With prices for a refreshing brewski on the terrain having reached the stellar price of three euros a pop, we’ll have to turn to the equally stellar talents performing to take us to higher places. As always, you can count on many great stages to mix and match to your liking. The new ‘Lift’ tent and open-air ‘Booth’ are Pukkelpop’s way of showcasing the fresh faces of tomorrow and bringing the venues up to a nice even ten. We strongly recommend poring over the schedule in advance to create the perfect festival experience entirely suited to your own tastes, the only way genre-transcending Pukkelpop allows.
As far as headliners go, Rihanna plans to werk her magic on the main stage on Thursday right after Eagles of Death Metal and The Last Shadow Puppets have satisfied all metal and rocker needs. On Thursday, brooding indie pop representative Halsey is planning to pay her first visit to Belgium before Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds take over. Friday is again rock o’clock with Bring Me the Horizon, Biffy Clyro, LCD Soundsystem, and the honor of wrapping up the main stage goes to Belgium’s own electropop sensation, Oscar and the Wolf. Although, of course, the party rages on – as it does every night – in the Castello tent and aptly named Boiler Room.
Speaking of homegrown talent, Pukkelpop has mustered up a whole parade for its third decade in business. Charlotte de Witte, previously known as Raving George, will be turning up the heat in the Boiler Room with dark beats while Tsar B will be unleashing ethereal and oriental R&B in Castello. Hotly anticipated after their Rock Werchter triumph is Bazart, the band that came out of nowhere half a year ago to seduce the country with languorous Dutch-language hit ‘Goud.’ Add to that Bent Van Looy, Arbeid Adelt!, Flying Horseman, Compact Disk Dummies, Ertebrekers and so much more Belgian goodness that we don’t even have the room to name them all. Les Belges are also in charge of kicking off the festivities on Wednesday as Frères Deluxe, Admiral Freebee, School is Cool, and Magnus get the party going for festival-goers with a combi or Thursday ticket.
Those in need of some cooling off after all the hot and heaviness can head to one of the best things to happen to Pukkelpop in recent years: the Food Wood. In a tranquil green spot hidden behind the Marquee and Shelter stages lies an unadulterated foodie paradise. Trucks with delightful puns in their name like Just Say Cheese, Pass the Peas and Chippiejajee stand between trees and colorful terraces so you can take a load off with a delicious dish of your choice (with vegetarian and gluten-free options aplenty this year). The Food Wood is also the ideal place to grab a hot meal between concerts since gas burners or any other kind of heating instruments are no longer allowed in the campgrounds.
We’ll leave you with the knowledge that the foodie forest with its strung up lights is also the most romantic place in all of Pukkelpop in the evening. This with the notable exception of the tents where the better singer-songwriter work is being performed by Jack Garratt, Tom Odell, Dotan, James Blake, The Tallest Man On Earth, etc., of course.