Things got messy at Eurorock 2015 last weekend after festival money somehow disappeared, Belgium’s Flanders News reported last Sunday. Not only did several acts drop out as a result of not getting paid, but the head of the entire festival, Rudi Donckers, fell ill towards the end of the event.
It’s been 12 years since Eurorock held its last festival in Belgium. While several reports stated that up to 80,000 Euro had been stolen from a safe after being locked up overnight, Eurorock spokesman Bernard Van Isacker shared a different story:
That money had not been there overnight like all media seem to suggest, it had just arrived, was Rudi’s private money and not of the sales, and had immediately been put in a sealed of metal hub. There were maximum 20 minutes between putting the money there and it being stolen. When speaking to Rudi Donckers, the organiser of the festival, I noticed he became paler and paler as time progressed after the discovery of the 45.000 Euro (I was first told 75.000 euro, then 45.000 euro) being stolen until I told him to go to the first aid post to be taken care of.
Reports were released saying that Front 242, Neon Judgement and Praga Kahn all chose not to perform after news got out about the theft, causing ticket prices to drop significantly. Despite the friction between bands and the festival organizers, not the show definitely went on. Van Isacker cleared up some of the rumors about the fiasco in a public statement shortly after:
The truth is that only a few acts like Legend (although they didn’t play due to the very late hour), Lovelorn Dolls, The Dallas Project, The Juggernauts, Asrai, Lescure 23, Whispers In The Shadow and even Tanzwut played completely for free. The rest like Peter Hook, Anathema, Therion, Killing Joke or ABC had been partially/completely paid. Some were a bit more willing than others though. For instance both Anathema and Killing Joke (editor’s note: thanks to Live Nation which intervened too to make sure they’d play) immediately suggested they would prolong their set and bring either more songs (Anathema) or extended versions (Killing Joke) without nagging too much about the rest of the money.
When festival head Rudi Donckers was sent to the hospital due to reported heart problems, additional rumors sprung up arguing that he had staged the illness. Van Isacker made a point of denying this and stating the following:
Rumours that Rudi faked his illness are utterly false. He is right now in hospital and his condition is pretty serious and will be undergoing heart surgery probably later today. Sure thing is that he won’t be home anytime soon and I wish him all the best.
He then went on to describe how the festival proceeded after Donckers was hospitalized:
With Rudi rushed off to hospital, the organisation was beheaded as he was the key person in the festival so I noticed pretty soon. In order to avoid a complete chaos, it was decided together with the police to go for a fade-out scenario where volunteers and contracted people at the festival such as me and several other people working backstage would step in as new organisers together with the stage managers. The idea was to see how many bands would still be playing live and which wouldn’t and try and make the festival running for a limited time.
The behind-the-scenes perspective of the whole ordeal definitely added some positivity to the whole thing. While the situation was by no means pretty, but the Eurorock staff and talent made an impressive push to keep the show going. Be sure to read Van Isacker’s full statement here.