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What’s on this week: 19 to 25 April

10:04 18/04/2024
Highlights this week include a fine art and antiques fair, Irish film and world music while the capital braces for hot and hip Les Nuits Botanique and Art Brussels

The second edition of Antica Brussels at Tour & Taxis honours modern Belgian art among more than 70 stands proudly exhibiting paintings, fine antiques, jewellery, porcelain and objects. A spin-off of the long-established and highly successful Antica Namur, this is an attractive and more contemporary showcase of Belgian and international taste and style. Naturally illuminated by the former industrial warehouse’s glass roof, the five-day fair is a perfect place to peruse beautiful period and design objects and discover local artists from the 20th century. Until 21 April, Tour & Taxis, Avenue du Port 88

American Roots

It’s called American Roots, but this precursor to country and bluegrass music has its origins in European and African music and dance traditions. In the 19th century, it could be heard bursting out of bars and community halls across eastern rural America. Muziekpublique’s American Roots Weekend features two nights of concerts, jam sessions and square dance as well as workshops. Also this week at Muziekpublique is Kora Days, a cooperation with Bozar that showcases masters of the kora, a stringed instrument widely used in west Africa. Roots 19-21 April, Kora 24-28 April, Molière Theatre, Galerie de la Porte de Namur, Square du Bastion 3 (Ixelles)


Some 300 amateur artists participate in the free exhibition ARTopenKUNST at city-centre venue Espace Vanderborght. As a platform promoting emerging talent, the event enables artists to exhibit for the first time or for more seasoned creatives, explore other disciplines. Discover paintings, drawings, sculpture, ceramics, collages, mixed media and a giant collaborative work by Brazilian artiste Afranio Fonseca. 19-21 April, Rue de l’Ecuyer 50


Tickets remain for local amateur theatre group ECC’s excellent comedy compilation 10 by Ten. Dive into a world of contrasting characters, imperfect relationships, and some hilarious misunderstandings. Parents, siblings, husbands and wives…. all trying to navigate each other's words, personalities and feelings. The short plays are written by Andrew Biss, directed by Heli Pärna and performed by an international cast at the Warehouse Studio Theatre. Until 27 April, Rue Waelhem 69a (Schaerbeek)


Full Circle House Classical stages a classical music concert from the Brundibár Arts Festival entitled Fragments of a Diary. It includes works by Josima Feldschuh, a wunderkind pianist and composer from a Jewish family in Warsaw who died in 1943 at the age of 15.  This is the second year the professional ideas club showcases extracts from the UK festival dedicated to the music and arts of the Holocaust, founded by Alexandra Raikhlina (pictured). 19 April, Chaussée de Vleurgat 89 (Ixelles)

Scéal Eile 2

What do a 19th-century teenage orphan, a women’s rowing team and a group of washed-up clowns have in common? They are all subjects of recent Irish cinema and all on the programme of the Scéal Eile Irish Film Festival. The rest of the line-up features drama, comedy, horror and the Puffin Rock kids’ movie. A highlight is the harrowing documentary Stolen (pictured) about Ireland’s infamous mother-and-baby homes that operated until the late 1990s. 22-27 April, Cinema Galeries & Cinema Aventure

Balkan Trafik

Get ready for one of Brussels’ loudest, most joyful and certainly coolest parties as Balkan Trafik lands on De Brouckère. It’s the 18th edition of this celebration of music from southeastern Europe in all its diversity – folk and brass, sure, but also jazz, hip-hop, electro and fusion. A highlight is sure to the collaboration among the No Smoking Orchestra, the Amsterdam Klezmer Band and Belgian rock singer Daan. Also try not to miss Kalush Orchestra (pictured), the Ukrainian rap group that handily won Eurovision 2022 with the catchy “Stefania”. 25-27 April, Place De Brouckère


The family-orientated Mini D Festival stages dance and circus performances for children aged four to 12 in venues around the city. They include a solo aerial show by Brazilian Iara Gueller (pictured) at Marni theatre on Saturday at 16.00 (from six years); and two free outdoor performances: We are in this together at Place Fernand Cocq on Saturday at 15.00, and March On! at Maison des Cultures et de la Cohésion Sociale de Molenbeek on Sunday from 13.30 to 17.30. Until 28 April, Marni, Rue de Vergnies 25 (Ixelles) and other locations

Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra

A virtuoso cello and piano duo perform in this Classical Gems concert with the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by David Navarro-Turres. On the programme at the Brussels Conservatory: a Belgian work by Dirk Brossé, the famous Kol Nidrei by Bruch, Beethoven’s 4th concerto and Mendelssohn’s Italian symphony. 21 April, Rue de la Régence 30


