Music, theatre, dance, cinema: the 20 festivals and cultural events not to be missed this summer in Brussels

Music, theatre, dance, cinema: the 20 festivals and cultural events not to be missed this summer in Brussels
Music, theatre, dance, cinema: the 20 festivals and cultural events not to be missed this summer in Brussels

The Brosella opens the musical month of July in Brussels (July 6 and 7, 2024). The setting of the jazz, world, hip-hop and global festival is enchanting: the artists perform at the Osseghem park, in its open-air theater, a trumpet’s throw from the Atomium (pass from €25 to €65, daily access from €15 to €35). Maghrebian flautist, Brussels saxophone players, Malian singer, Chicago folk singer, Middle Eastern violinists, Philly drummer, Flemish rockers: people will come from everywhere. And children will have their own stage with 3 concerts per day from 2 p.m. (free for under-14s).

Every Thursday in summer, we travel thanks to the tour operators of the Escale du Nord. The Anderlecht cultural center concocts a world tour of rhythms for its festival Summer Stopovers. Cuban music, Turkish psychedelics, rumba, Galician revisits, and even Quebec Latin or Balkan music… Swiss. It’s happening at the Eden Bar, under the bell tower of Saint-Guidon, and admission is free. And it’s whispered that a female tennis star from the 90s could invite herself as a VIP to the Mauves…

And le Walden Festival (July 13 and 14, 2024) took the title of Thoreau’s mythical tale, and it’s not for nothing: its stage is obviously set in the green in the middle of Brussels, so you can enjoy a lineup that mixes classical, jazz, global and pop-rock with your feet in the grass. It’s happening at Parc Léopold and in the surrounding area, including some unusual places like the Bibliothèque Solvay and the Christian community Viale (from €23.30 to €59.80/day, combi €44.80/88.80).

The barge of the very first festival fluvial Fluctuations moored at the Flow swimming pool quay on July 13 and 14, 2024. The boat presents itself as a hybrid between an artistic scene and an activist residency. After Lille and before Utrecht and Budapest, Brussels will therefore sail to the rhythm of the concerts and DJ sets of this committed festival, which also includes a food village, debates on ecology and a children’s area. It’s free but you can make a donation to help the team (here).

Brosella, Escales Estivales, Walden Festival, Fluctuations, Hide & Seek or Feeërieën: music all summer long in Brussels. ©Brosella / Escale du Nord / Walden Festival / Fluctuations / Hide & Seek / AB

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Summer Pleasures, the 2024 summer programme of the City of Brussels, is dedicated to dance from 26 July to 18 August. ©City of Brussels

From July 26 and throughout the month of August, dance enters Brussels for the summer program ““Summer Pleasures” (5 things to know here). The nerve center of the event: the Bourse. A stage awaits the shows and initiations there. Hip-hop, salsa, rock, krump, house, funk, k-pop, Indian or Greek dances: each day of the week has its tone. A traveling podium also moves through the neighborhoods while at the Hôtel de Ville, dancers liven up your visit. In the Marolles, a mechanical ballerina will dazzle you, and even more so when night falls.

At the end of the summer, more confidential concerts, far from the big podiums and big machines, with the Hide&Seek (August 18 to 24, 2024. The concept remains unchanged: world music groups to listen to in little-known, sometimes downright unusual places, in very small groups. This year, we will visit the former palace of Charles V, a climbing room or an umbrella factory. A word of advice: don’t delay in booking.

Very precious meeting out of time: the Fairies of the AB (August 26 to 30, 2024) slow down the pace around the Brussels Park kiosk just before throwing themselves into the frenzy of the new school year. In the speakers, vaporous electronica sounds, folk lullabies from the Arabian Nights, Japanese songs, rough African techno, female rap from Morocco and even Kurdish psychedelia. And all this, for free!

Popular to please

Summer will also have its popular events, not festivals strictly speaking but big black-yellow-red open-air parties. Unmissable, the Midi Fair extends from Porte de Hal to Porte de Ninove from July 13 to August 18, 2024. The two-kilometer fairground is packed with 130 attractions and trailers selling fries, crisps and sweets. Yum!

Let’s rock on July 20th. ©Bal National

Another must-see: the National Day on the 20th and July 21. The poster of the Bal National of the Place du Jeu de Balle in the Marolles has not yet been revealed, but we are certain that there will be humor, communion and flonflons. And we might even come across lookalikes there… On the big day, it’s at the Parc de Bruxelles and Place des Palais that it’s happening with a parade and open days for the institutions. In the evening: meet at the Cinquantenaire for the Belgian-Belgian concert, fireworks and a laser and drone show.

Then we dance ?

