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What’s on this week: 11-17 August

Elephant artistic installation courtesy mastershoot-Flowertime
10:50 10/08/2023
With a long weekend on the horizon for many, there’s no shortage of entertaining events around the country

A herd of elephants - admittedly in wood - have invaded the Grand Place to herald the launch of Flowertime. The capital continues its fragrant floral theme with the biennial event that alternates with the world-famous Flower Carpet. For its fifth edition, 23 teams of florists use more than 100,000 flowers to create stunning displays in 15 historical rooms of Brussels’ gothic city hall. Belgian surrealism is the unifying theme that’s designed to wow visitors on the 45-minute tours of the floral show. From 11 to 13 August, neighbouring Manneken Pis will also be decked out in a flower-themed costume. 11-15 August, city hall, Grand Place


Head on over to the Sablon for the totally free Sablon Music Festival, featuring jazz, salsa, rock and pop bands as well as world food, beer and cocktails. There’s entertainment all day and evening, and you’ll also find local merchants with stands selling gourmet goodies. 11-13 August, Place du Grand Sablon

Buji Festival (c)Courtesy Jozie, facebook, jolyta coly

Single-day tickets are close to selling out for the Buji Festival, a new event smack dab in the centre of Brussels. It brings together multi-disciplinary artists of the African diaspora for concerts, exhibitions, debates, theatre and film screenings. Artists and audience alike engage in a sincere exchange of ideas around topics like diversity, cultural heritage and racism. It takes place mostly indoors, but no worries, there’s a courtyard bar. 11-13 August, Reset, Rue de Ligne 8

(c)Courtesy Circle Park

Some parents might be delighted when their kids head off to summer camp; others might feel jealous. Why can’t adults go to camp? Well, you can this summer, when Circle Park Summer Camp takes over an empty lot in the Petite Ile district of Anderlecht. Yes, kids are welcome, but it’s really all about you, with after-work chill DJ vibes, food trucks and cocktails. Evenings turn into dance parties, but it all wraps up by 22.00 because, hey, only kids get 24-hour summer camps. Sigh. Thurs-Sat until 17 September, Rue des Goujons 156

theatre nomade

Théâtres Nomades is an eclectic and free street theatre festival guaranteed to entertain all ages in the magical setting of Bois de la Cambre. Although it has evolved over the years, the popular event remains committed to its original nomadic character and a programme that’s environmentally and socially engaged. It brings together 35 companies from various artistic disciplines, such as theatre, circus, storytelling, puppetry and dance and showcases emerging Belgian talents as well as international artists. 17-20 August, Bois de la Cambre


Benenwerk (c)© Ilse Philips & Bert Duerinck

You can swing, salsa and tango, but can’t choose which moves to indulge in on any given evening? At Benenwerk, you can do it all. Spread across Bruges, every venue has a different theme, with live music and/or DJs to get you moving. One ticket gains you entry to any and all dance parties, which also include dancehall, silent disco and house. There are initiations to teach you basics if you’re a beginner, and some DJs are just spinning pop and rock classics – where the moves are all your own. Check out the break battle and the demo stage to see twerking, popping and hip-hop. 12 August 18.30-2.00, across Bruges

Scottish Days

Dress up in your finest tartan and join in the celebration of all things Caledonian at Scottish Days this weekend. The now annual festivity brings together Highland arts and sports, from dancers and bagpipe players to hammer throwing and tug-of-war. A Kilt&Kids village lays on activities for little ones and Scottish-themed refreshments are sure to delight. It’s all happening at a beautiful heritage site in Hainaut province. Ticket reservation required. 12 & 13 August, Ferme de l’Abbaye d’Aulne, Rue Vandervelde, Thuin


Liège’s popular 15 August festivities transform the ardent city into a place to party all weekend long. The highlight is Tuesday’s folklore parade with various processions through the Outremeuse district, puppet shows featuring the famous Tchantchès, concerts, games, fun fairs and flea markets. Naturally, the local liqueur Pekèt will be flowing. Until 16 August, across Liège


