Summer in Brussels: this selection of music festivals sounds like music to our ears

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Couleur Café present GATE (c) Sergine Laloux
Too hot? Too cloudy? Too much work? Can’t go on holiday, or just got back?  Why not lose yourself in some live music instead! There’s no quicker route to instant happiness. Whether it’s in the spectacular decor of an old goods yard, with a view of the Atomium or in the cosy courtyard of a former factory: Brussels is serving as the stage for a varied programme of music right until the very last days of summer.
Published at 01/09/2021
By Carmen

Arena5 will allow music lovers to see a whole host of home-grown and international stars doing their thing this summer, right here in Brussels. This brand-new Brussels event location will keep serving up the intense euphoria of live music and unforgettable moments for several weeks to come until 22 September. Arena5’s open-air stage is waiting for you on Place de Belgique-Belgiëplein, with a view of the Atomium and the Art Deco Heysel Palaces. Amelie Lens, Asaf Avidan, Trixie Whitley, Caetano Veloso and Jasper Steverlinck are just some of the names that will be setting the stage alight at this very first edition of Arena5!

arena5 (c) Christophe Dehousse

From 17:00 every Thursday and Friday in August, you can head down to the cosy and sun-drenched courtyard of Vaartkapoen to catch free gigs and performances. Manchester Plage is making the most of some great friendships this year: the savoir-faire of partners Listen!, Couleur Café and Stoemp! is bound to result in a programme brimming with talent for you to enjoy. The line-up includes Belgian reggae, Brussels hip hop, international avant-garde and much more — so why bother getting all tangled up in the coronavirus travel rules?

Manchester Plage © Dieter Hoeven

Boterhammen in het Park (Sandwiches in the Park) by Ancienne Belgique will not be taking place in Brussels Park this summer — instead, it’s moving right to the heart of the city! The old Gare Maritime goods yard at the Tour & Taxis site is welcoming the 31st edition of the event, which has been renamed Boterhammen in de Stad (Sandwiches in the City) for the occasion. You’ll be able to enjoy the tried and tested formula completely free of charge every noon from Monday 23 August until Friday 27 August, so pack a sandwich and let yourself be surprised by the line-up of Dutch-language acts on the stage. There’s no better way to spend a lunch break!

Boterhammen in het Park 2019 (c) Julien Hayard

Boterhammen in de Stad, it was great!

We can’t mention Boterhammen without talking about the annual fairylike festival that is Feeërieën, which takes place on the same days and in the lame location, but during the evenings. The architectural tour de force that is the Gare Maritime is the perfect setting for the musical cabinet of curiosities you’ll find yourself enchanted by. The bold, eclectic line-up is bound to dazzle and move you with Turkish psychedelia, a mix of rousing krautrock, jazz, electronica, the musical spirit of Kurt Weill, otherworldly soprano voices and songwriting at its purest.

Feeërieën in het Park 2019 (c) Julien Hayard

Feeërieën, it was great!

There’s no Couleur Café this year, but GATE is a more than worthy substitute! Brussels’ most famous music festival was unable to go ahead this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Luckily, the organisers have put together the brand-new GATE festival at the end of the summer to fill the hole left behind in our lives. That way, everyone still gets to enjoy the typical Couleur Café atmosphere, albeit on a smaller scale. A perfect new home has been found for the scaled-down event at the Studio CityGate site in Anderlecht. In the last week of August and the first week of September, this is the place to be for a combination of music (from rap and reggae to soul, jazz and funk) and plenty of other entertainment, alongside some mouth-watering food options.

Couleur Café present GATE (c) Sergine Laloux

GATE - final week of August (26-29) and first week of September (2-5).

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Intimate urban festival PLAZEY has changed a lot over the past few years. The event has gone from a modest musical gathering, to a professional festival, complete with a wooden pop-up bar and a stage, an allotment and a chicken coop. This year, every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday in August and September, Café Plazey in Elisabeth Park is once again hosting a mix of activities for the entire family and a surprisingly quirky selection of music, as evidenced by the surrealist prose, music and chaos of Brik Tu-Tok, the musical remedy for a bad day that is Funky Bodding and the Southern- European sounds of Ana Diaz.

Plazey 2021

Café Plazey - every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from 4 August to 29 September

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