Want to dance? Brussels has included clubbing in its intangible heritage and it’s not for nothing. The techno, house and electro summer starts on July 6th with the anniversary of the 30 years of Fuse at the quadrilaterals of Brussels Midi. The Esplanade de l’Europe will pulsate with bass from historical and contemporary DJs.

Circle Park and XRDS, two techno events of the summer in Brussels. ©Circle Park / XRDS-Fuse

All summer long, it’s at Circle Park on the banks of the canal in Anderlecht (rue des Goujons) that you will sweat: evenings are planned every Friday and Saturday in July, August and September, in shirts with the Brussels collectives.

On the eve of the August holiday, the teams of Hangar are taking over the Place des Palais. Two big names in techno will perform there on August 14 and 15 from 3 p.m., for the eardrums of the king and at least 10,000 of his subjects: the Italian duo Tale of Us (14/08) and the masked German Boris Brejcha (from €38.50 to €48.50).

We will close the holidays with Fuse XRDSits incredible setting between the frescoes of the Anderlecht motorway interchange (hence its name, “Crossroads”), its two days of non-stop dancing (August 17 and 18) and its crazy line-up of more than 40 international and ultra-rated techno DJs (€46/56/91).

The classics of the classic

Classissimo and Midis Minimes: the summer classic in Brussels. ©Classissimo / Midis Minimes

Royal Conservatory and the Notre-Dame des Victoires church at Sablon: what could be better than these majestic settings for the 44 concerts of the 38th festival Midis MinimesFrom July 1st to August 30th, a high-flying musical break is offered to you during lunchtime for short concerts of guitar, flute, violin, voice, horn or harp (concerts at 12:15 p.m. from Monday to Friday, €6, free for under-13s, passes available).

From August 7 to 13, 2024, Very classy returns to the Théâtre Royal du Parc with a theme each evening: the farces of Thyl Ulenspiegel, Irish folk, the Balkan wave, women, the Roaring Twenties or Mozart. Each concert brings together established musicians and young artists (from €8 to €15/concert).

Parks Theatre

The scenes are also waking up this summer in the parks of Brussels. On the Forest and Saint-Gilles side, the very cool participatory festival Park Poetics organizes a “mini-fiesta” every Friday in parks and public spaces with concerts or shows. On the menu until August 24: parades, stories, circus, neighborhood radio, breaks at the foot of century-old trees, summer fruit recipes, collage, street theater. And it’s free! Cool, we tell you.

Park Poétik, Bruxellons! and Théâtres Nomades: theatre, magic and street arts in the summer of 2024 in Brussels. ©Park Poétik / Bruxellons / Les Nouveaux Disparus

At Karreveld Castle, it is the traditional Let’s Brussels! who sets up his trestles. The 28th edition runs until September 28 with the star show “Come From Away”, a feel-good musical comedy about the sad events of September 11. But there will also be Molière, Guillaume Gallienne or Yasmina Resa, clowns, amateur theater and mentalists (variable prices, programming and reservations here).

The multi-coloured marquee of the Compagnie des Nouveaux Disparus will be set up in the Bois de La Cambre from 15 to 18 August for the Nomadic Theaters festival. 35 companies of street artists flock there from everywhere. The opportunity for the bosses to bring their show “Le Songe” back to Brussels after a tour between Europe and North Africa. The pitch for this revisit of “Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream”? Tensions in the team of actors and technicians, who rehearse the English comedy, are calmed by migrants, welcomed incognito in the theater. You will have understood: the intention here is to raise awareness about migration. And it is not superfluous.

And what about cinema this summer in Brussels?

At the outdoor meeting “Brussels makes its cinema“, for the first time, the 19 municipalities have their screen! The principle: recent films screened for free outdoors as soon as night falls, around 10:10 p.m. The closing is scheduled for July 16 at the La Cambre abbey in Ixelles. The full program is here.

General public or more cinephile events on the open-air screens or in the dark rooms of Brussels cinemas this summer 2024. ©Bruxelles fait son Cinéma / Galeries / Palace

More of a movie buff, Summer time sets its hands in the Asian time zone: its 2024 season is centered on Hong Kong. 20 films from 1970 to 2023 are on the bill, shared between the Cinéma des Galeries Royales and its partners: the Vaux-Hal in the Parc de Bruxelles and Cultureghem, at the Abattoirs d’Anderlecht. Summer Time does not forget the kets: still in Cureghem, 5 open-air screenings are intended for them. Where they will (re)see Choum, Ponyo or The Red Turtle. Or how to dive without getting wet.

Finally, the Palace has selected 54 films to fill the studios’ off-season with “Sun Screens“. With cult films, must-sees, new releases, reruns of recent films, not forgetting wonders for young audiences. And since it’s summer, you’ll also see “Les Bronzés”. Don’t forget the sunscreen.

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