Ahhh, the season of sweaty tents, warm drinks and befriending weird strangers is upon us. A nightmare to some, but an unmissable yearly tradition for others. If you are one of those people that can’t wait to see all of your favourite artists you have been listening to all year (or new ones you have never heard of), then this article is for you. Every year, Red Bull Elektropedia has a few stages at some of the best summer music festivals our country has to offer. On the menu this year: cutting edge dance music on our massive stage at Dour Festival, cosy club nights at Lokerse Feesten, serious party vibes at Couleur Café and proper raving at Extrema Outdoor. We have asked the same set of questions to all our partner festivals this year, each with the goal of finding out what you should look forward to exactly. May you get yourself ready for yet another festival season for the books!
Represented by: LANDER MERCKPOEL
Location: Grote Kaai, Lokeren Date: August 3 – 12
Red Bull Elektropedia stage name: Red Bull Elektropedia Room
Red Bull Elektropedia stage since: 2013
Any changes this year for your festival compared to other editions?
"To be fair, our festival site will look not all that different compared to last year, but we did just have a complete makeover in our lay-out, logo and website. Special props to Gents!"
...and what about the Red Bull Elektrope- dia stage? Any changes there?
"We just have to wait and see until our co-stage manager Jonas Weyn (also known from Arf & Yes) drops a few incredibly cool-looking stage proposals. Usually, his last proposals tend to be the craziest ones. Whatever it may look like, we guarantee it will be a crazy combo of light and sound for a massive club venue."
Who will be gracing the RBE stage this year? And why?
"Just naming a few here: 2manydjs, Front 242, STIKSTOF, Broederliefde, Glints, Caballero & JeanJass, Bjarki, Johannes Heil, Yves Deruyter and many more. Me and my lovely co-programmers Peter Daeninck and Bert Reniers can say that we will happily work together with some old trusted and brand new stage hosts: All Eyes On Hip Hop, 1988, Cherry Moon, Contrair x Tom Tom Club and Vunzige Deuntjes."
What makes the RBE stage stand out at your festival?
"The fact that it’s not a huge outdoor stage or festival tent; it’s a much cosier indoor venue that can hold between 800 and 1000 ravers for proper club parties. For 10 days in a row, people will be able to rave to international headliners and Belgian talent!"
How would you describe a perfect day at your festival, from dawn til, well, dawn?
"After a slow day of barbequing in a sunny garden or a little drink on a cosy terrace with friends, you can come down to our festival site. Once here, you can switch between big headliners on the mainstage and upcoming talent in the Red Bull Elektropedia Room, where you can dance the night away until the early hours (aka 2:30am on weekdays and 5am in the weekend). To complete this perfect day, you could order a traditional ‘Paardenworst’ whenever the munchies kick in."
What were your personal best 5 minutes in the history of Belgian festivals?
"The first time I saw Soulwax Nite Versions on Pukkelpop, without a doubt!"
Belgium is being praised from every corner of the world for its splendid festival-scene. What gives? Are ‘we’ really that good?
"The knowhow is world-class in Belgium. Our central location in Europe allows us to travel to 2 or 3 other incredible top shelf festivals on any given summer weekend within a reason- able amount of time. I believe that a lot of festival promoters learn a lot from each other in this way."
How about the Johnny Law: do you have a good relationship with the local au- thorities? In what way is this essential for conducting a comfortable and carefree edition?
"Everyone thinks it’s crazy how we are allowed to organize a 10-day music festival in the middle of town until 2:30am (outside) and 5am (inside). Needless to say our good relation with the city and the authorities is crucial. It’s a win-win situation anyway; the nation-wide promotion the city of Lokeren receives from our festival is priceless."
Will your current location hold for X more years? Or will you need to expand to maintain the current growth?
"Ideally, we would love to stay on the same loca- tion, with the same capacity, for years to come."
How’s your festival agenda looking for this year? (BE and not BE)
"I’m eager to visit Primavera Sound in Barce- lona soon, what a lineup! Then I’ll probably be around for Rock Werchter, a few days of Dour Festival, Gentse Feesten and some smaller events here and there. After Lokerse Feesten I’ll need my 2 weeks of rest in Italy – sorry Chokri! (laughs)"