With temperatures like these, we can really feel summer is swelteringly close. Already festivals and concerts are starting to take over our cities, as lovely little Belgium hosts more than 30 music festivals annualy. We present a selection of our favorite Belgian summer festivals, including festival-specific tips. From the teeny-tiny one, like Ptit Faystival, to the big and boisterous Dour… here’s to a great musical summer!
For five days, over 250 bands will play on 8 different stages. Dour is one the biggest festivals in Belgium, and also one of the most eclectic. All kinds of urban tribes gather in the quiet city of Dour to enjoy some good music. From the straight edge punk fan who loves to mosh, to beats- and synthesizer-adepts. Everybody is welcome!
Flume, Horace Andy, Old Jazzy Beat Mastazz, Santigold, Snoop Dogg, The Underachievers, KRS-One, Floating Points, Lee Fields & The Expressions, Noisia, Carl Craig, Adam Beyer, Nina Kraviz, Marcel Dettman, Scuba, Seth Troxler, Omar Souleyman, Kink, Jon Hopkins, Agnostic Front, Anti- Flag, Deez Nuts…
LTGL, Sanzio, Lefto, Yellowstraps, Raw Districts, BRNS, FùGù Mango, Alaska Gold Rush, It It Anita, Great Mountain Fire, Wuman, Atomic Spliff, The Scrap Dealers, Gamma Sound feat Rudy Roots, My Diligence, La Muerte…
1. Waterproof cases. For your phone, wallet, clothes, everything. When it rains, the camping area will be a swamp, so you better be prepared.
2. Don’t forget your raincoat! Try to find something with a funny print if you want to blend in with the eclectic crowds; it’s a chance to wear your printed unicorns, tigers and frogs with pride. If you’re in a pinch or don’t care about the sartorial, a garbage bag with cut-outs will do the job just fine.
3. Prepare your schedule before the festival. Remember, 250 bands, 5 days, 8 stages… it takes some preparation to not be overwhelmed.
4. Get some rest during the day. Enjoy the camping life, make some friends, sleep, eat and the five days will be a smooth sailing. If some people call the festival, “Doure,” it’s not for nothing.When? 15 – 19 July Where? Dour, a French-speaking village in Belgium, situated in the Walloon region in the Hainaut county. Price? From 50€ to 140€ Dourfestival.com
Gent Jazz(C) Christian Overdeput
If you’re not the “party hard” type, the Gent Jazz festival will suit you perfectly. Food, drinks and some very good music are on the programme. For 8 days, Ghent welcomes the greatest names on the current jazz scene. The festival has three different approaches: lunch concerts, festival, and the club. Each one for a different occasion, some are more intimate and others are destined for the big public. Ghent will be the new New Orleans for eight days, and those are over before you know it.
Gregory Porter, Van Morrison, Gary Clark Jr., Alice on the Roof, Abdullah Ibrahim Mukashi Trio and Tony Bennet & Lady Gaga.
STUFF, BRZZVLL feat Anthony Joseph, Flying Horseman, Nordmann.
1. Tickets are selling quickly, so don’t dwindle.
2. Make your visit a whole day experience; start with a lunchconcert and stay for a later show.
3. Carry extra cash and bring your best digging techniques. The festival has some LP’s stands for vinyl lovers.
4. If you want a Jazz Lunch, book early. You can have a nice lunch from 28,50€ while enjoying the live music.
5. Bring your soul, a good spirit, and a lot of love.When? 10 – 18 July Where? Ghent Price? From 44€ to 101€ Gentjazz.com
If you live in Liège, Micro is a must-do. Small, cosy, intimate, visiting Micro is like coming home. This festival is not about big headlines or huge crowds: it offers thirteen concerts in two days, which seems to us like just the right amount for 48 hours. The festival was created by musicians and is a real treat for an audience of music enthusiasts. You will definitely discover new bands from all over the world, and new Belgian talents as well.
Girl Band, Iceage, Buffalo Daughter, Awesome Tapes from Africa, Klaus Johann Grobe, Turzi, Reverend Beat-Man, Jacco Gardner, AK/DK.
La Jungle, Benoît Lizen, Mambo, The Glücks.
1. Bring the kids! Micro has a family environment; it’s a tradition to bring the little ones to enjoy the shows.
2. It’s great to enjoy the city in the morning and go to the festival afterwards.
3. If you like to lend a helping hand, you can be a volunteer for a couple of hours during the festival. Great for meeting new people.
4. There is no fast-food to be found at Micro: they serve gastronomic specialties from Liège, only. Everything is provided by local places and it’s super-fresh.When? 7- 8 August Where? Liège Price? From 10€ to 15€ Microfestival.be
Deep in The Woods
Imagine a place where you can listen to music, share good vibes with friends and family and play around. Deep in The Woods will instantly catapult you back to your childhood: one of the non-musical highlights is the wooden jumping blocks in the nearby lake. The philosophy of the festival is all about ‘peace and quiet,’ and enjoying the concerts without distractions. Take off your watch and meander between stages as a carefree forest nymph you might temporarily become.
Festival goers can take guided walks through the woods -perfect for families. For the little ones, some movies will be projected and instrument workshops will be held. A hippie and family friendly environment guranteed during the whole weekend.
Wooden Arms, Oddisee, Flavien Berger, Pauw.
STUFF, Briqueville, Kris Dane, Great Mountain Fire, Fùgù Mongomeets Binti.
