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Brussels Jazz Weekend to be held on balconies this year

Photo from Brussels Jazz Weekend Festival.

Brussels Jazz Weekend festival won’t be cancelled this year, but instead adopted to take place on city balconies in order to comply with coronavirus measures and avoid a last minute cancellation should the pandemic not be under control come May.

“We call on all musicians in Brussels to give a mini-concert from their own window or balcony on Saturday 29 May between 9:00 PM and 10:00 PM,” said Steven Palmaers, the festival’s organiser.

“This way, live music will be heard throughout the whole Brussels Capital Region as a sign of hope for all those who have been struggling over the past months.”

Musicians that wish to participate will be able to register their concert via the festival’s website, so that the various locations can be mapped out online. Those who do so well enough in advance will receive a gift from the organisers.

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Normally, the Brussels Jazz Weekend is a free city festival that attracts some 300,000 music lovers to the Belgian capital each year during the last weekend of May with over 200 free concerts in Brussels’ squares, concert halls, renowned jazz clubs, cafés and even in the streets, where marching bands parade.

The festival was postponed last year because of the global pandemic, but this year wants to avoid that by planning ahead for a modified version.

“We deliberately did not want to switch to a streaming event. Live music these days is like vitamin D during the winter months,” said Palmaers.

“People need to be together. Musicians are groaning under the pandemic, and Brussels tourism has come to a complete standstill. With this Balcony Edition, we want to give some much needed oxygen to both the tourism and culture sectors.”

Brussels Jazz Weekend has traditionally been a way for the Belgian jazz scene to reach a wider audience.

The plan for this year is to organise a semi-acoustic open-air concert every hour from an iconic balcony in a different municipality of the Brussels-Capital Region. Mapped out cycle routes will steer concert-goers from one area to the next.

The festival will end Sunday night at 9 pm, with a concert by the Brussels Jazz Orchestra from the balcony of the Maison du Roi on the Grand-Place in Brussels.

“In 2022, we hope to host another full festival at this location, with an even more ambitious format than before,” said Palmaers.

Helen Lyons
The Brussels Times

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