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What’s on this week: 13-19 July

17:30 12/07/2018
Our top picks of cultural events and activities in and around Brussels

Beginning in the late 1800s, Foire du Midi is the oldest but also biggest funfair in Brussels, bringing 130 attractions to a two-kilometre stretch between Porte de Hal and Porte d’Anderlecht. From bumper cars and roller coasters to carousels and trampolines, this fair has it all. On 14 July, Manneken Pis will be dressed in the fair’s Pierrot costume and an opening parade will be held at the fairgrounds. 14 July to 19 August

Break out your wheels and join in the 16th annual Roller Bike Parade. Cyclists, rollerbladers, quad-skaters, skateboarders … all are welcome to take part in the free summer event, choosing between a five and 20k loop. Live music and DJs roll along with you. The evening event takes place every few days in one of several cities: Brussels, Leuven, Charleroi, Wavre and Hasselt. There are two next – one in Hasselt and one in Brussels. Until 14 September, across Belgium.

Haven’t been to a summer festival yet? Check out the weekly Royal Park Music Festival, with two dates left. On 15 July, the Martin Selmi Trio will be playing a jazz programme with Belgian artist Manuel Hermia performing for children. On 29 July, it’s ‘African jazz’ by the Augustin Foly Trio and Belgian jazz ensemble Super Ska. 15 & 29 July, Brussels Park kiosk, Rue Royale

Portrait by Polish artist Sylwia Mużyło

For the past six years, Polish artist Sylwia Mużyło has been living and working in Poland at her gallery and workshop. Now, the artist is officially bringing her striking portraits to Belgium with the grand opening of her new art gallery in The Ultimate Hallucination Restaurant & Cafe. Chat with the artist about her work at the after-party in the venue’s second-floor club. 13 July opening 20.00-23.00, after-party until 4.00, Rue Royal 316

Dutch expat Edgar Hütte launched The Expat Club in 2013 to encourage expats to discover Belgium – and beyond. Throughout the year the club is active with various activities and journeys. This month includes a visit to France’s Loire Valley and a scenic bus tour through Switzerland. Membership in the club is free, travellers pay for any trip or activity that suits them.

The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever comes to Brussels! For the last few years, groups of people around the world have come together to learn the ballet-like dance moves Kate Bush brought to the video of her first hit single ‘Wuthering Heights’. Then they – men, women and children – don the iconic red dress and black choker to recreate the video. As this is the 40th anniversary of the release of the song, a group of enthusiasts at De Maalbeek cultural centre is getting in on the act. Lessons in the dance take place on Thursday, with the big open-air event on Saturday. Taking part is free. The working language is Dutch, but, really, dance moves are a universal language. And if you can’t make the practice session, feel free to learn the moves yourself; the video is all over the internet. Practice session: 12 July 19.30-22.00, CC Maalbeek, Rue du Cornet 97 (Etterbeek); Performance: Leopold Park, Avenue du Maelbeek 23 (Etterbeek)

Argentinian tango group Quebrache

A unique combination of theatre, music and dance, Quebrache are an Argentinian tango and folk group. Composed of artists from throughout Belgium, their show include multiple stages, scenarios and genres taking the audience through a wide variety of experiences. 15 July 20.00, Art Base, Rue des Sables 29

Outdoor music festivals dominate the calendar in a Belgian summer, so the Bruxellons! performance festival on the grounds of the beautiful Karreveld castle in Brussels is a breath of fresh air. The 20th-anniversary edition includes 24 productions, from theatre to stand-up to puppetry. Though the highlight this year is the world premiere in French of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s legendary musical Sunset Boulevard. Most performances are in French, with many surtitled in Dutch. A dinner buffet and champagne bar round out this popular summer experience. Until 27 September, Avenue Jean de la Hoese 3 (Molenbeek)

Open-air cinema is all the rage in Belgium, and Bruxelles fait son cinéma’s nomadic nature finds it popping up in some of the capital’s most reclusive spots. This weekend, for instance, you can find the Django Reinhardt biopic on Place Cardinal Mercier in Jette or Noces (A Wedding), in which a Belgian girl struggles against an arranged marriage, in Uccle’s Wolvendael Park. All films are screening in their original language with subtitles in French. Films in French are subtitled in Dutch. Until 20 July, across Brussels

Spectacular summer productions at Villers Abbey

OUTSIDE BRUSSELS

The imposing Villers Abbey has been serving as the backdrop of spectacular summer productions for decades, drawing up to 600,000 people to the Walloon Brabant countryside for the month-long run. This year it ups the ante on drama, presenting the story of Caligula, one of ancient Rome’s most controversial figures. Whether the historical accounts of his insanity and incestuous relationships have been exaggerated or not, they make for great symbolic theatre, as Albert Camus knew all too well when he penned the play in the 1930s. In the setting of this medieval abbey, this is one production you won’t soon forget. (In French) Until 12 August, Rue de l’Abbaye, 53, Villers-la-Ville

The largest combination music and theatre festival in the world is right here in Belgium. The annual Gentse Feesten takes over the entire city of Ghent – and that’s not an exaggeration. Every square is home to a stage, with music throughout the day and night. Street performers wander about, but there’s also an organised open-air street theatre festival, and local theatres all present special programmes. Food and drink abounds, with the cocktail bar at the Polé Polé world music stage a popular choice. That stage, by the way, spans across the city’s canal. Fringe events include tours, fireworks, boat trips and readings. And, special for the event’s 175th anniversary, the bronze dragon atop the city’s Belfry will spew fire once again. 13-22 July, across Ghent

Rock, pop, reggae and soul all come together at Francofolies de Spa, a celebration of French-language music. Among the dozens of mostly Belgian and French acts, you’ll find electro-music producer Lost Frequencies, multi-instrumentalist Calogero and rock band Girls in Hawaii. 19-22 July, 7 Heures Park, Avenue Reine Astrid

Photos: Foire du Midi courtesy of Foire du Midi, Sylwia Mużyło gallery courtesy of the artist, Villers Abbey productions courtesy of Del Diffusion

Written by Lisa Bradshaw and Hannah Rodriguez