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What’s on this week: 24-30 August

14:47 23/08/2018
Our top picks of cultural events and activities in and around Brussels

What started as a small event in the lobby of a hotel six years ago has grown into the massive Brussels Games Festival. It takes over Cinquantenaire Park for three days of board-game fun. Hundreds of games are free to take part in – from classic board games to role-playing games to sport activities – for children and adults alike. There are also stands for clubs, publishers and shops, as well as a second-hand games market. 24-26 August, Cinquantenaire Park, Avenue de l’Yser

If it’s August then it must be time for Ancienne Belgique’s two stellar open-air concert series. For those whose who prefer to boogie in daylight hours, Boterhammen in het park (Sandwiches in the Park) features a concert by a Belgian band every day at noon. Bring your own sandwich or buy one there – or find a coupon for a free one in De Standaard newspaper. Feeërieen, meanwhile, happens at the same place but at night and with a line-up of international artists. Don’t think that because these concerts are free that they are less than excellent, this is the AB we’re talking about. See, for instance, one of Dutch-speaking Belgium’s favourite bands, Het Zesde Metaal, or hip-hop pioneers ’T Hof van Commerce during Boterhammen. Or, say, Belgium’s Colorist Orchestra backing Icelandic indie pop goddess Emiliana Torrini at Feeërieen. 27-31 August, pavilion in Brussels Park, Rue Royal & Place des Palais

Summer is a most excellent time to take to the Brussels canal on the Brussels By Water tour. One- or two-hour guided tours take place throughout the day every weekday, and special cruises are offered on some Sundays. You’ll see Brussels from a whole new angle and discover the new developments on the canal. Until 31 October, Avenue du Port 6

BXLBeerFest

Brussels was absent a craft beer festival until BXLBeerFest came along last year. With 60 breweries from 10 countries, you’ll find a wide array of tastes and friendly banter. Belgium figures heavily, natch, but the US has several entries, as does Canada and the UK. But even the Belgian entries are ones you might not have come across before, names such as Alvinne, Brasserie du Brabant and Brasserie Minne, with its label sporting a boar and the tagline ‘from wild Belgium’. Indeed. 25-26 August, Tour & Taxis, Avenue du Port 86

Bozar knows that we don’t yet want to hear the word ‘autumn’, so it is easing us into its new season by opening its cinema programme in August. In keeping with its 1968 anniversary Resistance theme, it’s screening the highly entertaining documentary My Generation, in which esteemed British actor Michael Caine raps with other 1960s icons (Paul McCartney, Joan Collins, Twiggy) about what made the decade so unforgettable. Later on Bozar’s film programme are the Belgian premiere of Spike Lee’s new film Blackkklansman and the Brussels premiere of Belgian filmmaker Lukas Dhondt’s highly anticipated Cannes winner Girl. 30 August 20.00, Bozar, Rue Ravenstein 23

The American Club of Brussels’ August Dine-Out is next week, one of the expat association’s many events and activities open to non-members. The Dine-Out is monthly and this time is at the venerable Au Grand Forestier in the Sonian Forest. Next week is also the group’s Final Friday Drinks, a great way to meet members. Oh, and you don’t have to be American to join in. Dine-Out 30 August (reserve by 27 August), Final Friday Drinks 31 August

Fiesta Latina

A ‘rich programme of exotic delights’ awaits you at Fiesta Latina. The festive décor sets the scene for concerts, DJ sets, food trucks, dance lessons and kids’ activities, all in the heart of Bois de la Cambre. With a mixture of Latin American and Spanish influences, the festival will introduce you to Barcelona’s new beer and Lucha Libre, Mexican professional wrestling. The wrestlers wear masks, which always makes them look like they are in a horror film. If you’re going to this festival, this is pretty much a must-do. 24-26 August, Bois de la Cambre, Avenue de Diane and Avenue de l’Orée

Kanal has become the Brusselite’s go-to place when they’ve got nothing going on – because there’s always something going on. And even if you’ve seen it, it might have changed. The Sheet Steel exhibition, for instance, which cleverly fuses the material sheet metal’s use in sculpture with its use in cars – the building is the former Citroën garage – is constantly in flux, with pieces coming and going. Object: Administration, meanwhile, is staged in the building’s former offices – a collection of works that suggest paperwork and office politics. Until 7 January, Kanal Centre Pompidou, Quai des Péniches

Looking ahead a bit, some 15,000 people will gather at Tour & Taxis on 2 September for what is billed as the happiest race on the planet: The Color Run. The 5k event transforms jogging crowds into a moving, kaleidoscopic splatter-art piece. One of a growing field of non-traditional races, it attracts both fitness types and simple lovers of fun dressed in white t-shirts, to be sprayed with coloured powder (100% natural food-grade corn starch) as they pass through the run’s different stages. Celebrations then culminate in a mass throwing of colour packets to create a rainbow cloud during a festival-type atmosphere. And it’s all for good cause: the Think-Pink breast cancer charity. Sign up by 1 September. 2 September from 13.00, Tour & Taxis

Watou Arts Festival

OUTSIDE BRUSSELS

Two years ago, the Watou Arts Festival announced that 2016 would be its last edition because it had lost its Flemish government grant, some 20% of its funding. But the organisers and the city and province managed to pull it together with less, and visitors have certainly not seen the difference. The 10 offbeat locations on the 3.5 kilometre parcours are home to multiple spaces, with works and installations ranging from cheery to eerie. (The photo above represents one of the former.) Parking in the small town on the border with France is ample and free, but it’s quite a commitment to get there by public transport. Take the train to Poperinge and then the De Lijn belbus, which you have to reserve in advance. An overnight stay would in that case be recommended, but that’s no punishment when it comes to Watou. Until 2 September, across Watou (West Flanders)

Visitors to Namur are spoilt for choice this weekend, with two of the city’s major cultural events vying for their attention. From its lofty setting atop the medieval citadel, family-friendly music festival Les Solidarités is expecting an audience of 50,000 for 50 concerts playing on five stages, ranging from pop and chanson, to electro, soul and hip-hop. Kids are well catered for with their own village and programme of entertainment. Meanwhile, downtown Théâtre de Namur is hosting the sixth edition of the annual literary event L’Intime Festival. The brainchild of local film star Benoît Poelvoorde is an emotion-provoking collection of selected and artistically staged readings by a variety of actors. Les Solidarités 25 -26 August, L’Intime Festival 24-26 August (Namur)

Photo: Brussels Games courtesy event, BXLBeer/Bosilo.net, Fiesta Latina courtesy event, Watou/Els Debbaut

Written by Lisa Bradshaw and Sarah Crew