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Culture beat – June 20
Competing with the World Cup this weekend, to the relief of many, is Fête de la Musique. The annual solstice musical fiesta reflects artistic and musical diversity in Brussels and Wallonia with around 700 concerts and performances in the open air and all free! Celebrating its 30th edition, the programme is wildly eclectic, ranging from classical, to jazz, chanson and electro. Festival hub moves this year to Cinquantenaire Park where three stages host some 30 concerts and a village provides entertainment for children and screenings of World Cup matches for hard core fans. Performing alongside Belgian artists are British Caribbean musicians Anthony Joseph and Ebony Bones plus French singer songwriter Thomas Fersen. Currently proving popular in the UK is Brussels rockabilly outfit The Saint-Gillbillies, playing their debut album Sittin’ Pretty in, where else, but Saint-Gilles on Saturday evening.
If you need any further excuse to enjoy the great outdoors then check out at least one of the increasing rounds of evening, after work or even weekend apéro parties. You may need to keep a close eye on websites and facebook pages for up-to-date information, but this is one of the best ways to enjoy the sun’s setting rays when living in the city. Here are some of our favourites: Aperos Urbains is one of the classics and every Friday it welcomes hundreds in a different venue around Brussels, offering games, music and a late-night Apero-Club. There’s live DJ music at Apero Saint-Job plus happy hour with Aperol Spritz at 17.00 in Place Saint-Job, and Apero Saint-Gilles in Place Van Meenen. Les Apéros du Parc Josaphat also meet on Fridays at 17.30, while Les Jardins Suspendu is a rooftop party on Saturday evenings at Parking 58 near the Bourse. Electro fans should head to Play Label Rooftop above Crosly Bowling in the city centre for the second edition of parties boasting what must be one of the best panoramic views of the capital. From 17.00-22.00 during the week and 15.00-22.00 at weekends, it’s best to check the facebook page for dates. La Garden Party is a weekend alternative, running on the first Sunday of the month, from 11.00-22.00. In Brabant Wallon the weekend makes an early appearance on Thursdays: in Wavre with Ze Afterwork at 18.00 at Domaine du Blé and in Genval with L’Offshore from 17.00 on the banks of the picturesque lake. Tchin tchin.
As the cultural season draws to a close there is one event that provides some cool interior reflection in arts centres and galleries across the capital. The international biennale Summer of Photography opened this week with an inspiring and thought-provoking series of exhibitions on the theme of gender. Its central exhibition at Bozar, Woman: The Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s studies the political movement that swept from the United States to Europe when women finally appropriated their own bodies for their art. In bringing together 450 works by 29 female artists, it emphasises the pioneering role of their collective action. This is the first time that many of these works have been displayed and it is a necessary reminder of the cultural and social prejudices that still effect women around the world today. The biennale has been organised by Bozar and is a collaboration with 35 partners. Other exhibitions include African women’s art Where We’re At! and The Belgian Six, presented by The Word magazine. At Wiels in Forest, Robert Heinecken: Lessons in Posing Subjects shows portraits from a key period in the career of the highly influential post-war American photographer. Summer of Photography runs until August 31.