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What’s on this week: 28 June to 4 July

11:17 27/06/2024
Summer is finally on the horizon and festival season in full swing. Discover our cultural highlights in Brussels and beyond.

Couleur Café remains the most urban of music festivals, despite its recent move to a greener site at the foot of the Atomium. With three stages, including the famous Verdure theatre, the atmosphere is famously chill. On the music front, it welcomes Disiz, Tyla, Swing, Morgan, Fatoumata Diawara, Stikstof, Charlotte Adigéry and Bolis Pupul, among others. It is also necessary to give a shout out to the festival’s excellent and tasty world cuisine. 28-30 June, Osseghem Park (Laeken)

Work in progress - c Alexander Silva

Portuguese artist Alexandre Farto (born 1987), aka Vhils, grew up in a Lisbon still affected by 1974’s anti-right Carnation Revolution. Fifty years later, as part of Brussels’ Parcours Street Art celebrating its tenth birthday this year, Vhils’ mural (pictured, in progress) celebrates the freedom and resilience that struggle brought to the city. After this introduction, enjoy more of Vhils’ work in MIMA’s new exhibition Multitude, Carving Memories in the Digital AgeCreating cityscapes by scratching the surface of walls, Vhils’ art also features billboards, videos and installations showing our relationship with the city - “the greatest human invention”, according to historian Ben Wilson, while Vhils tells the Bulletin: “There are layers of history in a wall.” Until 5 January, Quai du Hainaut 39-41 (Molenbeek), public wall, Rue Leopold 25


Celebrate summer and pay tribute to the book. That is a key aim of Design du Livre et du Papier, the latest exhibition at Brussels’ bookbinding museum, created by passionate book collector Michel Wittock and housed in a 1980s Brutalist building complete with iconic book sculpture outside. In this show, 16 students from the Ecole nationale supérieure des arts visuels de la Cambre (ENSAV)’s book and paper design workshop were invited to present their work from book objects to precious bindings, and in materials from sumptuous leather to paper packaging. Visitors will also discover the wide range of methods and innovations practised at the school, such as new formats, typography and layouts. Look out for beautifully scripted book covers such as La Main Gauche de la Nuit and Sagesse des LianesUntil 29 September, Wittockiana, Rue du Bemel 23 (Woluwe-Saint-Pierre).


Bringing another successful season to a close with a flourish, the Brussels Muzieque collaborative stages its flagship jazz event with maestro Lars Danielsson. He will be performing his own composition with Brussels Muzieque’s Chamber Jazz Consort. The concert is a tribute to Danielsson's exploration of intertwining jazz compositions with the nuances of chamber music. 30 June 19.00, Royal Conservatory, Rue de la Régence 4


Non-profit eco, cuisine and artist initiative Soilmates stages a gathering of farmers, scientists, chefs and artists in The Soil Stories on Sunday afternoon. They will be addressing the audience on regenerative food and farming at city flower farm Fleurakker. Soilmates is a Belgian movement that aims to protect the fertile top layer of soil for growing healthy vegetables and plants. The flower farm has no access for cars; parking at Avenue du Laerbeek 145. 30 June 16.00-18.00, Rue du Bois (Jette)


The musical theatre show Insectarium pays tribute to the fascinating world of tiny creatures in a family performance combining music, theatre and poetry. The concert is designed for children aged between the age of seven and 13. It is part of Musiq3 Festival, the Brussels leg of the famous Festivals of Wallonia that runs over the summer and early autumn. This series of seven festivals offers a programme of over 150 concerts on a shared theme, which this year is Nature. In addition to classical music, they offer eclectic musical genres and activities. 30 June 14.00, Rue Vergnies 25 (Ixelles)


Dress up in traditional Korean costume, the Hanbok, and capture the moment in a photo shot! That’s the proposition of a new initiative by the Korean Cultural Center called Hanbok on the Road. The travelling experience is visiting emblematic sites in cities around the country. Dates and locations to be announced shortly... From 1 July, multiple locations



Get your global travel fix without leaving home! This year’s Sand Sculpture Festival at the Belgian coast is themed ‘Around the world in sand’. The coastal phenomenon transports visitors to the Sphinxes in Egypt and wild animals in Africa, not to mention such sights as the Taj Mahal, Japanese temples and the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco. Artists the world over fly in to create these massive sculptures every summer. Kids obviously love this event, but adults are also suitably impressed at the level of skill involved in the tiniest of details. There’s also a bouncy castle for little ones in the play zone and a beach bar for some further grown-up downtime. 28 June to 8 September, Middelkerke beach, Arthur De Greefplein

Vanessa Baird

The work of one of Norway’s most famous contemporary artists, Vanessa Baird, joins that of her compatriot Edvard Munch at De Reede museum in Antwerp. There are indeed resemblances between their works, with Baird’s experience caring for her mother, who has dementia, central to this series of paintings and drawings. Until 19 August, Ernest van Dijckkaai 7B, Antwerp


