What’s on: The AB’s annual music festivals are a highlight of summer


The free Boterhammen and Feeërieen series of concerts are top of the list for Brussels this week, while the wonderful Theater Festival takes over Antwerp’s cultural calendar

Boterhammen & Feeërieen

If it’s August then it must be time for Ancienne Belgique’s two stellar concert series in the pavilion at Warandepark in Brussels. For those whose who prefer to boogie in daylight hours, Boterhammen in het park (Sandwiches in the Park) features a concert by a Flemish band every day at noon. Bring your own sandwich or buy one there – or find a coupon for a free one in De Standaard newspaper.

Feeërieen, meanwhile, happens at the same place but at night and with a line-up of international artists. Don’t think that because these concerts are free that they are less than excellent, this is the AB we’re talking about. See, for instance, one of Flanders’ favourite bands, Het Zesde Metaal, or hip-hop pioneers ’T Hof van Commerce during Boterhammen. Or, say, Flanders’ Colorist Orchestra backing Icelandic indie pop goddess Emiliana Torrini at Feeërieen. 27-31 August, pavilion in Warandepark, Koningsstraat & Paleizenplein

Het Theater Festival

Het Theater Festival, which alternates between Antwerp and Brussels – it’s the former’s turn this year – is often misinterpreted as a “best of” Dutch-language theatre of the past year. But it’s really about innovation and evolution. The jury, made up of theatre critics from Dutch and Flemish newspapers, are looking for trendsetters, for productions they don’t feel like they’ve seen 100 times before. They ultimately choose 15 productions for this annual festival, which is extremely popular as theatre-goers know that every production has a stamp of approval. Next to the jury’s choice are both local and international selections of theatre and dance chosen by festival organisers. Some productions are good for the whole family. 30 August to 9 September, across Antwerp

Get tickets now: Odegand

Not that it needs to be – it sells out every year – but the programme for the opening event of Ghent’s leg of the Festival of Flanders is particularly strong this year. The Gent Festival of Flanders is part of the region-wide series of festivals putting classical, world and new music in the spotlight. It goes on for weeks, but the one-day opening event is still one of the highlights. Odegand sees international musicians and ensembles performing in one of 14 venues across the city centre. One pass gets you into any 45-minute concert of your choice.

Top of the bill are Luciana Jury of Argentina, who will send chills down your spine with just a guitar and her voice, and Austria’s Bartolomey Bittmann, a duo that plays anything but classical music on a violin and a cello. Odegand also features a wealth of free open-air performances, closing with a concert on the canal by Flemish drummer and singer Isolde Lasoen, backed by an orchestra. And finally, fireworks. 15 September 13.30-23.15, across Ghent

Photo courtesy AB