What’s on: Antwerp flies the rainbow flag this weekend

Summary

Flanders’ biggest pride party by far, Antwerp Pride has the support of the whole city. Elsewhere, two legendary music festivals take the stage, and the glorious Flowertime hits Brussels’ city hall

Antwerp Pride

Pride events in Flanders are few and far between, but this one makes up for it – and how. A humongous affair, Antwerp’s annual event runs for days, attracts people from abroad and sees more than 100,000 people taking to the streets, clubs and art houses for a celebration of queer culture at its best.

Check out the Midsummer Party at beloved gay cafe Den Draak, the massive parade (with new route this year), the Love United Festival (also at a new location), the Antwerp Queer Arts Festival, the Wood Pop music dance party or the Pride Games. The 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, meanwhile, is the inspiration for Human Rights Friday, and every queer or queer-friendly bar in town is hosting something or other. Fetish Social or A Hard Night, anyone? Until 11 August, across Antwerp

Pukkelpop


Pukkelpop has evolved from an alternative rock festival par excellence to one combining cutting-edge artists – both newcomers and established names – from hugely diverse genres. Noisy rock, rhythmic dubstep, raucous funk – and everything in between, across eight stages. This means a lot of headliners, which this year include new star of soul Anderson .Paak (pictured), rap frontrunner Post Malone and brooding indie rockers The National. As always, Pukkelpop provides a platform for up-and-coming Flemish artists. 15-18 August, Kiewit festival site, Hasselt

Jazz Middelheim


Antwerp’s summer jazz music festival celebrates 50 years with  a stellar line-up that includes Stuff., Charles Lloyd, Enrico Rava, the Louis Cole Big Band and a tribute to the late, great Toots Thielemans. Lounge chairs and food & drink available. Live it up a little with a VIP ticket, which gets you unlimited drinks. 15-18 August, Park Den Brandt, Eglantierlaan & Beukenlaan

Flowertime


As Brussels’ famous flower carpet takes place every other year, the lovely Flowertime fills the floral gap in between. An explosion of colours and scents take over the City Hall in the Grand Place, with florists having been given carte blanche to decorate its historical rooms from top to bottom. More than 100,000 flowers decorate the halls, dangle from the ceilings and creep over doorways. Fantastical installations provide a fairy-tale atmosphere as you wander from room to room. There’s no better way to experience this 15th-century Gothic masterpiece of architecture. 14-18 August, City Hall, Grote Markt

Guided Tours for Internationals


The tourist board of Flemish Brabant continues its campaign to get internationals crossing the Brussels border to discover its rich rewards with guided tours in English. The next one is a visit and tasting at the gorgeous Haksberg castle vineyard, just outside Leuven. Tours continue into next year, with a brewery, Tervuren Park and the Sonian Forest all on the agenda.

Summertime


While it’s harder to get people through the doors of gallery shows and museum exhibitions during the summer months, it’s actually the perfect time to visit the Lieve Lambrecht gallery in the countryside northwest of Ghent. It sports a sculpture garden that is as big a draw as anything going on inside. But going on inside right now is the intriguingly titled Summertime, a selection of works by Flemish artist Bert Prins, who transforms existing images into their pop culture alter egos. Until 25 August, Oostergemstraat 18, Merendree (Nevele)

Photos: Antwerp Pride courtesy event; Pukkelpop courtesy event; Jazz Middelheim courtesy event; Flowertime ©Wim Vanmaele; Guided Tours ©Lander Loeckx/Zaken Toerisme Vlaams Brabant; Summertime courtesy venue