So I have returned from a great weekend in Belgium and I am writing this blog to give you as much information as possible if you are interested in making the trip over to Hasselt for Pukkelpop in the future!
So first things first, you’ll need a ticket and a flight (if you’re coming from overseas like me!). Pukkelpop offer individual day tickets or weekend tickets, otherwise known as combi tickets. The combi ticket allows you to attend the festival on all four days and cost €199 (which came to €202.98 including taxes and charges).
The first day of the festival is really more of a set-up camp kind of day. The music doesn’t start until the evening time and the bands playing are generally more “up-and-coming”. For this reason, we figured, like the majority of people, we would head over there on the Thursday morning in time for the 3 main days.
The Line Up.
We booked flights with Ryanair for €50 return from Dublin to Brussels airport, bargain! (Brussel Airport Zaventem AKA code “BRU” not Brussels South Airport Chareroi, just FYI). Our flight was at 6.25am on the Thursday morning, which is VERY early, if you’re like me and you leave your packing & beautifying to the last minute. However, if you were organised and went to bed at 9 or 10pm, you’d be fine. Instead, we all took a nap when we got there!
En route to Brussels.
You get free public transport with your combi ticket, which is really handy because it means you don’t have to pay for your train from the airport out to Hasselt, where the festival takes place. You will need to pay a small fee which is exclusive to the airport station called a “Diabolo” which is roughly €5, each way. Check the screens for “Hasselt Zone”, go to your platform and you’re on your way! The train journey is approximately 1hr 20 mins and if you’re unsure about when to get off, just look for all the other people with backpacks, tents, etc. They will be taking up most of the train! 😉 When you get off the train, signs and staff will direct you to where you need to go to get your festival shuttle bus, depending on your campsite.
From plane to train, let’s go 🙂
There is no separate cost for your camping spot, but you will need to designate yourself to a particular campsite. We were in Camping Relax. We only booked our tickets in late June so Camping Chill was full up. Camping Chill is the nearest campsite to the festival which makes it really convenient, but also very loud. Camping Relax and Camping Relax Plus are further away, which means you can either walk half an hour to the festival through a park or hop on a 10 minute shuttle bus. We walked the first day but got lazy after that and took the bus! There were thousands of bikes there too, so that’s another option.
For camping materials, rather than trying to bring stuff with us on a flight, we booked online to pick up our tent over there. There were a few options when it came to this, from basic 2 man tent & airbed to full on glamping in a tipi. For the 2 man tent and 2 single airbeds, it was €100, or for a 2 man tent, 2 single airbeds, 2 sleeping bags and 2 pillows, it was €160. Because there was 3 of us travelling together, we decided to go for one tent with just the airbeds and one tent with the sleeping bags and pillows. This way, it worked out around €86 each and I just carried a blanket and hoodie with me on the flight. It also meant we had loads of extra space for our bags.
One of our homes for the weekend.
The tents were bigger on the inside than they looked!
Few camping essentials – eye mask, ear plugs, hoodie & socks!
You were entitled to keep your tent if you wished or on return of your tent, you received €20 back. I’m ashamed to say that by day 3 we were too lazy to dismantle the tent and we just left it there. The effort wasn’t worth the €20 in our hungover state, however they did have some really good incentives to get people to take their tent home. The theme was “Alpaca my Tent” and they had posters and cutouts of an Alpaca for people to stand next to with all their stuff packed up, post online with the hashtag “alpacamytent” and be in with a chance to win 5 x combi tickets for Pukkelpop 2018. Not bad!!
Photos from Instagram.
So in total, so far the whole thing cost around €340 for ticket, flight and camping supplies. I think that’s pretty good going! After that, spending money really depends on how you want to do things. Bringing your own food and drink will obviously reduce your spending money greatly, and there is a “Food Island” in the campsite with lots of microwaves and hot water for tea, noodles, etc. This is also fairly handy if you have any particular dietary needs that you don’t feel will be catered for at the food stalls. In terms of drinks, glass is not allowed on campsites however cans, plastic bottles and boxed wine is fine.
Having non-perishable snacks like breakfast bars and crisps with you is a no-brainer, however, if you don’t fancy actually cooking (or, like us, if you don’t have a cooler box or any utensils with you) then there are lots of food options available to buy with food & drinks tokens. You can purchase food and drinks tokens with your card or cash. They are incredibly handy because there is no carrying cash, waiting for change, risk of walking away without your card, etc.
Food and drinks tokens.
Each token is worth 3 euro and most things cost the same as they would at home in Ireland, for example a large bottle of water was 1/2 a token, a large ham & cheese baguette was 1 & 1/2 tokens. Some of the more luxurious items were more expensive such as a Gin & Tonic, which was 3 tokens, or €9. I’m used to those prices in Dublin anyway, and you kind of expect that at festivals as well, but it’s definitely worth predrinking at your campsite or en route to the festival grounds, especially if you are on a budget. Having said that, we certainly couldn’t resist a few fancy G&T’s in a goblet glass with lots of ice, after sleeping in a tent! Yum!
