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What’s on this week: 23 to 29 June

Fête de la musique in Brussels Cinquantenaire park
09:03 22/06/2023
Join the midsummer folly - from music festivals and medieval reenactments, to contemporary performances and interrogating art exhibitions…

Fete de la Musique heralds the start of the festival scene: dozens of musical concerts and DJ sets in indoor and outdoor venues in Brussels and Wallonia. Since 1985, the French-community festival has celebrated the solstice by promoting its artists and musicians in cities, towns and villages across the regions. Here in the capital, the main fiesta returns to Cinquantenaire park on 23 and 24 June, while a jazz programme sets Jette jumping and Molenbeek welcomes a feminist line-up. Parvis Sainte-Alixe (Woluwe-Saint-Pierre) invites upcoming pop and rock bands, while the Marolles parties with a kitchen utensil orchestra on Sunday. Check out the vast programme and peruse this map! Until 25 June, multiple locations in Brussels and Wallonia

Ommegang 4 (c)E Danhier

The Brussels Renaissance Festival continues to liven up the city-centre with its celebration of the capital’s medieval past. The highlight is Ommegang (28-30 June), a massive procession of hundreds of costumed actors and giant puppets culminating in a recreation of the festivities surrounding Charles V’s entry into Brussels in 1549. Providing a different flavour to the proceedings, guest country South Korea presents a Taekwondo Demonstration Performance by Team-K in the Grand Place on 28 & 30 June. It also hosts stands in the Sablon dedicated to traditional costume and oriental medicine, among other themes. Until 8 July, across Brussels


The 18th edition of the suburban Visueel Festival Visuel returns to the northwest of Brussels for a packed Sunday afternoon and evening of street arts, circus acts and other acrobatic shows, several of which involve trampolines and revolving walls! Site entry and all activities to the francophone-Flemish event are entirely free making this a great value day out for all the family. Some shows have limited places; pick up tickets at the info stand from 13.00. 25 June 14.00-22.00, Place de l’Eglise (Berchem-Sainte-Agathe)


The prestigious Royal Academy of Arts (ArBA-EsA) in Brussels presents a special exhibition in collaboration with students, titled L.Y.F.E (Love you Forever). All five floors of the Vanderborght building are filled with artwork; visitors are invited to wander freely around the atrium and the exhibits. 29-30 June 11.00-19.00, Vanderborght, Rue de l'Ecuyer 50

A tribute to Abba

A magical evening dedicated to music and generosity! That’s A Tribute to Abba charity concert for Aviation sans frontières, which invites talented quartet Marolles Ensemble to captivate audiences with their musical arrangements. 23 June 20.30, ULB Salle Dupréel, Batiment S, Avenue Jeanne 44 (Ixelles)


Wander through the elegant spaces of the art deco jewel Villa Empain this summer and immerse yourself in the colourful exhibition House of Dreamers. The collective show raises questions about the relationship between artists and domestic space by exploring the notion of the decorative in modern and contemporary art. Discover a range of furniture, objects, wallpapers, and tapestries that convey poetic, political and social messages. Run by the Boghossian Foundation (dedicated to Middle East-Western relations), the villa hosts exhibitions, talks and a variety of events, including late night parties around its spectacular pool. Until 1 October, Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 67 (Ixelles)

Eve Cadieux

Canadian photographer Eve Cadieux fell in love with the 1967 Montreal World’s Fair through her father’s photos of the event and her visits to the site. In Seville in 2015 she had an aha moment that triggered a mission to document the remnants of fairs around the world. Of the over 1,000 photos she has taken, 72 of them are blown up, backlit and evocatively on display in a sphere of the Atomium, one of the best preserved elements of a world’s fair. I Have Seen The Future looks to the past and future as Cadieux considers herself to be an archaeologist-artist, highlighting the remains of these often spectacular sites as they slowly disappear under encroaching nature or redevelopment. Free entrance via general admission to the Atomium. From 21 June, Place de l’Atomium 1 (Heysel)

Les estivales

Les Estivales de la Woluwe has set up home in Roodebeek park again this summer with eight free classical concerts. Organised by Les Musicales asbl, the seasonal programme invites artists from a diverse selection of classical genres. Previous editions have proved popular with more than 150,000 people attending the open-air concerts. In the event of rain, the event has tented shelter to ensure everyone can continue to enjoy the music. Until 15 July, Wednesday at 16.30; Saturday at 18.00,  Roodebeek Park (Woluwe-Saint Lambert)

Festival des mots, des notes

Three-day festival Des Mots, Des Notes is an opportunity to experience a unique fusion of music and theatre. Actor, author, comedian and columnist Réal Siellez is behind this year’s programme, in which three personalities/collectives are given carte blanche to explore how words can be combined with music to represent key moments in life; birth, life and death. Miserere is a theatrical representation of Psalm 50 prayer; Coup de strass comments on the undervalued theatrical genre of musical comedies; and Quelque chose comme un soupir, pas un spectacle is described as a moment where words become song to accompany one’s mourning. 22-24 June, Théâtre de la Vie, Rue Traversière 45 (Saint-Josse-Ten-Noode)

