While the coronavirus pandemic has made traveling abroad difficult, there’s plenty of fun to be had right here in Brussels. Brussels Staycation, or StaycationBXL, is a series of initiatives designed to help Brussels residents make the most of their summer in the city.
Today’s spotlight is on Radio Brabant’s free summer concerts.
The events are set up by Collectief Fijne Charcuterie (Barbra Erhardt, Wim Van den Brulle and Katrien Demeyer) in collaboration with VGC, Maison Biloba House, Sint Lukas primary school (where they will be held), composer and accordionist Tuur Florizoone, and the Culture Department of the Municipality of Schaerbeek, along with other artists and musicians of Brussels.
“The purpose of the project is to create connections between the disadvantaged elderly people of the nearby elderly care facility, the families with children and any neighbors living in the area,” Katrien Demeyer of Radio Brabant told The Brussels Times.
“Many residents don’t have the resources to go on a holiday this summer, so we wanted to create a staycation moment for them right here in the area.”
The free concerts include live musical performances, workshops for the young and old, and live Radio with Oncle Kinch featuring images and stories from the Brabant district.
“Oncle Kinch is also from Schaerbeek, with Congolese roots. He has a type of caravan with radio and he’s doing music animations, where you can ask for your favorite song. He’s also introducing people to one another, and conducting interviews,” explained Demeyer.
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The performance next Wednesday will feature the music of the Cumali Bulduk Quartet.
Residents of the nearby elderly care facility are being interviewed throughout the month and their personal life experiences will be shared during the last session on the 25th of August.
“We wanted to create actual connections amongst the neighbours that are living in the Brabant district,” explained Demeyer.
The workshops also help with that, giving local residents the chance to mingle not only with those who live nearby, but with people from all over Brussels who come to attend, as the events are open to everybody.
“We want people to enjoy a really nice moment, and so it's free and it’s open to everybody - everybody is welcome,” Demeyer emphasised.
On Wednesday, 11 August, concert-goers can attend a building workshop in the courtyard and dance to music at a live performance from the Turkish artists that comprise the Cumali Bulduk Quartet.
At a previous workshop, attendees sculpted instruments from clay that will be baked and returned to them at the last one on the 25th.
On that date, Brasilian music will be performed live by Tupatch Kupa.
“Every time we have professional musicians,” said Demeyer. “It was important for us that we could get them on the stage again, after the long pandemic.”
Important and also likely especially appreciated by the residents of the elderly care facility, many of whom haven’t had much chance for lively socialisation due to the coronavirus related lockdowns.
“I think it will be a really nice moment. It's getting people out of their usual environment and really creating a happy staycation moment where they can enjoy music and also meet other people in the area.”
The workshops, radio animation and concerts will be held from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM on 11 and 25 August at the courtyard of Sint Lukas primary school, located at Groenstraat 156,1030 Schaerbeek.
People who wish to share their personal stories as part of the celebration can send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org and set up an appointment in the Brabantwijk.
They’re also invited to come to Radio Brabant on one of the Wednesdays and tell their story there.