We were a little bit unlucky with the weather at some points throughout the weekend but in general during the day it was warm and overcast, with a couple of showers here and there. All of the stages except for the main stage have a decent amount of cover, so you’re pretty well protected from the elements in any case. Although I’d still recommend having some warm clothes with you and, of course, a rain jacket.
Festival layering – light clothes that dry easily, layered for warmth.
Eimear and I.
We tried to plan our day as best we could in the morning, based around what acts we really wanted to see and it’s important to give yourself plenty of time to be there, especially on day one. The queues to exchange tickets for wristbands on day one were really long, and you could easily miss an entire act while your waiting, as most acts were on for between 45 mins to 1 hr 30 mins. The other days were a breeze to get in as most people had already gotten their wristband by then, however you don’t want to be taking chances when it comes to your favourite artists.
Day 1 ready!
My “will this queue ever hurry the f*** up” at the entrance on day 1 😉
Stormzy blew the roof off the place on Day 1 and was definitely my stand-out artist of Thursday. He played the Dance Hall tent and the place was electric. I haven’t sweated that much in a long time! Even my friend Eimear (who I am going to say has never listened to grime music in her life before this) is now a Stormzy fan! Haha, he was THAT good. I was searching the “Pukkelpop” location on Instagram and came across this post. We clearly weren’t the only ones who enjoyed it.
Photos from Instagram.
At the end of his performance, Stormzy took the time to come down of the stage, walk along the barrier and take pictures / talk to fans. I had somehow managed to make my way to the barrier near the end (lots of people were leaving with massive smiles on their faces, they just couldn’t handle the sweating any longer). I shook his hand and told him I had come over from Ireland and that he was absolutely amazing. He was like *South London accent, hand on chest* “Aww man, thanks so much”. What a freckin babe! Absolute gent to the audience.
At “The Naked and Famous”.
Other highlights from day one included Solange and The Naked and Famous. Day 2 was a busy one. We got there early and we seen quite a few acts, with some of the highlights for me being Clean Bandit, Tove Lo, Halsey, Bastille and of course Walking on Cars, representing for the Irish. It’s hard to pick a favourite from Day 2 but it’s going to have to be Tove Lo. She’s a sassy bitch and I love it!
Day 2 – chilling in the sunshine at Halsey.
Day 3 was all about Bakermat for me! I had barely slept a wink the night before as the weather took a turn for the worst and it was pretty miserable in the tent with my hoodie and blanket. In the morning, the sun came out and really started to warm up the tent, so I got up at around 8.30am to grab a shower in the hope that it would warm me up properly and make me feel all cosy so I could manage to go back to sleep for a while.
On the topic of showers, I should have mentioned, yes there are showers and yes they are mildly warm. However once it goes passed the 9.30am-ish mark, be prepared to queue. Likewise, toilets are cleaned around 8-8.30am, so that’s a really good time to go if you want to avoid smelly portaloos. I was complaining on snap chat after my first night in camp that my neighbours woke me early, but its actually thanks to them that I now know these pro tips! Cheers early bird neighbours.
Back to Day 3. So I was all delighted with myself after my shower, feeling toasty in my now warm tent thanks to the sun and thought I’d put my earphones in to drown out the noise of everyone else starting to get up. However I made the terrible mistake of putting on Bakermat songs and that was it, there was no way I was sleeping, I was way to excited!! Haha, so there I was having my own little Bakermat party in my tent, hair wrapped in a towel, absolutely loving life!
Day 3 ready!
I did eventually turn off the music, get some breakfast, swap my earphones for earplugs and slept for an hour or so. All this by about 11.30am! The excitement and adrenaline (helped out with some gin of course) kept me pumped for the day but I definitely hit a wall after Bakermat that evening and Eimear tells me I fell asleep at Rise Against, haha not my kinda music in fairness. Luckily, I was fine at Mumford & Sons and when Flume came on I suddenly found all my energy again. My kinda music, see!
Front row for Bakermat!
Instagram @philippe_dn (My sign is in reference to Bakermat’s hit “Teach Me”)
Bakermat & his live band were unbelievable. Massive kudos to the sax player Ben Rodenburg, who absolutely killed it and Steffen Morrison whose voice is legit insane. I already can’t wait to see them again some time, hmmm Ibiza maybe?? If you want to watch some of Bakermat’s set there is a 18 minute live video on Pukkelpop’s official Facebook page, scroll down to August 19th and put your volume on full blast.
The main man!
So that’s pretty much it for Pukkelpop 2017! If you have any questions at all, leave them in the comments.
Thanks for reading!! Watch the Vlog on YouTube HERE!! 🙂
The Shee Side Xx