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What’s on this week: 12-18 August

12:53 11/08/2022
With a long sun-doused weekend on the horizon, the country is brimming with activities

Bloomin’ lovely! Brussels’ famous flower carpet returns to grace the Grand Place with a retro design to celebrate the event’s 50th anniversary. Mexican artist Roo Aguilar Aguado and Koen Vondenbusch recreated the original 1971 pattern, adapting the design to modern techniques. The pop-up masterpiece Arabesque 2022 is on display for free in the medieval square, accompanied by sound and light shows every evening from 21.00 to 23.00. Tickets for a panoramic view of the carpet from the balcony of the City Hall are on sale online. 12-15 August, Grand Place

(c)Courtesy Classissimo

What does Mendelssohn have to do with Klezmer or juke boxes? They all come together at Classissimo, a fresh and diverse festival of classical music. One themed concert takes place every evening at the grand Royal Park Theatre. Visitors can choose (among others) the Mendelssohn Only performance (featuring the I Virtuosi ensemble, pictured), Crazy Klezmer, Juke Box Opera or Alors on Danse. That last one features waltzes by Chopin, Ravel and more but the title is a nod to Belgian hip-hop king Stromae. Classissimo knows a maestro when it sees it. 12-19 August, 3 Rue de la Loi

Vaux Hall Brussels Park

Senior citizens in the capital are invited to a summer ball in Brussels Park’s Vaux Hall. The party kicks off with a dance class and continues with music from Johnny Halladay lookalike Jo Davidson and his live band as well as a singalong to the sounds of the 1970s and 80s. Shaded seating and drinking water will be provided and drinks and snacks on sale at reasonable prices. The event is accessible for people with reduced mobility. 15 August 14.00-20.00, Vaux Hall, Brussels Park

Theatres Nomades

The eclectic and free festival Théâtres Nomades will entertain all ages in one of Brussels’ prime green spaces. The popular event remains committed to its original nomadic character with a programme that’s environmentally and socially engaged. It brings together 35 companies from various artistic disciplines, such as theatre, circus, storytelling, puppetry and dance and showcases in particular emerging Belgian talents as well as international artists.18-21 August, Carrefour des Attelages,  Bois de la Cambre


As the holidays draw to an end, the Brigittines International Festival serves as a prelude to the cultural season with its packed programme of exciting contemporary dance and performances. The theme of this year’s edition is Spiral of Dreams, inviting a collection of shows to explore the imaginary and fantastic via innovative forms of expression. 18 August-3 September, Les Brigittines, Petite rue des Brigittines 1

(c)Courtesy Hide & Seek Festival

Book now: Hide & Seek Festival The tickets for this terrifically popular festival are, as usual, flying out the door, so grab them now to avoid disappointment. The name refers to the quirky, hidden locations in which the world music concerts take place, such as in the National Bank of Belgium, in front of a rock climbing wall or in the Freemason Temple (pictured above and exceptionally open to non-members). Tip: Membership of festival host Muziekpublique pays for itself after attending two concerts. 21-27 August, across Brussels


Weekend festive Waterloo

Waterloo may have been Napoleon’s downfall, but the memorial site celebrates the iconic emperor’s birthday each year with a Grand Festive Weekend. The entrance ticket provides access to a raft of activities, from period cavalry demonstrations to military reconstitutions. In the evening there’s a barbecue available and the event partners with Montgolfiè Three hot air balloons will be taking off from the site; reservations directly via the organisation. 13-15 August, Waterloo (Walloon Brabant)

Liège 15 August festivities

Liège’s popular 15 August festivities make their return to the ardent city. Although the celebrations extend all weekend, the highlight is Monday’s folklore parade with various processions through the Outremeuse district, puppet shows featuring the famous Tchantchès, concerts, games, fun fairs and flea markets. And of course, the local liqueur Pekèt will be flowing.  13-15 August, across Liège

Antwerp Pride (c)Jan Van De Perre

It has kicked off already, but you’ll find the best of Antwerp Pride is still to come. Not content to contain the celebration of the queer community to one weekend, the port city hosts events for weeks, including a love boat ride, a Trail of Stories tour and a Queer Arts Festival. The big parade and party – well parties – across the city centre are on 13-14 August, but Pride continues all month. Until 31 August, across Antwerp