1. The festival offers rooms and bungalows, but hurry up, the demand is pretty big.
2. Bring Robin Hood costumes for the kids.
3. Leave your phone at home (or in your tent, if you trust your fellow festival goers). Just repeat the following mantra: “idle hands, happy mind.”
4. Enjoy the countryside. You will encounter animals during the festival. Don’t be afraid, just enjoy their company.
5. Bring your bike.
6. At night, stay awake and hunt for fairies.When? 4 – 6 September Where? Heer Price? From 5€ to 40€ DeepintheWoods.be
Just one scene and 5 different artists, that’s Ptit Faystival. All kinds of music, for all kinds of people. The festival is for the “musically curious” and for those who want to discover new groups every day. In the same tent, you can dance and sing along to Arabic, or more experimental music.
Puech Gourdon Bremaud, Subtle Turnhips
Najim Aghrib, Ignatz en de Stervende Honden,The Poneymen
1. Come with an open mind. This is not your everyday festival. Some groups are really experimental.
2. This is almost a village event; everybody will go, so feel free to bring your grandparents to the party.
3. If you’re into electronic music, stay until the end: a DJ will spin some great tracks to dance to.When? 11 July Where? Bièvre Price? 10€ Ptitfaystival.com
Wastelands is thé Subbacultcha festival. Just like the magazine, you can expect a hyper-hipster audience. The festival takes place in Ghent on August 8th and the tickets are limited: only 300 people will have the opportunity to go, so don’t wait too long to get yours.
Wastelands is for those feening to be part of the emergent music culture in Europe. The line-up consists of carefully selected, up-and-coming artists from all around the continent. Genres range from rom punk to experimental, passing over hip hop and lo-fi pop. Expect a wave of artists and bands as eclectic as the genres themselves: these are musicians/graphic designers/skaters, to name a few.
Rejjie Snow, Jaakko Eino Kalevi, Molly Nilsson, Communions, Blaze Kidd feat Kamixlo and Uli K
Mathieu Serruys, Bright Entity
1. Buy your ticket as soon as possible. There are only 300 available!
2. Put on comfortable shoes, you’re going to dance a lot.
3. Leave your inhibitions at home. Some concerts can get over-the-top crazy (recall Mykki Blanco last year’s peformance).
4. Choose your outfit carefully, as this is a fashion-forward festival.When? August 8 Where? Ghent Price? 25€ Wastelandfestival.com
Lokerse Feesten is one of the biggest festivals in Flanders. Lasting more than a week, it assembles a lineup of heavyweight artists. Look for the Red Bull Elektropedia Room if you’re interested in new national talents. Because the Red Bull Elektropedia line-up is so different from that what’s going on the Main Stage, it’s like attending two different festivals for the price of one! This gives up-and-coming bands the opportunity to play for a huge crowd. Even if we might be underground-music minded, for Lokerse, we don’t exclude the option of enjoying Mika (we’ve all sang Grace Kelly in a very high voice in the shower), Tom Jones (doing the Carlton dance) or a Nile Rodgers concert.
Rob Zombie, Soulfly, Black Label Society, Tom Jones, Giorgio Moroder, Étienne de Crécy, Tout Va Bien
Dj Ghost, Lefto, ZwartWerk, Woods, Gangthelabel, Tito & Echo Virus, Annix, Vuurwek.
1. Make a schedule in advance with room to enjoy your “guilty pleasures,” and also discover the new scene.
2. If you don’t want to spend too much money for a festival, sign up for their volunteer program.
3. If you think you’re too old for the “big festival experience,” Lokerse has special VIP service worth taking a look into.Practicals When? 31 July – 9 August Where? Lokeren Price? From 10€ to 140€ Lokersefeesten.be
Bozar Electronic Arts Festival
This is for the technology and synthesizer lovers. The festival offers music but also art, with artistic performances, screenings, workshops, installations and talks. The beats and rhythm will resound throughout the beautiful Centre for Fine Arts. This year, they are bringing Swiss artist Zimoun who will present his last work, “64 ventilators.” There will also be a number of different art works on display at the ‘Digital Art’ exhibition in this truly multidisciplinary programme for music and art lovers.
Apparat, Health, Factory Floor, Shaddah Tuum, Otto Lindholm.
Amatorski, Icon Template, Onrust
1. Don’t miss the talks during the festival. They’re a great opportunity to learn about music, and for networking if you ‘re in the field.
2. Even if you’re not the ‘artsy’ type, don’t miss the exhibitions; they’re worth it, and might make you reconsider the whole art thing.
3. We strongly recommended Wim Janssen’s exhibition “Continuization Loop:” a raw and mesmerizing film, focusing on the material nature of film itself.Practical When? 8 – 11 October Where? Brussels Price? Tickets will be out soon Bozarelectronic.com
They call themselves “the new kids on the block” and their philosophy is “music for the hood.” So we were pretty excited when we discovered Borgerwood, a brand new festival with a high potential and expectations. The festival offers live performances and also DJ sessions for those who want to dance until dawn. Some rap, alternative rock, elektro-pop, space jazz, new wave and of course, electronic.
Kenji Minogue, Billie, Andras & Oscar, Kim Ann Foxman.
The Germans, Joy Wellboy, Faisal, Hush Hefner, Kong, Yellow Straps, Captain Starlight.
It’s a new festival, so it’s too early to say. But with such a fresh list of up-and-coming national talents, this is a great opportunity to experience and support new initiatives like this one.Practicals When? 25– 26 July Where? Borgerhouts Price? From 8€ to 13€ Borgerwood.be