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What’s on this week: 30 June to 6 July

Musiq3 Bruxelles - Festivals of Wallonia
10:40 29/06/2023
With the holiday season around the corner, there’s a festive vibe in events and activities across the country

Festival Musiq3 Bruxelles heralds the start of the Festivals of Wallonia, a summer-long celebration of classical music – sometimes fused with world, jazz and electronic – that’s performed in seven places around the region. For 2023, the theme Utopia reigns, and the Brussels leg proposes classical concerts at Flagey, world and jazz at Marni. Together they offer a treat for music lovers of all ages. World premiere Madame Vitesse (pictured) entertains audiences (8+) on 1 July, and evening DJ sets will liven up Place Sainte-Croix. 30 June-2 July, Flagey (Place Sainte-Croix); Marni (Rue de Vergnies 25), Ixelles

Bruxelles fait son cinéma - Gabriel Verheylewegen

Sit bck, relax and catch an outdoor movie thanks to Bruxelles fait son cinema. With free screenings of quality films with a Mediterranean flavour in 15 locations around the city, the annual seasonal event is a regular crowd pleaser. The 23rd edition kicks off with Interdit aux chiens et aux Italiens in Parc de Wolvendael in Uccle on 1 July and closes with La petite bande in Koekelberg on 15 July. It’s aimed at bringing film to a larger audience, in neighbourhoods now deserted by movie theatres. It’s also accompanied by a friendly atmosphere and Mediterranean-themed drinks and snacks. 1-15 July 21.00, 15 locations around the city 


Not only is the ESA Saint-Luc graduate show a chance to discover the various disciplines taught at one of the city’s top art schools, it’s also an opportunity to snap up works by a new generation of artists. The downtown venue, a once derelict haberdashery and hosiery factory, has found new life as a creative hub for artists and performers. 1-2 July 13.00-18.00, La Mercerie, Rue Van Artevelde 70

Draw for Change (c)Amany Al Ali

Being a cartoonist can be a dangerous business, and no more so than when you take on injustice. The exhibition Draw for Change features six female illustrators and cartoonists from different parts of the world, including Russia and Syria, who face exclusion and threats of rape or death for channelling their observations into drawings. The exhibition is based on the award-winning documentary series of the same name. 4 July to 27 August & 21 October to 5 November, Comics Art Museum, Rue des Sables 20

Midis Minimes ©Eduard Uslee & Amaury Viduvier

Visitors to the Midis-Minimes Festival – in July at the church in Sablon and in August in the Conservatory – make surprising discoveries, as ensembles and orchestras play around with classical music traditions. The 35-minute lunchtime concerts are inexpensive and a nice way to add a chill moment to the middle of the day. The festival kicks off with a bang as Young Belgian Strings accompany sisters Sylvia and Stéphanie Huang, both laureates of the Queen Elisabeth Competition, on violin and cello respectively. 3 July to 31 August

Sun Screens

The wonderful Palace Cinema presents Sun Screens, a quirky summer programme of restored classics and cult favourites alongside select new releases. Some films will be projected in the 35mm in which they were shot, including Sophia Coppola’s Lost in Translation and Marie-Antoinette, both famed for their visual styles. A highlight is the screening of Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much in its original VistaVision, Technicolour and Dimensional Sound – something never done today. It is introduced by film director Nabil Ben Yadir and cinema history specialist Jean-Pierre Verscheure. 6 July to 20 August, Boulevard Anspach 85

Citizen's Garden Euopean Parliament

Immerse yourself in European literature with authors from Sweden, Spain, Estonia and Germany participating in Summer readings in the Citizen’s Garden. Within the framework of the Swedish and Spanish presidencies, the European Parliament has invited a different fiction writer to present their work on Tuesday and Thursday lunchtimes. Each session is followed by a moderated debate. First up on 4 July is Swede Alexander Koistinen, sharing his Europa trilogy of political thrillers that he describes as "Homeland but in a EU setting". The event is mainly in English. 4-13 July 12.30, Rue Vautier 62 (Ixelles)

DACO Girafe-4

Witness the transformation of Jette into a beacon for street art. The municipality is inaugurating its 10th mural by local artist DACO on Wednesday; the latest work to join the urban art trail Yes We Can that promotes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. More than 120 street bins have also been turned into creative works thanks to the project that kicked off in 2020, aimed at bringing art and culture into the daily lives of citizens while encouraging youngsters to respect public space. The official unveiling takes the form of a free street party from 15.00: music, activities for kids and refreshments, followed by speeches (18.00). 5 July 15.00, Avenue Guillaume De Greef 100-199 (Jette)

UrbanSessions (1)

Urban Session is freestyling it’s way back to Brussels with loads of different events and a wild free opening party to kick off the weekend. Again, BMX is at the centre of this event with appearances by the best male and female athletes from around the globe. Expect crazy tricks as the performers will be competing in the UCI BMX Freestyle World Cup that counts towards qualifications for the Paris 2024 Olympics. Other events include skateboarding, parkour, street art and a variety of activities for everybody to enjoy. However, before all that starts, Kid Noize, the event’s godfather will be performing on 7 July to get everybody in the mood for the celebration of urban sports. 6-9 July, Josaphat Park (Schaerbeek)



Don’t miss a chance to relive Napoleon’s final battle with a reenactment of the history-changing skirmish in the fields around the town of Waterloo. As well as recreating battle scenes at Hougoumont farm, the site also hosts a civilian village in its orchard, filled with artisans practising long-forgotten crafts. It’s just one of the activities filling the historical weekend, the final in a series of events to mark the anniversary. There’s also bivouacs (housing up to 300 soldiers) set up at Hougoumont and at Napoleon’s last HQ. The memorial centre is of course the hub for all of the activities. Various day passes are available. 1 & 2 July, Lion’s Mound, Route du Lion 1815; Hougoumont farm, Chemin du Goumont (Braine L’Alleud)

