What’s on: Festival of Flanders 2019 kicks off in Kortrijk


Set it all on fire, decided the organisers of the Festival of Flanders Kortrijk, which heats things up in the West Flemish city, while Irish music and dance infiltrate Brussels and a performance festival in Ghent takes on colonisalism

Festival of Flanders Kortrijk

The region-wide Festival of Flanders kicks off this weekend in Kortrijk. The celebration of classical and new music – in an immensely wide variety of productions – takes place in all of Flanders’ larger cities, which each hosts its own version of the festival.

Kortrijk is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its festival by setting fire to the city. With fiery music, that is, full of fever, passion and adventure. From its opening show of Spanish Baroque to living room concerts (by the fire) to a big finish with the premier of Saint Anthony’s Fire by the brilliant Antwerp vocal ensemble Graindelavoix, you can just throw a dart anywhere in this programme. You can’t go wrong. 15-24 February, across Kortrijk

Tradfest Belgica

Tradfest is back! After a couple of years’ hiatus, the celebration of traditional Irish music from Ireland and Belgium has returned with a proud, new name: Tradfest Belgica. The locals are clearly grateful: The big closing concert by award-winnings band FourWinds at the Irish College in Leuven is already sold out. But you can still make the Brussels gigs: An Afterwork Ceili during which you will learn Irish dancing from experienced dancers, and an Irish trad jam session – also with dancing – at Scott’s Bar. 21-23 February, Brussels & Leuven

Same Same But Different

While colonisation alters the historical trajectory of a country unalterably, de-colonisation has its own threats and dangers. Thus pulling out of a country is basically Colonialism Strikes Again. From the Congo to Venezuela to Suriname, there were endless places for the Same Same But Different festival to turn to in its exploration of the identities, appropriation and white privilege associated with colonialisation – and its ongoing effect on all countries involved decades later. 20 February to 2 March, across Ghent

Get tickets now: Sting at Gent Jazz

Tickets are going on sale for summer music festivals, and the latest big announcement will require you to snap up a ticket right away: Sting is coming to Gent Jazz. One of the few musicians in the world who requires only one name, the British singer – from his early work with The Police to his solo career and stints in acting – has become a living legend. While Gent Jazz celebrates the titular genre with an ever-broadening scope, Sting has included elements of jazz in his work – along with rock, reggae, classical, world and new-age. Tickets go on sale on 15 February. 8 July, De Bijloke garden, Godshuizenlaan 2, Ghent