Know Before You Go: Summer 2023 Music Festivals & Events in Belgium
Publication06 June 2023
Summer 2023 sees the return of some of the world’s largest music festivals to Belgium, as well as other major sporting and cultural events.
In 2022, over 650,000 people attended Tomorrowland over 3 weekends, approximately 300,000 music fans attended one of the world’s oldest rock festivals in Werchter and 360,000 F1 fans descended on Spa-Francorchamps for the Belgian Grand Prix.
Belgium Summer 2023 Highlights
|Rock Werchter||30 June - 3 July||Werchter [30km from Brussels]|
|Dour Festival||12 - 16 July||Dour [80km from Brussels]|
21 - 23 July
28 - 30 July
|Boom [35km from Brussels]|
|Belgian F1 Grand Prix||
28 - 30 July
|Spa-Francorchamps [140km from Brussels]|
17 - 20 August
|Kiewit [70km from Brussels]|
If you are planning on attending these or other major events in Belgium this summer, we have some travel tips to help you be prepared and stay safe.
Know before you go …
REGISTER WITH US
Irish citizens travelling to Belgium are strongly encouraged to register their contact details so that we can contact you or your family in case of emergency.
MEDICATION, HEALTH & TRAVEL INSURANCE
If you are bringing prescription medication with you, you are advised to bring a medical certificate with you. You can expect to be searched when entering event sites and if you cannot show evidence the medication you have is yours, it could be confiscated.
Bring your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you, check it is valid before leaving and if you don’t have one or need to renew apply now via HSE.ie, if resident in Ireland. If you reside in Northern Ireland or Great Britain, bring your existing valid EHIC or apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC).
The EHIC or GHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance and does not cover medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment or treatment of a non-urgent nature.
We also strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance.
Read more about the importance of obtaining an EHIC and travel insurance on the DFA Know Before You Go page.
PASSPORT & PASSPORT CARD
It is important to take care of your passport/passport card. In Belgium, you are required to be in possession of a photo ID at all times.
Make a copy of your passport, email it to yourself and leave a copy with a family member at home, in case it gets lost or stolen and you need replacement travel documents. A copy of another photo ID is also useful to have.
We strongly recommend applying for an Irish Passport Card prior to travel (apply now). The Passport Card can be used to travel within the EU/EEA/UK, it fits in your wallet and is less likely to get lost.
A photo ID may be needed to enter ticketed events. Keep your ID in a secure, safe place and consider using the on-site lockers, where available and where it is safe to do so.
LOST OR STOLEN PASSPORT?
Check with the Lost & Found as passports are often handed in. If your passport cannot be located, report the loss/theft of your passport to the on-site police.
If a replacement travel document is required, the Embassy may be able to issue you with a single use travel document with limited validity to get home. You will need to travel to the Embassy in Brussels (over 2.5 hours away by train from Spa-Francorchamps and an hour away from Tomorrowland) on Monday or the next working day with the following:
• 4 passport photos (photo booths are available in most transport hubs)
• Police statement of loss or theft
• Photo ID / copy of lost/stolen passport
• Return travel details (e.g. flight confirmation email)
• €30 (cash or via bank transfer)
The issuing of replacement travel documents is subject to checks that can take some time. You may need to rearrange your travel plans.
Under no circumstances should you travel to Belgium using a passport that is damaged in any way (e.g. torn cover or visa pages, cracks on the identity page). The Embassy is aware of a number of cases of citizens being detained by Border Authorities for travelling using a damaged passport. If your passport is damaged, replace it via Passport Online prior to travel.
LOST OR STOLEN CREDIT OR DEBIT CARDS
If your credit or debit card is lost or stolen while abroad, you should cancel the relevant card(s) immediately, to prevent fraudulent use.
The following contact details for banks may be of use:
|AIB||+353 1 269 5022|
|Bank of Ireland||+353 56 775 7007|
|Permanent TSB||+353 1 212 4290|
+37 05 214 3608 (or via Revolut App)
HOW TO GET THERE…
Rock Werchter takes place at the Festivalpark in the village of Werchter, approximately 15km from the Flemish city of Leuven.
Your Rock Werchter ticket includes a return train ticket to Leuven or Aarschot train station (T&Cs here)
A shuttle bus service from Leuven and Aarschot to Festivalpark will operate. More information on transport is available here.
Dour is located in the southern Belgian province of Hainaut which borders France. There are train services operating from Brussels and Charleroi Airports, as well as Lille Airport (France), to Saint-Ghislain train station.
Shuttle busses will be in operation. Further information is available here.
Boom is located between the cities of Brussels and Antwerp and the festival site (De Schorre) is a 15 minute walk from Boom Station.
Details of shuttle busses and public transport options to Boom can be found on the Tomorrowland website.
Belgian Formula 1 Grand Prix
The Spa-Francorchamps circuit is located in the Ardennes region of eastern Belgium, approximately 140km from Brussels.
Shuttle bus services will operate from Brussels, Charleroi, Eindhoven, Maastricht, Luxembourg and other cities. Details on these services is available here.
The village of Kiewit is located approximately 7km from the city of Hasselt. The festival site is a 10 minute walk from Kiewit Station. Ticket holders can download a free train ticket to Pukkelpop from SNCB/NMBS Belgium Rail.
WHEN YOU GET THERE
• Follow the rules.
• Familiarise yourself with the local laws and customs. Avoid unnecessary risks – steer clear of trouble, drink responsibly, and behave respectfully when dealing with local authorities, including police and event security.
• Most event websites have useful information (links below) on what you can bring in, and what you should leave at home.
• Be vigilant and stick with friends or a group where possible.
• Keep in contact with family and friends!
• Call or text your loved ones so that they have information about your itinerary and travel plans.
CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL
Visitors should be aware that the strength of beer sold in Belgium can be significantly higher compared to beer purchased at home.
Authorities in Belgium take the possession of illegal drugs in any quantity very seriously and such activity may result in imprisonment.
IF YOU NEED HELP
The best help is often close at hand. Belgian Police and First Aid responders will be present on site.
The emergency services in Belgium can be contacted by dialling 112.
For consular assistance from the Irish Embassy in Brussels, you will find our contact details here.
Your safety is your responsibility.
You are wholly responsible for making decisions about your own travel.
We can’t be held responsible for any injury or loss you may suffer as a result of relying on our travel advice.
We advise all Irish citizens travelling abroad to be mindful of their surroundings at all times and take the necessary precautions for their personal safety and that of their belongings.
Stay informed & further information
- Rock Werchter: Practical Information
- Dour Festival: Practical Information
- Tomorrowland: Practical Information
- Pukkelpop: Practical Information