Talbot House Poperinge

Talbot House – the ‘every man’s club opened during World War One as a recreation centre for soldiers on leave – is open year round, but the garden is at its best in the summer. And that’s where the final concert of the season takes place this week, featuring ’60s cover band No Milk Today. Summer is also the only time to take the Story Tour, when costumed performers provide anecdotes and relate the history of all sorts of people who lived in or stayed at the house during one of the most turbulent periods of Belgian history. Until 31 August, Gasthuisstraat 43, Poperinge (West Flanders)

L'Homme a la source Annevoie gardens

While the grandiose 3D video mapping show, L’Homme à la source captivates the senses, Annevoie’s water gardens guarantee a refreshing backdrop. Projected onto the façade of the 18th château and reflected onto its surrounding lake, the sound and light spectacle incorporates surprise live elements such as an opera singer and dancer appear on the castle balcony, a wooden barque rowed across the water and costumed illuminated characters who curtsey and bow before the audience. The 40-minute show presents Charles-Alexis de Montpelier, the genius behind the famous water garden. Spectators can roam the elaborate water courses and fountains before the show, a magical setting as night falls. Until 28 August, 22.00 (doors open 19.00), Rue des Jardins 37 Annevoie, (Namur province)

Pinocchio - Les Nocturnales

The magnificent Beloeil Castle hosts Belgian impresario Luc Petit’s new family show Pinocchio. More than 60 artists, from puppeteers to aerial acrobats, jugglers and fire dancers recreate the traditional tale of the little wooden boy. Until 21 August, Thursday to Sunday 20.00, Parc du Château 11, Beloeil (Hainaut province)

Dinant International Bathtub Regatta

With this weekend predicted to be a scorcher, the timing is perfect for the Dinant International Bathtub Regatta’s big splash. The 40th edition of the annual event invites teams to construct a floating craft on the theme of ‘The Carnival’. A riverside flea market (from 6.00) adds to the ambiance of the festivities in the Mosane valley city. 15 August 15.00, Dinant (Namur province)

IMUSE2017-Classe Chant Ottevaere

Charming classical music festival Enghien International Musical Encounters (IMUSE) celebrates its 30th edition with around a dozen concerts in the magnificent setting of Enghien castle (pictured 2017 edition). Young Belgian and international virtuoso musicians are honoured in performances with masterclasses. The inaugural concert on 20 August invites Russian violinist Alena Baeva and pianist Polina Leschenko; the evening features a singing session in homage to young Ukrainian singer Ella Petnichenko who died in 2021. 18-27 August, Château d’Enghien, Parc d’Enghien 5 (Hainaut province)


International chamber music and gastronomy festival Les Sons Intensifs (The Intersnsive Sounds) enjoys its 12th edition in the prestigious location of the Hôpital Notre Dame of Lessines. Under artistic director David Cohen (pictured), it offers a series of intimate concerts, including the screening of the German expressionist film The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, with a live performance of the soundtrack composed by Yuval Gotlibovitcha. The festival theme Time Escape offers an escapade through works by Villa-Lobos, Debuissy, Ravel, Chopin or Beethoven. The ancient site is one of the oldest hospitals in Europe and is en route for Unesco recognition. 13 & 14 August, Place Alix de Rosoit, Lessines (Hainaut province)


Cocktails and Caribbean music both flow in abundance at fun and upbeat festival Antilliaanse Feesten. Internationals bands with roots in Cuba, Chile, Curacao and other Caribbean locales take the stage amid foods from many cultures and Cuban cigars. ¡Diviértete! 11-13 August, Hoogstraten (Antwerp province)


Cirque Magique is a small-scale electronic music festival atn the beautiful grounds of Bossuit Castle on the southern border of West Flanders. As the name suggests, performers like fire artists and stilt walkers are also on hand. A shuttle bus runs between the site and Kortrijk train station. 12-14 August, Avelgem (West Flanders)

alcatraz_cclaus_christa_2 (1)

Bang your head at Alcatraz, the big metal fest in Kortrijk. Bands range from British glam rockers The Darkness to US metalcore flagbearers As I Lay Dying and the critically acclaimed new metal group Vended. That band was founded by offspring of members of Slipknot – which are themselves playing Pukkelpop this year. 12-14 August, Kortrijk


Musical boundaries are fluid at Antwerp’s laid-back festival Jazz Middelheim, where you’ll find jazz infused avant-garde, rock and club sounds. Groove to the jams under the marquee or plop down in a lounge chair on the vast expanse of grass to hear musicians like Iggy Pop, Jef Neve and the Fred Hersch Trio. 12-15 August, Park Van Den Brandt, Antwerp

Written by Sarah Crew and Lisa Bradshaw