Dansand (c) Hannu Laakso

It’s the 15th anniversary edition of Dansand, where all kinds of movement arts take place in the squares, streets, outskirts and on the beach of Ostend. The festival mixes up its site-specific character this year by putting some of the productions on two different sites, giving them a whole new twist. See, for instance, New York-based Kayla Farrish dance to a live performance by musician Trixie Whitley on the beach one day and at the city’s old swimming pool on another. Many performances are free. 30 June to 2 July, across Ostend

Smaak 2

Smaak is called a food truck festival, but there’s so much more to this nomadic event: live music, theatre, entertainment for kids and DJs all wrapped up in a cosy atmosphere of shady trees and fairy lights. Entry is absolutely free, just bring a big appetite. Until 30 July, across Flanders


After three long years of renovations, the glorious Gaasbeek Castle just a few kilometres from Brussels is back open. The months-long programme The Castle Awakens welcomes visitors back to see the sumptuous castle – which has undergone many transformations over 500 years – restored to its former glory. A summer bar summons you to the courtyard garden and former carriage house, while inside the castle you’ll find the Ne mobliez mie, a cinematic installation by theatre company FC Bergman focused on a woman trying on multiple identities. It was inspired by photographs found of the marquise Arconati Visconti, the last private owner of the castle, dressed up as a page. There is a Venetian Parade in the castle’s Museum Garden on 16 July. Exhibition 1 July to 5 November; summer bar 1 July to 30 September, Kasteelstraat 40, Gaasbeek (Lennik)

Open farm days

The 26th edition of the Open Farm Days is a lovely opportunity to visit any one of 53 participating farms across Wallonia. The weekend event offers a unique insight into the diversity of Belgian agriculture with guided tours, exhibitions, practical workshops (milking, cheese making, fruit pressin, etc) as well as demonstrations of farm equipment. Visitors will also have the chance to taste local and artisan products and as the event is very family-friendly, there will be carriage rides, mazes, bouncy castles and even donkey rides for youngersters. 1-2 July, various farms across Wallonia

Nuit d'ivresse

Enjoy a spot of outdoor theatre (in French) on the banks of the idyllic Genval lake. Brussels’ Théâtre de la Toison d’Or stages Nuit d’ivresse, a comedy by Josiane Balasko; part of the festival Il est temps d’en rire aura lieu that’s running until September. A tempting pre-show menu with tapas and other gourmet bites plus cocktails and drinks is served by Martin’s Château du Lac Hotel. 5 July to 5 August 20.45 (site open from 19.30), Avenue du Lac 80 (near Martin’s hotel car park), Genval

1erJuillet-Solistes-Waterloo-2023 (1)

Listen to the soaring sounds of Orchestra Virtuosi di Waterloo perform Astor Piazzolla,  L’Histoire du Tango with renowned international soloists, Marc Grauwels flute, Jean-Frédéric Molard, Christophe and Florian Delporte, accordion. Reservations: 0475 93 23 26, or Waterloo Tourisme, Chaussée de Bruxelles 218. 1 July 20.00, Eglise Saint-Paul, Drève des Chasseurs 14, Waterloo


Belgium’s most ecological music festival, Paradise City, is expanding its terrain this year, adding another stage and giving you more space to dance to the massive programme of electronic music. Food is locally sourced, the energy is green and free tap water cuts down on plastic on the picturesque grounds of Ribaucourt Castle just outside Brussels. Special night trains and free shuttles make transport a snap. 30 June to 2 July, Kasteelhoekstraat 1, Steenokkerzeel (Flemish Brabant)


The fun never ends at Rampage Open Air, “the biggest drum&bass and dubstep festival in the universe”. The line-up of electronic music is indeed impressive, but the fringe programme is what makes Rampage really stand out, with amusement park rides, body painting and the biggest skate ramp in Europe. Those who choose to camp have really got it made: aside from two extra stages of music, there are three swimming pools, a barbecue zone and open-air cinema. You will never want to leave. 30 June to 2 July, Kristalpark, Balendijk, Lommel (Limburg)


The 59th edition of the Festival Musical de Namur whisks audiences away on a journey of musical reflection under the umbrella of the Utopia-themed  Festivals of Wallonia. It debuts with musical director Leonardo Garcia Alarcon conducting Cappella Mediterranea and the Namur Chamber Choir in the Baroque opera La suite d’Armide ou La Jérusalem Delivrée. It continues with a jazz manouche homage to Django Reinhardt, female voices Les Dames de Ferrare, English Glories of the 16th Sixteenth Century with the Tenebrae choir (pictured) and concludes following other musical treasures with Jacques Offenbach’s Le 66. 30 June to 16 July, Namur Concert Hall (Rue Rogier) & Eglise Saint-Loup (Rue du Collège), Namur

Photos:  Musiq3 Bruxelles Madame Vitesse ©Tijl Wellens ; Bruxelles fait son cinema ©Gabriel Verheylewegen; Draw for Change ©Amany Al AliMidis Minimes ©Eduard Uslee & Amaury Viduvier; Dansand © Hannu Laakso ; Gaasbeek © toneelhuis, Charlie De Keersmaecker ; TTO ©Lou Verschueren; Namur festival Tenebrae, csim Canetty Clarke

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