Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of musicis.pl and the entire crew welcome aboard Sounds of Europe. I’m Luca, your Brussels chief music attendant, Belgian since 2011 and Italian to the backbone. Today we will be discovering Bruxelles places aka venues to be for music concerts, gigs and moods while taking a peek at the best annual music festivals in Région de Bruxelles-Capitale. At this time, make sure your drinks (rigorously Lambic beer) are cold and your cornet de frites is fully loaded. We wish you all an enjoyable Brussels music venue trip. Musicis.pl crew, ready for take-off.
First stop: Ancienne Belgique, the AB to its friends. In the historic heart of Brussels, the AB represents the leading three-concert-halls venue for contemporary music in Belgium, hosting a wide range of newest, intimate and passionate international and local acts (Jessie Ware, Bat for Lashes, Snoop Dogg, Angus & Julia Stone, Sarah Ferri, Emeli Sandè, Of Monsters and Men, Fun, The Vaccines, The Tallest Man on Earth, Hot Chip, Grizzly Bear, alt-J, Alabama Shakes, Django Django, Beach House, Poliça). Its motto is: presenting contemporary music, made by people of today and about the world they live in. Does it sound better than carpe diem? Hell yeah!
Walk north about twenty minutes. Second stop: Botanique. Originally built as a scientific and botanical research temple in 1829, today it is one of the most important concert venues in Brussels with an incredible indie-pop-rock agenda of excellent quality throughout the whole year (Hidden Orchestra, A Place to Bury Strangers, Two Door Cinema Club, Grimes, Matt Corby, Local Natives, Bonaparte, Get Well Soon, The Hundred in Hands, Friends, Boy, Kimbra, Lemonade, Dan Deacon, The Crookes). Hosting 220 concerts and 350 artists and bands each year is a tough job. That’s why Botanique has at its disposal 8 suggestive and unique halls including the “guesswhatitwasbefore” Cirque Royal (Lianne La Havas, Michael Kiwanuka, Ed Sheeran, Ben Howard, The Ting Tings, Glen Hansard, Mika, Keane, Steve Vai, Ian Anderson). Nevertheless, Botanique is still one of the coolest jardin in the city.
From a botanical garden to a forest. Third stop: Forest National. Biggest music hall in Brussels with 8000 seats, Forest is one the most beloved arenas by artists, public and tour managers. Since 1970, Forest National is giving a true Belgian moment of glory to an impressive list of music stars of all styles and ages (Alanis Morissette, Kasabian, Jason Mraz, Deep Purple, Seal, Sigur Ròs, Zucchero, Lana Del Rey, LMFAO, George Michael, Norah Jones, Duran Duran, The Smashing Pumpkins, Scorpions). The arena also organizes sports and blablabla events for the public…well, no music no need to talk about it!
Last main stop: Bozar – Palais des Beaux Arts. Centre of cultural and artistic life, Bozar (that’s how you pronounce Beaux Arts) commits itself and its guests to achieve creativity and quality through artistic diversity. Music, cinema, literature, architecture, theatre, dance. All together. What else? This is the Bozar Experience: being seduced by such a truly astonishing artistic mash-up where art and people look in on each other. The Palais contains 4 concert halls: among them the Henry Le Boeuf Hall, one of best concert halls in the world for its acoustic. Not kidding. Seriously, not kidding.
Ladies and gentlemen, now I’d like to direct your attention to the main music festivals in the city.
Brussels Jazz Marathon (May) is an annual rendez-vous for international jazz artists on 4 outdoors stages at the majors squares in town: Grand Place, Sablon, St. Chaterine and Fernand Cocq.
Les Nuits Botanique (May) is probably the most popular music event of the year in Brussels. 11 days of music in 5 venues au coeur de Bruxelles (Botanique) with eclectic up-and-coming trendy line-up (Absynthe Minded, Bombay Bicycle Club, C2C, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Django Django, Friends, Intergalactic Lovers, Laura Gibson, Montevideo, Noa Moon, Oxmo Puccino, Grimes).
Festival Couleur Café (June/July) is a multicultural, multitasty, multirhythm, “multicolour” music festival (Ayo, Ben L’Oncle Soul, Collie Buddz, Erikah Badu, General Elektriks, Gogol Bordello, Public Enemy, Sean Paul, Stephen Marley, The Subs) hosted by the ecovenue Tour & Taxis offering a wide range of gigs and much more.
Brussels Summer Festival (August) celebrates certain summer and precarious sunshine with 10 days of music, 150 international and local artists (Willow, Dr Lektroluv, Iggy & The Stooges, Alborosie, Zion Train) and 4 stages en plein air. Let’s have a music barbecue!
Bozar Electronic Music Festival (September) is a 3-dayforumfor all the electronic arts taking place at Bozar. Daily agenda: plenty of music filled up with photography, visual works and light installations.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Brussels where the local time is always time for good music. No rules and no favouritism. The music scene is very diverse in style, popularity and nationality as much as its audience and its artists. You like it, you share it, you enjoy it. In the end, it’s a huge melting pot of everything…this is Brussels spirit!
On behalf of musicis.pl, I’d like to thank you for joining us on this very first music city trip and we are looking forward to seeing, hearing, reading you onboard (or better on site) again in the near future. Have a nice listening stay.