What's on: Ringing out the old this weekend


Both fire and fireworks figure heavily this weekend, as Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent and the Flemish coast get their end-of-year grooves on

New Year’s Eve

Every burg and city in Belgium has something to offer you on New Year’s Eve, whether it’s the local pub pouring champagne at midnight or a massive fireworks display. The capital has much on, natch, starting with the FCKNYE Festival at Paleis 12, with 40 DJs spread over six stages. The Hard Rock Cafe has a special menu and DJ party, while Viage celebrates with a Great Gatsby themed party. Don’t forget the fireworks display at the Atomium at midnight.

Antwerp’s fireworks explode over the river, while Ghent’s take place at Portus Ganda. Should you be spending the holiday at the coast, don’t miss Oostduinkerke’s Sylvestervuur on 30 January, which sees local fishermen serving shrimp stew, fireworks at 18.00 and a great bonfire on the beach, courtesy of residents’ Christmas trees. 31 January, across Brussels and Flanders


Antwerp’s uniquely cool winter festival is nomadic, bringing residents and visitors into a different part of the city every year. This year it’s at Spoor Oost in the Borgerhout district, the former rail depot turned industrial event site. Wintervuur is like a summer festival packed with performances and concerts – just in the winter. It’s about bundling up, grabbing a mulled wine and wandering about, checking out circus acts and fire installations, ducking into The Barn for a free concert (and heated seating!) or partying New Year’s Eve away at the Winterbal. There are also theatre productions and concerts that require tickets, and you can democratically search events by price on the festival’s excellent website. 28 December to 6 January, Noordersingel, Borgerhout


Flanders’ penchant for music festivals is creeping into the winter months, and this one in Ghent is certainly worth a visit over the coming days. With “chilling music”, “steamy drinks” and “food on fire”, event centre Zebrastraat has certainly gotten into the spirit of things with this pop-up winter forest featuring some of Flanders’ greatest musicians. Some of them – Gabriel Rios, Joost Zweegers – are, alas, already sold out, but most of them are not. Tom Van Laere has left his Admiral Freebee band behind for an intimate solo show, while School is Cool unpack the catchy pop numbers from their much-lauded new CD. Also on the bill: Tout Va Bien, Delv!s, Compact Disk Dummies and the beautiful orchestral sounds of Isolde. 27 December to 7 January, Zebrastraat 32, Ghent