acts of the night was Kings of Leon. In just their jeans and basic T-shirts, these simple guys from Tennessee got the crowd going all sorts of crazy with their raw energy and their “bar band” sound which definitely resonated throughout the show. When the band hit the first few notes of “Sex on Fire,” the crowd went mad. Regardless of diversity among the crowds national languages, this chart topper was received just as well abroad as it currently is in the United States. A memorable part of the night was when lead singer Caleb gave recognition to the his national holiday and a live electric guitar version of “The Star Spangled Banner” was taken in by the audience enthusiastically.
There were no signs of fatigue amongst Rock Werchter’s revelers on the final day, and I’m pretty sure it’s because everyone has saved their very last bit of energy for the long awaited and highly anticipated Metallica performance. The lineup was fleshed out by Black Eyed Peas, Metro Station, Royksopp, The Script, Kaiser Chiefs, The Mars Volta and Nine Inch Nails.
But for me, the most memorable moments occurred off stage, as I got to meet the members of power-punk-pop group Metro Station and the amazing drummer, Glen Powers, from this year’s breakthough band the Script backstage at the Sony Music Tent. All of these artists were incredibly friendly and totally humble. Metro Station drummer Anthony Improgo grabbed my video camera and helped me direct an impromptu interview with the rest of the band, noting that they were excited to share the bill with bands that they look up to, like Metallica and Nine Inch Nails. A few moments later, Glen from the Script, introduced himself to me backstage, and it turned out that it was his birthday. Later during the Script’s show, frontman Danny got the thousand people in the crowd to sing “Happy Birthday” to Glen, which was absolutely incredible!
As the night continued on, Nine Inch Nails left an unforgettable stage performance. Trent Reznor kicked and screamed throughout the performance leaving him soaked head to toe in sweat — which only helped show off his incredible ripped muscles.
When Metallica finally hit the stage, the crowd went insane. Belgium frites and cups full of Jupiler (the famous Belgian beer) were flung around the massive crowd once the band got onstage. During the middle set of the show, a group of hundred or so people waiting outside the festival grounds were climbing up steel posts and pushing their way through steel fences to get their way into the concert. A huge industrial tractor had to be used to hold back all the madness — this sort of insane behavior proved to me how die hard and intense Metallica fans really are.