The Leie region’s Painting Biennial brings together three key museums in this rural part of the country. They host separate but connected exhibitions of work by contemporary Belgian and international artists, putting it alongside their own collections. It’s a thorough exploration of their collections and histories as local museums seen from a current perspective.  30 June to 1 September, across Leie region (East Flanders)

Dirk Braeckman

Dirk Braeckman’s photography is weird. Working with muted tones or simply black and white, he often leaves you guessing what you’re actually looking at – but trying to figure it out is actually quite fun. Antwerp’s photography museum gave him carte blanche to put his work in dialogue with part of their collection, and he of course chose the part called “functional” – made with no artistic intentions whatsoever. Until 19 January 2025, FoMu, Waalsekaai 47, Antwerp

Come Closer

DeSingel and Middelheim get together for Come Closer, an arts festival investigating the space between sculpture and performance. Head inside for performances at deSingel, or outside at Middelheim’s open-air sculpture park, which hosts theatrical performances, special installations and talks by local and international artists. There are all sorts of quirky shows, with one letting you taste fermented foods and another bringing the “characters” in the Middelheim collection to life. Until 29 September

Lucien Bitaux © BE CULTURE

Stellar Scape is the latest exhibition staged by KIKK at Le Pavillon, which immerses visitors in the final frontier of outer space. While captivating the imagination, it is also a resource that is increasingly being exploited. Some 20 artworks and nine installations by Belgian and international artists and scientific researchers explore the challenges facing the space world. Among the artists is Lucien Bitaux, Fr, whose Nadir (pictured) is a silicon-focused machine that studies an artificial rock with imaging sensors. The show’s theme is a fitting topic for the former Belgian pavilion at the Milan World Fair, with its space age features and its digital culture mission. Until 26 January, Esplanade of the citadel, Route Merveilleuse 65, Namur

M Leuven ISa (detail) Tina Gillen - photo the artist

It is all happening at M Leuven, the city museum that boasts a great mix of old masters and contemporary art. For the summer season, it is launching major exhibitions as well as an activity programme, including kids’ workshops and a summer bar. Open M | Hidden in Plain Sight showcases works by 12 local artists who draw inspiration from their local environment. Meanwhile, Collection M offers a selection of some 300 works from the museum’s rich collections, including masterpieces and lesser-known gems (pictured: detail of work by Tina Gillen). 29 June to 27 October, Leopold Vanderkelenstraat 28, Leuven


Iconic summer event Festival au Carré  transforms the Hainaut capital of Mons into a colourful hub of creativity with concerts, dance, theatre and circus, vibrant performances, musical cinema, talks and walks. The festival opener at Théâtre le Manège is Vitesse 80, a concert that revisits classics from the decade. The fun continues with trademark performances dedicated to offbeat humour, often located in public spaces around the city. Indoor theatrics include Cie des Chaussons rouges’ acrobatic dancers who defy gravity in their new show Epiphytes28 June to 7 July, venues across Mons 

Paradise city

Billed as Belgium’s most ecological music festival, Paradise City has a full seven stages giving you lots of space to explore and dance to the massive programme of electronic music. Food is locally sourced, the energy is green and free tap water cuts down on plastic at the festival located in the picturesque grounds of Ribaucourt Castle just outside Brussels. Special night trains and free shuttles make transport a breeze. 28-30 June, Kasteelhoekstraat 1, Steenokkerzeel


Antwerp’s left-bank music festival Live is Live has an enticing line-up. Among the excellent local and international rock & pop musicians performing are The National, Smashing Pumpkins, Editors, Tamino, K’s Choice, Interpol, Mogwai, Ben Howard, Sheryl Crow, Gossip, Passenger, Zornik, Paolo Nutini, Warhaus and Trixie Whitley. The food options at this Middenviyver site are equally appealing. 28-30 June, Blancefloerlaan, Linkeroever (Antwerp)

Il Diluvio

The 60th edition of the Festival Musical de Namur adopts a nature theme for its diamond anniversary programme of 15 concerts. The event debuts with the concert Vivaldi en été with Les Concertos de Dresde and Les Ambassadeurs under the baton of Alexis Kossenko. Cappella Mediterranea and the Namur Chamber with musical director Leonardo Garcia Alarcon naturally make an appearance, presenting Il diluvio universale (pictured). Cindy Castillo performs music by JS Bach at Saint-Loup and the city-centre church also hosts The Kraken Consort’s Scottish and Irish music and songs in O’er the Moor28 June to 13 July, Namur Concert Hall (Rue Rogier) & Eglise Saint-Loup (Rue du Collège), Namur

Check out The Bulletin’s guides to music festivals and theatre, performance and family events this summer.

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

Photos: (main image) ©Couleur Café; MIMA, Work in progress  ©Alexander Silva; Visuel Cambre; Le Monde des Milles Couleurs farm soilmates ©Menno de Jong; insectarium Duo Haelix CDR; Lucien Bitaux © BE CULTURE; M Leuven ISa (detail) Tina Gillen - photo the artist

Written by Sarah Crew, Lisa Bradshaw, Liz Newmark