This Tuesday, May 26, Indochina announced a stadium tour for its 40th anniversary. At the press conference, Nicola Sirkis, leader of the group, announced that he would not perform at the Roi Baudouin Stadium. In question ? A reception of the public which would not be “worthy”, according to the singer. He explained why in It’s not everyday Sunday.
The 40th anniversary tour of Indochina, entitled Central Tour, does not pass through Brussels. The group will perform in Bordeaux, Marseille, Saint-Denis, Lyon and Lille, but not at the Roi Baudouin Stadium. During a press conference organized to announce this tour, Nicola Sirkis explained that the Brussels stadium did not receive the public with dignity. “We have long worked, visited and unfortunately found that the Brussels stadium, the King Baudouin stadium, was not adequate and did not receive the public with dignity. I’m going to make a lot of enemies, but I don’t care“, he said then.
This morning, by telephone, the leader of the group explained in It’s not everyday Sunday. He does not understand that “such a controversy” was born around his words. “I can hear it, but I find it rather sad because the stadium leaders should rather defend what I said.“Nicola Sirkis does not question the quality of the concerts which took place at the Stade Roi Baudouin, but the reception of the public.”Indeed, I am the most unhappy in the world not to be able to do the King Baudouin stadium because it does not correspond to what we consider normal when we do a concert, that is to say to welcome the public with dignity.“
“Stuck in this parking lot between 11 p.m. and 2:30 a.m.”
The singer and musician is explained by a concrete example. “I find that at the level of the reception of the public, it is not normal that one can make hours of queue, that one cannot park or so when one parks, the authorities release the public to after 3, 4 or 5 hours. It happened to us. I went to see the One Direction group with my daughter in 2015. I entered it in general public, not at all in VIP public, with about 99% of the public. At the end of the concert at 11 p.m., we returned to our car in parking lot C. The authorities only released this parking lot at 2:30 a.m. We got stuck in this parking lot between 11 p.m. and 2:30 a.m., surrounded by more than 5,000 cars, with small children. I find this completely unacceptable.“
Nicola Sirkis does not want these anniversary concerts to be marred by a bad experience. “I take care of my audience. I have been fighting for decades to impose a cheap seat price and to welcome the public with dignity. The series of concerts we’re going to give for our 40th anniversary, I would like it to be a great memory, a party and not to be spoiled by this kind of thing. I find that the infrastructure around the Roi Baudouin Stadium does not match. “
Competition with the Lille stadium?
“To finish, I would like to answer one of your journalists who said that it was a problem of competition with the Lille stadium … It has nothing to do with it. The Lille stadium is much more expensive to rent so if we were artists like everyone else, we would arrange to play at the Stade Roi Baudouin, to make fun of the crowd and make more money. I find that a little unfair. That is a problem, I understand that, but if I can be at the origin of a reflection and an improvement of infrastructures, I would be the happiest.“
“A real mobility problem”
Benoît Hellings, First Alderman and Alderman for Climate and Sports at the City of Brussels (Ecolo), was present on the set. He reacts to the remarks made by the singer. “In the event of a concert, there is a real mobility problem. This is why to welcome Rammstein and Metallica, we have implemented a whole series of mobility measures complementary to the car. It is a real logistical problem to bring 55,000 people to one place at the same time. For Metallica and Rammstein, there was a parking lot for 8,000 bikes. It’s new. “The alderman also explains that the experience lived at a concert also depends on its production.” For example, there are no permanent speakers for a concert at the Roi Baudouin Stadium. The experience you can get from a concert depends a lot on how the production sets up a whole series of stages, effects, etc.“
Nicola Sirkis explains that Indochina works with the same productions as Coldplay and Metallica. For him, the problem lies in mobility. “I never said that I would never go to a stadium in Belgium, I just said that if the public could be better received, it would be perfect. In any case, the production that we are going to do only enters a Stadium. She could enter the King Baudouin Stadium, but the reception of the public, not. “