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Culture beat – August 15
For an aerial view of the spectacular Turkish-themed floral carpet gracing the Grand‘Place, head to the balcony of the city hall from Friday to Sunday (August 15-17). Access is from 9.00-23.00 and tickets cost €5 (free for under 10s). Alternatively, viewing is free on ground level in the medieval square where you can also enjoy a sound and light show every evening at 22.00, 22.30 and 23.00. The city hall will be equally decked out in blooms. The biennial event celebrates 50 years of Turkish immigration. It is Ghent’s world-renowned horticulturalists who provide the millions of begonia required to blanket the square (each metre requires some 300 flowers).
New games festival
The world of gaming is not confined to a keyboard, control pad and pent-up concentration. For fans of all games, including the board variety, welcome to the first-ever Brussels Games Festival, this weekend (August 15 to 17) in the Cirque Royal area. Strategy, party, video role-play, figurine, card, you name it, there’s a game for you. As well as non-stop playing, there’s a sale/exchange and plenty of other entertainment. A Belgian Touch area promotes Belgian companies and individuals in the gaming business. The festival is spread in and around Rue de l’Enseignement, between Madou and Parc metro stations. Admission free except for entry to tournaments.
Latino fans rejoice, Fiesta Latina from August 22 to 24, promises to raise the tempo of the city, whatever the Belgian weather. Enjoy the beat of traditional and steel drum music as the culture and food from South America, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean comes to the Bois de la Cambre city park. As well as concerts, there’ll be salsa, zumba and capoeira dancing and food and crafts on sale in colourful Latin markets. As one of the final festivals of the holidays, this maybe the final chance to enjoy the atmosphere of an exotic destination. In the Carrefour des Attelages area of the wood and park.
The annual Brigittines International Festival continues to explore the language of contemporary performance in its 2014 edition from August 15 to 31. With the central theme ‘Pilots and pirates in troubled waters’ it stages 18 shows, six of which are Belgian premieres. Among the Belgian choreographies are Compagnie Mossoux-Bonté, Ayelen Parolin and Abattoir Fermé. The bar and restaurant are open every evening of the festival from 18.00. Take advantage of Resto-Show: entrance ticket plus dish of the day for €11 (reserve the previous day). At Les Brigittines in the city centre.
Head south to the picturesque Gaume region in Luxembourg province and enter the magical world of the Chassepierre international street arts festival on August 23 and 24. The whole village is taken over by acrobats, jugglers, actors and fantasy creatures intent on entertaining young and old alike, themed ‘Folles bestioles et drôles de bricoles/Crazy creatures and strange crafts’. Considered one of the most beautiful villages in Belgium, Chassepierre, near Florenville, has outstanding views of the Semois valley and Ardennes forests. Take advantage of the two-day event and pitch a tent at the festival campsite on the banks of the Semois river. Festival entrance: Adults €19 one day (€13 presale; six to 12 €8 (presale €7).
Les Musicales de Beloeil is a late summer feast of music in the gorgeous environs of Beloeil castle (Hainaut province) on September 6. Classical music predominates, while world music and circus shows also figure in the programme. The self-styled Versailles of Belgium is the magical setting for a fine array of performers on eight stages, including Belgian jazz guitarist Philip Catherine and French pianist Jean-Philippe Collard, with the Belgian National Orchestra also among the line-up. A fireworks show tops off the evening.