Each year the Waterloo Memorial centre lays on a weekend celebration to mark the birth of Napoleon, the emperor who met his fate in the fields surrounding the Brabant Walloon town. On the programme are cavalry demonstrations, historic reenactments, fire shows and an evening barbecue (on Saturday). There’s also plenty to keep younger spectators entertained over the two days. If the weather is game, don’t miss the splendid sight of hot-air balloons taking off from the foot of the Lion’s Mound on Saturday at 19.30. 12 & 13 August, Route du Lion 1815 (Braine l’Alleud)


The beautiful green park of Tintigny in the province of Luxembourg is the backdrop for the annual Gaume Jazz Festival. Some 120 musicians are set to entertain audiences on five different stages. Together they offer all styles of jazz, promising a funky and family-friendly event. The Brussels Jazz Orchestra, Manu Hermia Freetet and Philip Catherine are among the line-up. Locally-sourced food and drink will be on sale to keep festivalgoers fuelled. 11-13 August


Head down the Meuse valley for the Dinant International Bathtub Regatta’s annual big splash. The 41st edition of the annual event invites teams to construct a floating craft on the theme of ‘Farm on the Meuse. A riverside flea market (from 6.00) adds to the ambiance of the festivities in the popular tourist town. 15 August 15.00, Dinant (Namur province)


Belgium’s other big pride event is in the port city, where official and fringe events and activities take to the streets, culture centres and clubs for five days in August. Antwerp Pride’s theme this year is Bravolution, with a message to the heteros among us to stand up for LGBTQ+ rights every day of the year. The big Pride Parade and Love United Festival are on 12 August. Until 13 August, across Antwerp


It's the 50th edition of the Paulusfeesten in Ostend, a music and street theatre festival that gets the whole city partying. The whole family will have a great time here amidst upbeat bands and playful activities against the backdrop of sand and sea. Until 15 August, Sint-Petrus & Paulusplein, Ostend

alcatraz_cclaus_christa_2 (1)

Bang your head at Alcatraz, Kortrijk’s big metal bash. It’s the 15th anniversary of the festival that likes to look scary but which draws some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet to see new and beloved death, glam, punk, thrash and avant-garde heavy metal bands. Big names this year are Germany’s Powerwolf, KK’s Priest (of Judas Priest fame) and Electric Callboy, who take a refreshingly self-aware attitude towards the cliches of the genre. 11-13 August, Bad Godesberglaan 22, Kortrijk


Cocktails and Caribbean music both flow in abundance at Antilliaanse Feesten, a fun and upbeat festival featuring internationals bands with roots in Cuba, Chile, Curacao and other Caribbean locales. It’s the 40th anniversary edition of the festival, which also features street food and cigars that fit right in. 10-12 August, Hal 3, Hoogstraten (Antwerp)


Charming classical music festival Enghien International Musical Encounters (IMUSE) celebrates its 31st edition with some dozen concerts in the magnificent setting of Enghien castle. Young Belgian and international virtuoso musicians are honoured in performances with masterclasses. Audiences will have the opportunity to listen to renowned Beligan pianist Jean-Clause Vanden Eynden on 18 August as part of a varied and quality programme of classical and chamber music. 17-26 August, Château d’Enghien, Parc d’Enghien 5 (Hainaut province)


Book now NAOW Festival It’s billed as the first floating festival in Belgium dedicated to theatre, poetry and music! The Nature Arts on Water (NAOW) Festival invites audiences to the riverside site of The Flow in the Walloon capital of Namur. Over four evenings, they will be able to enjoy sound and light shows, and a range of music (via individual headsets) and artistic events presented from a floating stage. Visitors also have the option of booking dinner with the evening entertainment. The nautical site is a popular summer pop-up staple in the city, offering a holiday air with its beach setting and activities. 31 August to 3 September, Boulevard de Meuse 160, Jambes (Namur)

Photos: ©mastershoot-flowertime; courtesy Sablon Music Festival; Buji Festival ©Courtesy Jozie, facebook, jolyta coly; ©Courtesy Circle Park; courtesy Théâtre Nomade; Benenwerk © Ilse Philips & Bert Duerinck; courtesy Scottish Days; Gaume Jazz Festival, SunsetParc ©GBeckers; Antwerp Pride ©antwerpen toerisme en congres; paulusfeesten ©natalie luys; alcatraz ©claus christa

Written by Sarah Crew and Lisa Bradshaw