Les Nuits Botanique kicks off on Wednesday with an eclectic line-up of musical talent opening the hottest musical event in town, if not Europe. For the 31st edition, some 120 local and international musicians perform pop, electronic, hip hop, rock and experimental sounds in the various venues of the cultural centre plus nearby Les Halles. As ever, home-grown talents have a special place as well as rising stars. Pianist Sharon Udoh (US), singer-songwriter Strawberry Guy (UK) and Gaye Su Akyol (Turkey), are among the latter. 24 April to 5 May, Botanique, Rue Royale 236


It’s countdown for the 40th edition of Art Brussels, the capital’s top contemporary art fair. Professionals, collectors and art enthusiasts all gather at Brussels Expo to explore some 177 galleries from 31 countries, showcasing hundreds of artists, emerging and established. Among side events are solo shows and the KickCancer Collection (pictured): more than 250 unique postcard-sized works by talented artists, each on sale for €400. A kids’ room welcomes three to 12-year-olds. 25-28 April, Halls 5 & 6, Brussels Expo, Place de la Belgique (Laeken)



The annual magical floral carpet of wild bluebells is in full bloom in Hallerbos. Visitors are welcome to admire the ephemeral display of spring blossoms from footpaths in the woods. Forest rangers and volunteers are on hand to ensure the protection of the delicate scented flowers. Free shuttle buses from Halle station at weekends and public holidays, plus free bikes available daily from the station’s cycle point. Until 1 May, Hogebermweg, Halle, Flemish-Brabant

Storytelling Festival

The charming International Storytelling Festival at the majestic Alden-Biesen Grand Commandery is dedicated to being multi-lingual. Fox Fire: Songs and Stories from the North is in English, featuring singers and storytellers Nick Hennessey (UK, pictured) and Erik Sjoholm (Finland), while the Story Carousel lets you pick a group of four stories, each one delivered in either English or one of Belgium’s national languages. 19-20 April, Kassteelstraat 6, Bilzen (Limburg)

Afrika film festival

For many cinema-goers, the Afrika Film Festival is an unmissable event, the chance to see some great features from Africa and the diaspora that may have not made it into Belgium’s cinemas. Don’t miss Sudan’s Oscar entry Goodbye Julia (pictured), in which a woman tries to assuage her guilt around the death of a man by hiring his wife as a maid, and HLM Pussy, an exploration of class and race differences among three friends in the outskirts of Paris. The festival also includes an exhibition, dance and a fashion show. (Note: Only the Dutch version of the website features the 2024 programme.) 19-30 April, across Leuven


This year’s theme for the classical music festival Lunalia is “the hearts of Europe” in honour of Belgium’s presidency of the Council of the European Union. It aims to reflect the many voices of Europe, with a focus on Central European and – marking the 200th birthday of Bedrich Smetana – especially the Czech music scene. Of course you’ll find his work on the impressive programme, along with family-friendly performance in the Light of the Moon and Lunalia Lift Off, an opening day with free concerts that offer a taste of what’s to come. Until 5 May, across Mechelen

Rodin (C) BE CULTURE - 8

Gathering some 200 masterpieces, including rarely-seen sculptures and drawings, Rodin. A modern Renaissance is the inaugural exhibition for new cultural and heritage pole CAP. This exhibition at the Fine Arts Museum also features pertinent dialogues with contemporary Belgian artist Berlinde De Bruyckere and local Renaissance sculptor Jacques Du Broeuck. Some works are on public display in the Sainte-Waltrude Collegiate Church and the nearby city hall Mayeur garden, which temporarily welcomes Rodin’s most famous sculpture, The Burghers of Calais. Until 18 August, Fine Arts Museum (CAP), Rue Neuve, Mons


Fans of folklore traditions can head to the Walloon capital for the 26th edition of FolkNam. Activities include an artisan market in Namur’s main square Place d’Armes, plus an afternoon procession heading through city-centre streets. Joining the parade are the city's famed stilt walkers (Les Echasseurs). Place Maurice Servais stages a concert and folklore dancing. 20 April, from 10.00, Namur city-centre


Book now Randy Feltface The puppet ‘phenomenon’ brings his ‘First Banana’ world tour to Antwerp. The felt doll, operated by Aussie Heath McIvor, appeared in two sell-out shows in Belgium last year. A hit on the international comedy circuit, he was previously nominated for best comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, played sold out seasons in London and New York and featured several times at the Montreal Just For Laughs Festival. Tickets are available via 14 June, Stadsschouwburg

Discover more upcoming events at The Bulletin's events page.

Photos: (main image) Antica Brussels ©Gregory de Leeuw; Art Brussels ©David Plas: Hallerbos ©Belga/Nicolas Maeerlinck; Rodin ©BE CULTURE; FolkNam-Goliath, son épouse et les Chevaux Godin ©Viviane Dubois/Info Lux

Written by Sarah Crew and Lisa Bradshaw