12 events not to miss at Listen Festival this week

Back for its second edition, Listen Festival is set to take Brussels over this weekend for a three-day marathon of future-friendly electronic music. To help you navigate its dense program, we’ve handpicked 12 essential events not to to miss, from fairs and screenings to concerts and DJ sets. We also have a few giveaway tickets to hand out, so scroll down for full details on what to do to win.

1. Thursday 30th March: Listen opening concert with Francesco Tristano at Flagey

Opening with a (somewhat intimate) bang at the city’s Flagey building, Listen invited Luxemburg-born classical pianist and electronic composer Francesco Tristano, who’s just as much at home in a Boiler Room as he is in front of a grand piano. From Flagey’s Studio 4, Tristano engages in a piano 2.0 concert, blending and harmonising synthetic and classical sounds, followed by a more electronic live set later in the evening.

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2. Thursday 30th March: Brüxsel Jardin at Café Maison du peuple

Part of the overriding Night Walk Through Brussels – which sees a multitude of venues and drinking holes getting the royal treatment by the hottest local promoters and bookers – the collective behind your favourite open-air parties are giving a taster of what is to come very soon. Brüxsel Jardin (ran by the Lift Your Head Up label) has curated an all-local lineup, with the likes of psychedelic electro outfit Tav Exotic, the deep and dark Sagat, Ben Lemaire and of course their resident DJ’s to play deep from the bowels of St.-Gilles / St.-Gillis.

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3. Thursday 30th March: Heartbroken presents Lolina and Klein at Beursschouwburg

Although the Heartbroken team is known for inviting artists that keep your feet moving all night-long, this time around they’re in for an early-evening affair with lo-fi experimental explorer Lolina (FKA Inga Copeland) and abstract pop heroine Klein at their downtown homebase Beursschouwburg.

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Image by Sze NG

4. Thursday 30th March: Nose Job presents Vladimir Ivkovic at Épicerie Moderne

For the second year in a row, Rick Shiver is hosting his Nose Job night in collaboration with Listen festival at downtown dig Épicerie Moderne, for some old school raving in the venue’s cellar. The bill features Belgrade-born and bred Vladimir Ivkovic, who’s, more than just a dedicated digger, a wizard on the decks. Effortlessly crossing over from one genre to the other, you’d be forgiven for thinking the night will never end.

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5. Thursday 30th March: Listen to the radio at ING Art Center

For its second edition, Listen ventures into radio territory, hosting, from its pop-up bar at Mont des Arts’ ING Art Center, a three-day broadcasting programme, inviting our own editor-in-chief Nicholas Lewis on Thursday, local hiphop legend Lefto and electronic trailblazers Kong & Gratts to curate the evenings. Expect a ton of guest mixes, interviews and eclectic selectors. Tune in.

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6. Friday 31st March: Cinéma Vendôme Presents @ Cinéma Vendôme

Decidedly mixing things up, Listen is partnering up with the highly innovative Cinéma Vendôme to blur the boundaries between sound and imagery. Young rappers in Tunisia, illegal raves in Iran, the rich yet oft-ignored legacy of New York house and the iconic Paradise Garage – all explored in beautifully executed documentaries; which discusses the overlaps between music, politics and civil society.

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Raving Iran

7. Friday 31st March: Lefto, Tangram Records & Strictly Niceness Present at Square Brussels Meeting Centre

Not missing a beat, Friday night is co-organised between local hip-hop/electro darlings Lefto, Strictly Niceness and Leuven’s Tangram Records. Their predominantly Belgian lineup covers all necessary grounds with extremely current and active names like Benji B, Le Motel, Mr Mendel, Shungu and Le 77 – just to name a few. Fridays are for dancing.

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8. Saturday 1st April: Record Fair #1 at Square Brussels Meeting Centre

In their successful attempts in expanding their vision and broadening their horizons, Listen will be hosting an exhaustive, free-access Record Fair on the 1st of the month, from Mont des Arts / Kunstberg’s Square Brussels. All your favourite local vinyl distributors, as well as dedicated independent sellers are assembled in the heart of downtown Brussels to spread their love of house, techno, soul, funk, hip-hop, jazz, afro/latino… Crate diggers and record aficionados’ ultimate playground.

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9. Saturday 1st April: Holger at Ancienne Belgique

Local party-starters Captain Starlight and sixsixsixties are back with another Holger blowout, in collaboration with Listen and Ancienne Belgique. Cutting no corners, they’re impressively bringing a live set courtesy of multi-talented Finnish Jimi Tenor, as well as Salon des Amateur’s resident Wolf Müller (and his many aliases) to the capital on Saturday night. The Holger DJ’s will of course also be providing their splash of colourful music to the scene, too.

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10. Saturday 1st April: Synth and gear fair at Square Brussels Meeting Centre

Music geeks and gear freaks rejoice at Saturday’s Gear & Synth fair, hosted by Turnup. From iconic Roland drum computers to Native Instruments’ Traktor gear, this is bound to be a true producer and DJ heaven.

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11. Saturday 1st April: Workshops, masterclasses and talks at Square Brussels Meeting Centre

Hosted by Poppunt, the crucial artery for any beginning label and musician in the country, Wallonie-Bruxelles Musique is set to explain all there is to know about streaming services, Court Circuit and the city’s SAE Institute spill the beans on how to get noticed, Amsterdam’s former night mayor Mirik Milan tells all about good nightly neighbourly relations, and American house pioneers Kai Alcé and Jovonn close the evening with a talk on their native New York and Detroit, and how their hometowns influenced their sound. Essential.

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12. Saturday 1st April: Closing Night at Square Brussels Meeting Centre

Last but not least – and arguably the most sought out and dedicated event of the weekend – Listen is closing their festival with a certified bang, assembling both local and international heavy-weight champs in the electro scene. Headlining acts 808 State and Pender Street Steppers are gracing Square Brussels with their presence; alongside Antal, Jovonn, Nosedrip, Rick Shiver, Optimo and many countless more. Listen’s belle of the ball, spoiling us rotten.

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We have the following tickets to giveaway. All you need to do to win is subscribe to our newsletter, make a screenshot of the confirmation email you receive and email it over to wewrite@thewordmagazine.com, specifying in the subject of the email which event you wish to get a ticket to. We’ll notify you if you win, and your name will be added to the guest list.

Opening Concert at Flagey: 2 x duo ticket
Urban Night: 5 x duo tickets
Holger Night : 1 x duo ticket
Electronic Night: 5 x duo ticket