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HELLO MIXITY: Free musical event heralds year of diversity-themed events in 2017
The festive announcement to the people of Brussels reflects the capital’s multicultural DNA with 120 artists of 20 nationalities performing in a total of 10 languages, taking the audience on a musical and dance journey around the world. With a Canadian artist singing Stromae in Arabic, Turkish electro, Italian, Spanish and Finnish songs, hip-hop meets classical, a Prince classic by Papa Wemba, the Belgian Pride hymn and a Japanese choir, the programme reflects diversity in all its forms. Among the Belgian artists are Jaune Toujours, Zap Mama and Marie Warnant. The evening line-up also offers a flashmob dance with more than 400 children and the participation of people with disabilities.
Open to everyone and welcoming all ages, the event promotes living together in harmony, tolerance and joy. Adding to the party spirit are a MIXITY themed cocktail and trucks selling home-made food from around the world.
“Diversity is the daily reality in Brussels,” says visit.brussels events director Micha Kapetanovic. “It is the second most cosmopolitan city in the world after Dubai and the most cosmopolitan in Europe according to the latest World Migration Report.”
He explains that a year of diversity had already been on the agenda before the bomb attacks in March. “After the initial shock, we said it was now even more important to celebrate our diversity. But it’s not just ethnic: it goes beyond religious and sexual diversity, to intergenerational and disabled people, as well as the mix of nationalities, which now numbers 183. Lying at the crossroads of Europe, we have always been a city of expats and of immigration,” he adds.
The MIXITY.brussels 2017 year of diversity takes two forms, explains Kapetanovic. “We will promote existing and recurring events such as the Couleur Café world music festival and Belgian Pride, as well as bringing a MIXITY focus to others that have an international appeal, including the opening of the House of European History next to the European Parliament and the re-opening of the Royal Museum of Central Africa in Tervuren. And we will also create our own events, including the MIXITY Wall, an urban graffiti fresco, an exhibition about hip-hop at BOZAR, chorales and many other events.”
To champion community work, the MIXITY Awards have been set up to reward associations that organise events, with a second category for groups both small and large that work on longer-term projects, frequently away from the public gaze. Private companies are eligible for an honorary prize and there is also a public prize.
On 30 September partygoers can take advantage of free guided tours organised just before the event. Revealing the varied history hidden underneath the surface of the city centre, tours depart at 17.30 from the Carrefour de l’Europe. The tours will be held in Dutch, French and English. They are free, but online registration is recommended.