Summer in Belgium means two things. Desperately chasing the sun. And festivals. Some of the best in the world. Here’s our pick of 10 weekenders to book your tickets to.
Gent Jazz festival
When: 7th to 16th July
Line-up hotshots: Kamasi Washington, Sons of Kemet, Ibrahim Maalouf “Kalthoum”, Jill Scott, The Budos Band and De Beren Gieren.
Why we like it: For the festival’s mix-and-match magic: both heavyweights and little-known locals grace its stages.
Where it is: In the centre of Ghent.gentjazz.com
When: 9th July
Line-up hotshots: Wolf Mountains, YZ, Jinaka Takuto
Why we like it: It’s basically a town fair that somehow boasts a killer line-up.
Where it is: In Petit Fays, a small village not too far from Namur.ptitfaystival.livejournal.com
When: From 28th to 31st July
Line-up hotshots: Tourist le MC, The Van Jets and Marc Lanegan Band
Why we like it: It’s a collaboration between M Leuven and Het Depot, two forward-thinking contemporary art and music institutions respectively
Where it is: In the centre of Leuvenm-idzomer.be
When: 5th and 6th August
Line-up hotshots: The Ex, Goat, Jambinal, Marc Melia, Duane Serah.
Why we like it: The kind of festival where everyone knows your name.
Where it is: Bang in the centre of Liège.microfestival.be
Absolutely Free Festival
When: 5th and 6th August
Line-up hotshots: Cocaine Piss and It It Anita.
Why we like it: ‘coz it’s free. Duh.
Where it is: Genk.kissmyaff.be
When: 13th August
Line-up hotshots: BEA1991, Syracuse, Pruikduif, Asa Moto.
Why we like it: Organised by music monthly Subbacultcha. ’nuff said.
Where it is: In Ghent’s 019, an artist-run space housed in a former welding factory.subbacultcha.be
When: 13th and 14th August
Line-up hotshots: Kiss The Anus Of A Black Cat, The Glucks.
Why we like it: Mosh pits guaranteed.
Where it is: In Geel, 40 minutes or so from Antwerp, just over an hour away from Brussels.yellowstock.be
Deep in the woods
When: 2nd, 3rd and 4th September
Line-up hotshots: Benny Sings, De Portables, Condor Gruppe and Dijf Sanders
Why we like it: An expertly-curated festival, deep down in the thick of a Belgian forest. What’s not to like?
Where it is: Heer, 40 minutes South of Namur.deepinthewoods.be
When: 9th and 10th September
Line-up hotshots: Julio Bashmore, Machinedrum, Deetron, Strictly Niceness.
Why we like it: The two-day festival actually acts as the opening ceremony for a two month-long outdoor art festival. And the entire thing takes place in a castle.
Where it is: Holsbeek. 10 minutes from Leuven, 30 minutes from Brussels and 50 minutes from Antwerp.horstartsandmusic.com
When: From 23rd to 25th September
Line-up hotshots: Ben UFO, DJ Nigga Fox, Babyfather, Toresch, Ssaliva, Aymeric de Tapol, soFa and Nosedrip.
Why we like it: Because pretty much anything Meakusma does, they do it right. And the line-up’s all killer.
Where it is: In Eupen, in the German- speaking region of Belgium.meakusma-festival.be