The 29th edition of the world and urban music festival Couleur Café, in Osseghem Park, Brussels, closed Sunday with an estimated attendance of 65,500 participants. There were 23,000 at the fully booked Friday night session, 22,500 on Saturday, and about 20,000 on Sunday, based on a temporary count, according to Dennis Corbesier, the event’s press liaison. By comparison, close to 60,000 people had participated in the first edition last year, at the foot of the Atomium.
The 2015 and 2016 editions, on the larger site of Tour & Taxis, had not matched this attendance rate. Five to six years ago, the Festival had managed to gather 80,000 participants.
Saturday, Leon Bridges, the soul prodigy from the US, won over the crowds on the Green Stage. Akua Naru, who had gone on before him, also charmed the gathered public with the sensitiveness of her hip-hop. Before that, the American jazz singer Gregory Porter had already livened things up.
The Belgian group Blackwave, which opened the Red Stage, was a nice discovery for the festival-goers who had answered the call. The Jamaican Chronixx made reggae live there, and the funk legend George Clinton closed the day from that same big stage.
The Blue Stage overflowed to watch the Niveau 4 show, which was offering a selection from among the best Belgian hip-hop representatives. Jay MNG shone in particular.
The Caribbean Madonna Calypso Rose left her mark on the Green Stage Sunday. On the same day, Coely, the Belgian Lady of rap, opened the Red Stage with force. Ziggy Marley’s return to Couleur Café, which had been expected for 8 years, was a big success. The Marseillais Youthstar & ASM, and Chinese Man, closed the festival with their madly reinvented vintage samples gushing from their turntables and their video show projected on giant screens.
So as not to forget, on Friday, the Green Stage was jam-packed for Ibevi, and had to be closed for Selah Sue, because its maximum capacity of 8,000 had been reached. As for the rapper Damso, he filled the “Red Stage” large plain, which the young Angèle had opened with lightness. It is there that the Sicilian reggae-man Alborosie closed the evening.
The new small stage “Dub Forest,” devoted to reggae and club artists, never emptied. There is some question of its being set again for the 2019 edition. The organizers also talk about going further still in developing artistic performances and activities that adorn the festival and give it its colors.