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Culture beat – August 29
Alternative music venue Magasin 4 launches a month-long 20th anniversary celebration with a weekend of concerts and events this Saturday and Sunday. Dutch band Ex, plus L’Enfance Rouge, Gatechin, Vitas Guerulaitis and Spagguetta Orghasmmond take to the stage Saturday; Jean-Louis Costes, Tat2NoisAct, La Pince, Krakoukass, Coquins and Constitution Anale, on Sunday. Between 1994 and 2014, Magasin 4 welcomed 3,300 banks, first at Rue du Magasin and then Avenue du Port, its present site.
Fans of Thai food are in for a spicy treat Sunday in an annual festival celebrating the country’s gastronomic delights and culture, Essence of Thailand IX, at Place Dumon, Stockel. From 10.00 until 20.00, the square and part of Avenue Baron d’Huart are filled with stands promoting the southeast Asian country’s specialities. They include Thai restaurants from all over the country, handicrafts, massages, and more. Live performances of traditional dance and Muay Thai (kick boxing) on stage and you can learn about the delicate art of fruit and vegetable carving. The event is organised by the Thai Embassy with the support of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre commune.
The Belgian speciality of brewing takes centre stage September 5 to 9 with the Belgian beer weekend in the Grand‘Place. An impressive list of breweries from across the country aim to quench the thirst of thousands of visitors. As well as big names, you’ll find the following breweries: Abbaye du Val Dieu, du Bastogne, Brunehaut, Caracole, De Halve Man, Het Anker, John Martin, Malheur, Saint-Feuillien, plus renowned Trappist beers, including Westmalle, Chimay and Orval. Friday is brewers’ day with a celebration and inauguration by the master brewers’ knighthood plus the official opening of the new Proud of our Beers building, behind the stock exchange. Parades will be staged Saturday and Sunday. Entrance is free; tokens (BBW-crown corks) needed to pay for beer, plus €3 deposit for chip for beer glass (refundable).
Alternative entertainment next weekend is the comic-strip festival in Royal park, Fête de la BD, September 5 to 7. The free event is celebrating its fifth edition. It promises to be a colourful event with a nocturnal show in the park, plus stands by museums, bookshops, publishing houses, and numerous comic-strip book signings.
Seventy years ago the city of Brussels was liberated after four years of occupation by the German army. On September 5 the European capital records the event in Liberation Day, not only with a traditional annual veterans’ parade, but with a ‘1944’ aperitif ‘1944’ and popular ball in Place de la Chapelle. Expect 1940s period atmosphere with festive lights and swing dancing. It was on September 3 1944 that General Sir Miles Dempsey and the British 2nd Army marched into Brussels. The following day they were joined by Belgo-Luxembourgish Piron Brigade. It was a memorable and joyous occasion for the city’s inhabitants, many of whom spontaneously celebrated the occasion by dancing.
Belgian-based British author Helen Grant presents Demons of Ghent, the second in her Forbidden Spaces trilogy, at English bookshop Waterstone’s on September 6 at 18.00.
You don’t have to be a fan of choral music to appreciate the promenade concerts in Nuit des Chœurs, at Villers-la-Ville Abbey in Brabant Walloon on Friday and Saturday (August 29 & 30). The spectacular event is set in the atmospheric ruins of the Cistercian abbey with 2,000 candles and a firework finale. Discover six choirs with performances ranging from classical to gospel, jazz to pop. This year’s edition features Sister Act and the James Brown Choir, with the popular St Petersburg Choir a major highlight. The groups repeat their sets many time during the course of the night to allow the audience to enjoy the music at their own pace. An impressive finale concert accompanies the firework display. From 18.30.
It’s all happening in Namur this weekend. First there’s the first-ever La Fête des Solidarités festival at the Citadel with Blondie, Arno and Selah Sue headlining the concert programme on Saturday and Sunday. And on the same dates there are talks, readings and screenings in the second edition of the L’Intime Festival, a literary event at Théâtre de Namur, organised by local film star Benoît de Poelevoorde.