What’s on: Summer nights of music and lights


Flanders abounds with fun, free activities this week, including Lissewege’s annual Light Festival and a new pop-up bar in Ghent

Lissewege Light Festival

The already cute town of Lissewege cranks up the fairy-tale atmosphere every August for a free light festival that includes both the candlelit natural variety and the bling-bling of twinkly bulbs.

Installations are a combination of professional light artists and the work of locals. Music, fire performers and street theatre complete the picture. A lovely evening out in West Flanders. 16-17 August 21.00-23.30, across Lissewege (Bruges)

Bijloke Zomerbar

Open-air summer bars seem to be a dime-a-dozen in Belgium, but the Bijloke Zomerbar in Ghent stands out for a couple of reasons. First, the food is a cut above, provided as it is by the Stam museum café. Second, there’s a free concert every evening, from Baroque to banjos. Grab a beer, pull up a chair and sit a spell in the Bijloke concert hall’s courtyard garden. Thursday-Sunday until 1 September, De Bijloke, Bijlokekaai 7, Ghent

Book group: The Handmaid’s Tale

Whether you picked up The Handmaid’s Tale in 1985 or only after you saw the Hulu series, you’re welcome at Waterstones for a round-table discussion of the iconic dystopian novel. And a head’s up: Next month Passa Porta will be live-streaming an interview with author Margaret Atwood in London about her new book – a sequel! 18 August 15.00-16.00, Adolphe Maxlaan 71, Brussels

Get tickets now: Odegand

The kick-off to the annual Ghent Festival of Flanders – a mash-up of classical, world and new music – is an animal all of its own. Concerts of international musicians take place all over the city all day long, each lasting just 45 minutes. As visitors make their way from one to another in a programme of their own making, they happen upon free performances in the beautiful city’s streets and squares. It all ends with a major music and theatre spectacle on the canal, complete with fireworks. In previous years, a first-come, first-serve format for filling the venues led to some people not getting in and being disappointed, so this year your chosen route must be booked in advance. Odegand always sells out, so don’t wait too long to book. 14 September from 12.30, across Ghent

Photos: Lissewege ©Matthias Desmet, Odegand ©Christophe Van Der Eecken