Garden Tales - CIVA

Don’t miss this lovely summer event: the free opening of some of Brussels’ otherwise secret private gardens as well as a few of the capital’s loveliest public parks. Garden Tales reveals the migratory journey of many of the plants on display and is also an opportunity to hear from orchid and cactus enthusiasts. It’s organised by the CIVA foundation in partnership with with Natagora and Provelo and with the support of Bruxelles Environnement. Registration necessary. 25 June, 16 July and 24 September 10.00, across Brussels


There’s something special about a film festival in the summer, when you can emerge into the warm night following a screening or catch some open-air cinema in a picturesque square. The programme of the annual Brussels International Film Festival is no breezy affair, however, taking its role in bringing excellent world cinema to the capital very seriously, with the jury prizes to match. Among the many highlights are Spanish film La Maternal, the story of a teenager facing a pregnancy, and Kristina, a beautifully shot character study of a transgender sex worker in Serbia. Both are screened in the presence of their respective directors, as are many more films at the festival. 27 June to 5 July, across central Brussels


With his British-Italian background, comedian Luca Cupani has an enviable mix of cultural references to turn to for his very funny acts, evidenced by send-ups of modern Rome, porridge and organised vs disorganised crime. British comic Ken Parsons also gets in on the act this week at English Comedy Brussels. 27 June 20.00, Aloft Hotel, Place Jean Rey

Recyclart Holidays

Recyclart is all things to many: Culture centre, master of repair and reuse, a beer-slinging bar and a vegan restaurant. During Recyclart Holidays, it’s also an open-air fun house. Drop in on the interior courtyard on Thursdays and Friday for exhibitions, live music, performances, artistic interventions, DJ sets and more. 29 June to 28 July, Rue de Manchester 13 (Molenbeek)

US independence

Book now The American Women’s Club of Brussels and the American Club of Brussels join forces to celebrate the Fourth of July with an American Independence Day BBQ. Following lunch, live cover band The Crowd will entertain revellers in the park, and there’s paddleboats available to rent on the lake. Register before 26 June. 2 July 12.00-16.00, Etangs Mellaerts, Boulevard de Souverain 275 (Woluwe-Saint-Pierre)



The sound of leather on willow provides the genteel backdrop for the Brussels British Community Association (BBCA)’s annual mid-summer garden party on Sunday. Everyone is welcome to this annual charity fundraiser. As well as a friendly ‘village green’ cricket match, there’s a BBQ (provided by Stonemanor), Pimm’s stand, tea and cake sale and traditional games for kids. All proceeds to BBCA’s local charities. Tickets on sale for food and drink (cash only); bring your own folding chairs, picnic rugs… 25 June 13.00-18.00, Royal Brussels Cricket Club, Chemin des Messes 39, 1380 Lasne-Ohain

Vincen Beekman

Vincen Beeckman is an extremely interesting photographer, with a body of work that suggests very intimate connections with people, whether the interactions are very brief or long-term. You’ll see both in the exhibition Ping Pong, which brings together four of Beeckman’s projects. In one, he provided homeless people in and around Brussels Central Station with disposable cameras, and they now create photo exhibitions together. In another, he provides a visual narration of an average family from Mons, recording events like their birthdays, wedding, funerals and move to a new house. 24 June to 8 October, FoMu, Waalsekaai 47, Antwerp


There’s no better time than the summer for a beer festival, and Antwerp’s Groenplaats is a very nice place to host one. Bierpassie Weekend features all Belgian beers, including many hard-to-find microbrews. But even the heavyweights like Alken-Maes are bringing along their sideline or seasonal brews, so the 200 beers featured should prove to be a real discovery tour. 23-25 June, Groenplaats, Antwerp

Live is Live (c)Hilde Lenaerts

Music festival season is upon us, and Antwerp’s Live is Live gives us plenty of reasons to start here. The rock & pop festival on Antwerp’s left bank boasts an excellent line-up of local and international musicians, like The War on Drugs, Grace Jones, Balthazar, Novastar and Sylvie Kreusch. It all happens at the pretty Middenvijver park, and its food options are heads and shoulders above the rest. 24-25 June, Blancefloerlaan, Linkeroever (Antwerp)


The European Theatre Club ETCetera’s new production La Grande Duchesse de Gerolstein is an amusing, satirical and joyous operatta. Originally composed with a text in French by Jacques Offenbach and premiered on the Paris stage in 1867, it has been translated and updated with the spoken text in English, and French, Dutch and English surtitles provided for international audiences. Until 25 June, De Bosuil Cultural Center, Witherendreef 1, Jezus-Eik (Overijse)

Silly Silence

For the fourth year, the outdoor exhibition Silly Silence transforms the wood of Silly into another silent world. Discover 20 photos suspended in trees of the depths of the ocean thanks to the work of photographer Jean-Marie Ghislain. From whale songs to the whistles of dancing dolphins and the crash of waves, the forested environment takes on another atmosphere for walkers. It’s located between the Hainaut towns of Enghien and Ath. Until 29 September, Bois de Silly, entrance via  Rue Brunfaut (Hainaut)

Photos: (main image) Fête de la Musique ©Bernard Babette; Ommegang ©E Danhier; Fondation-Boghossian House-of-Dreamers, Les Crafties; Eve Cadieux, The Atomium; Live is Live ©Hilde Lenaerts

Written by Sarah Crew, Lisa Bradshaw, Louis Kernoa-Pascoe, Damien Maguire