Belgian government and festivals deliberate on increased security measures following Brussels attacks
Europe was left reeling yet again in March 2016 as Belgium fell victim to terrorist attacks only a few months after its neighbor France endured a similar tragedy. Suicide bombers destroyed sections of the Brussels airport and the Maalbeek metro station, elevating the country’s threat level to 3.
As festival season looms closer, government officials have begun working in tandem with major festival organizers to ensure the best available public safety standards are met. A joint statement by organizers of Graspop Metal Meeting, Rock Werchter, TW Classic, Dour Festival, Tomorrowland and Pukkelpop reveals a series of consultative sessions with local authorities that will soon lead to a decision on which additional measures they will implement in the coming months.
One leaked measure by Flanders News involves the potential banning of backpacks and purses at these events — rules that are already in place for major sporting events in Belgium. However, nothing has been set in stone and the festival leaders participating in the talks highlighted in their statement that their goal is to continue allowing these items but with more thorough inspection. While they cannot reveal exact details on what sort of measures will be taken by these events over summer, more information will likely present itself as the season commences. The full statement from Tomorrowland’s press team can be viewed below.
MAJOR SUMMER FESTIVALS WORKING ON COLLECTIVE SECURITY MEASURES AND GUIDELINES
The safety of our visitors, artists and their crew, festival staff and local residents has always been a top priority for Graspop Metal Meeting, Rock Werchter, TW Classic, Dour Festival, Tomorrowland and Pukkelpop. All these festivals consult with the authorities and emergency services on a regular basis. Every festival implements a solid security policy.
Still, the reality is that our world has changed recently. As a society, we must learn to deal with the threat of terrorist attack. These last few weeks and months, a series of intensive consultations have taken place with local and federal police, local governments and the Ministry of Home Affairs in preparation of the approaching festival summer. Existing plans are being updated, additional measures are in the pipeline.
The festivals themselves have also taken action. Graspop Metal Meeting, Rock Werchter, TW Classic, Dour Festival, Tomorrowland and Pukkelpop are working on collective measures based on their consultations with the authorities. Clear directives will be established on what to allow or disallow at the various festivals. The aim is to allow backpacks and bags but only following thorough inspection.
In the next few days and weeks, each of the festivals will inform its festivalgoers, staff and other interested parties of the directives and guidelines that must be observed. They will do everything in their power to make sure the additional checks run as smoothly as possible. The organisers would like to thank the fans in advance for their understanding, their willing cooperation, the extra effort they are asked to make and also for their continued vigilance.
Festivals are a celebration. This and every summer.
Peter Van Geel for Graspop Metal Meeting, Herman Schueremans for Rock Werchter and TW Classic, Damien Dufrasne for Dour Festival, Manu and Michiel Beers for Tomorrowland and Chokri Mahassine for Pukkelpop
Important remark: For safety reasons we are not at liberty to communicate in detail on existing or additional safety procedures. For the same reason we cannot announce all the measures taken by the festivals and the competent authorities in this regard.