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What’s on this week: 18-24 June

17:13 17/06/2021
Our top picks of events and activities in and around Brussels

Get out from behind your screen, live music is back. Who would have thought that the Fête de la Musique would be live this year, but here we are. The annual festival of free concerts across Brussels and Wallonia features all kinds of music. Bop to Charles (pictured above) at Cirque Royal, groove to the soul sounds of Bernard Hoste from his Uccle balcony or head down to Waterloo for electropop with Lucie Valentine. There are literally hundreds of concerts from which to choose. 18-21 June, across Brussels and Wallonia

The very cool Hopla Circus Festival takes place in squares and parks around the capital. Among the free street theatre and acrobatics are some great acts, like artists wearing giant magnets and performing on sheets of metal and others who do some amazing things with stairs and railings. Don’t try this at home. Until 4 July, across Brussels

'Gourmand' by Ever Meulen

Fashion house Louis Vuitton hired no less than famous Belgian illustrator Ever Meulen to create 120 drawings of Brussels as part of its travel book series. And he does it only as Ever Meulen can. “I chose to create an homage to Brussels,” he says, “because I owe everything to this city.” All 120 original drawings are on show now at MAD, a unique opportunity to see the latest work by this living legend. Until 5 September, Place du Nouveau Marché aux Grains 10

RTBF’s big festival devoted to classical and new music – in the broadest sense of the term – is back in force in Brussels. Musiq3’s concerts throw rock, jazz or world into the mix to create a super diverse programme that appeals to all generations. 25-27 June, across Brussels

Maaike Neuville as Madame Bovary

In a follow-up to his Mrs Dalloway, Catalan stage director Carme Portaceli collaborated with KVS director Michael De Cock to create Bovary, a new version of the famous 19th-century novel by Gustave Flaubert. Belgian actor Maaike Neuville (The Twelve, Ghost Tropic) takes on the role of the newly married Emma Bovary, whose stifling life leads her in search of fulfilment – and to consequences that come from flouting rigid, patriarchal conventions. (In Dutch with English and French surtitles) 22-25 June, KVS, Quai aux Pierres de Taille

Schaerbeek is supporting both bars and musicians with Muzik 1030, which finds live shows across drinking holes in the municipality. The musicians are guaranteed pay, bar owners are guaranteed customers, and you’re guaranteed a good time. 19 June 14.00-19.00, across Schaerbeek

Costumed performers at Brussels Renaissance Festival

Formerly known as the Carolus V Festival, the Brussels Renaissance Festival has a new name but the same fun events, all with the intent to envelope us in the Brussels of centuries past. Built up around Charles V’s residence in and influence on what is now the capital of Europe, the festival will be missing the famous Ommegang procession this year, but offers us everything else – from exhibitions to costumed storytelling to a family weekend of activities. 19 June to 11 July, across Brussels-City

Do you hate small talk? Then sign up for Deep Conversations, where you will be paired with a stranger and given a list of honest, intriguing questions. The Brussels Imagination Club aims to get people who have just met to have actually interesting conversations, and it might encourage you to try a little harder the next time you meet someone new. 23 June 18.45, Co-operative Kreativa, Rue Volta 8 (Ixelles)

Painting of Mozart

It’s the fifth edition of Midsummer Mozartiade, a celebration of Mozart’s greatest masterpieces. A highlight of the programme of concerts, recitals and conferences is a new production of the opera La clemenza di Tito featuring a mostly Belgian cast. 20-27 June, Place des Martyrs & Théâtre des Martyrs

Poor Mirano night club. Closed for renovation for two years, it re-opened in 2019, only to have to shut again a few months later. While we wait to be able to dance and sweat with our fellow humans, there’s at least the exhibition Brussels Nightlife: Mirano Continental 40th Anniversary. It will take you through four decades of history – of the club, the music and Brussels night life. 18 June to 11 September, Halles-Saint-Géry, Place Saint-Géry 1

 Queen Elisabeth Competition winner Jonathan Fournel


It’s hard to know whether to get more excited about the music or the locations during the Été Mosan Festival. Classical concerts are staged in castles, barns, abbeys and gardens across Wallonia’s Meuse river valley. Among the many highlights is a concert by French pianist Jonathan Fournel (pictured above), who won this year’s Queen Elisabeth Competition. As the competition was closed to the public this year, it is his first performance in front of an audience in Belgium. 20 June to 22 August, across Wallonia

The Real Bodies exhibition in Antwerp – where plastinated humans allows us to see perfectly preserved muscles and organs – is joined by a related exhibition this summer. Real Stories is an exhibition of photos of health-care workers taken during the corona crisis. The personal accounts that go along with them are as touching as the photos themselves. Until 29 August, Sportpaleis Hospitality Center, Slachthuislaan, Antwerp

Photos, from top: ©Julia Dubois Rosca, ©Ever Meulen/MAD, ©Danny Willems/KVS, courtesy Visit Brussels, courtesy Amadeus & Co, ©Derek Prager/Queen Elisabeth Competition

Written by Lisa Bradshaw