Six Places to fill your head with music this summer in Brussels
Sunday, 07 August 2016
The Brussels Summer Festival between 5 to 14 August
While some cities go quiet in the summer, the music scene in Brussels doesn’t miss a beat. Lively venues like Botanique and Flagey maintain a packed programme, while some smaller venues attract audiences with unexpected indie concerts. We pick out six places to check out the sounds of the summer.
BRUSSELS SUMMER FESTIVAL
The Brussels Summer Festival brings ten days of music to the city with a programme that includes Belgian bands like Balthazar, Hooverphonic and Baloji, along with big international names like Tindersticks, Louise Attaque and Fun Lovin’ Criminals. A total of 44 acts are performing at the festival’s three venues, all close to the royal palace – Place des Palais, La Madeleine concert hall and the Mont des Arts. A ten-day pass costs €55, while a one-day ticket gets you inside for €22.
Hidden away under the train tracks, alternative art centre Recyclart hosts concerts, workshops and film screenings in the disused La Chapelle railway station. Its summer programme Recyclart Holidays runs on Thursdays and Fridays for six weeks. The music agenda features a typically Brussels mix of global styles, from Burkina Faso afro funk to Japanese slow core. Concerts are free but some have to be booked in advance. Until August 5.
The annual Brigittines festival brings exciting and innovative dance companies to a bare 17th century baroque chapel in the Marolles. This year the festival programme focuses on the theme Grace and Disaster. Look out for Gaelle Bourges’ strange A mon seul désir which draws inspiration from the famous mediaeval tapestry series The Lady and the Unicorn.
The summer season ends with a week of free lunchtime concerts in the Brussels Park. Put together by Ancienne Belgique, the programme features names likely to draw a largely Flemish crowd, like Eefje De Visser and Johan Verminnen. As the name suggests, sandwiches are available. From August 22 to 26 at noon.
Yes, it is a word. Feeerieen is Dutch for fairy tales. The name neatly captures the essence of this summer music festival, which is held after dark at the bandstand in the Brussels Park. Strings of light bulbs are hung from the trees to create a magical late summer atmosphere. Ancienne Belgique puts together the programme, which is more cosmopolitan than their Boterhammen in het Park, with performers drawn from London, Paris and Tamanrasset. Try to catch Ian William Craig perform on Monday night. August 22 to 26 from 19.00.
Founded ten years ago as part of the Brussels Summer Festival, Classissimo is has grown into an independent music festival based in the sublime setting of the Théâtre Royal du Parc. Held over nine days, the event features works by classical composers such as Mozart, Chopin and Ravel. Look out for the children’s concert Carnival des Animaux on Sunday, August 7.
A distinctive new jazz venue opened earlier this year next to the trendy Mappamundo café on Place St Géry. Decorated with fake steam engines, nautical elements and other steampunk details, it warms up Brussels nights with free jazz concerts and DJ sets. Concerts are scheduled most nights of the week.