The guide to a Summer of festivals

By Charlotte Deprez Published 01/07/2019

Summer music festivals in Belgium are huge. If you’re not aware of that yet, you’ll figure it out soon enough. It’s actually pretty simple: there’s at least one major music festival each weekend of July and August. Here’s the ultimate timeline of festivals you don’t wanna miss this Summer!

Our timeline of the best festivals in Belgium

  1. Couleur Café
  2. Rock Werchter
  3. Les Ardentes
  4. Dour Festival
  5. Francofolies de Spa
  6. Tomorrowland
  7. Esperanzah!
  8. Ronquières Festival
  9. Wecandance
  10. Brussels Summer Festival
  11. Pukkelpop
  12. Voodoo Village

1. Couleur Café

Dates: from Friday June 28 to Sunday June 30 

Music style: urban, african

Location: Brussels

Main acts: Sean Paul, Xavier Rudd, The Cat Empire, Groundation, Lauryn Hill, Craig David, Xavier Rudd, Protoje,…

Tickets prices: 1-day pass for 42€, 3-day pass for 85€

Number of stages: 7

Website: couleurcafe.be

About: In the past 30 years, Couleur Café has been opening the festival season in Belgium. What began as a predominantly African-style festival with 5000 visitors evolved into a must of the Belgian Summer with more than 70.000 festival-goers. Couleur Café’s ingredients?  A burst of colours, world music, an exotic market and food trucks, but also a very strong focus on Belgian artists. 

Should I go? If you define yourself as a citizen of the world, in love with discovering other cultures and music styles, you’ll be at home here! Couleur Café will bring you on a music and food world tour.

2. Rock Werchter 

Dates: from Thursday June 27 to Sunday June 30

Music style: Rock

Location: Werchter

Main acts: P!nk, Bastille, Elbow, Angèle, Paul Kalkbrenner, Charlotte Gainsbourg, The Cure, Mumford & Sons, Florence + The Machine, Muse, Beirut, Angèle,… 

Tickets prices: 1-day pass for 105€, 4-day pass for 243€

Number of stages: 4

Website: rockwerchter.be

About: If you haven’t heard about Rock Werchter, then there’s really nothing we can do for you, sorry. More seriously, Rock Werchter has been around since the seventies (true story) and was initially presented as à rock & blues festival. It is one of the biggest music festivals in Belgium, with around 340.000 festival goers each year, but is also huge on an international level and has won 6 times the Arthur Award, a trophy that rewards the best world festival, since the years 2000. 

Should I go? If you’re a fan of good rock music and want to see the most prominent artists of the planet as well as the up and coming rock prodigies, GO BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW. Rock Werchter really is the “crème de la crème” of rock festivals on earth, and it’s in Belgium. Boo-yah.

3. Les Ardentes  

Dates: from Thursday July 4 to Sunday July 7 

Music style: urban, rap, hip hop

Location: Liège

Main acts: Black Eyed Peas, Booba, Juice Wrld, Kodak Black, Lomepal, Nekfeu, Roméo Elvis, Young Thug, Aya Nakamura, Petit Biscuit, …

Tickets prices: 1-day pass for 62,50€, 3-day pass for 132,5€

Number of stages: 3

Website: lesardentes.be 

About: Les Ardentes’ first edition took place in 2006 with a solid electro-rock line up. In the past years though, the festival started to turn to more urban music styles to meet the demand of the belgian festival goers. With the rise of the urban music popularity, the rock stage already occupied by Werchter, the electro scene brilliantly represented at Tomorrowland and the french music going strong at the Francofolies 

Should I go? If you know every song of the Black Eyed Pes and listen to Nekfeu in repeat, if you like to sit on the grass with a fresh beer in your hand to discover new sounds, if you like low-key in the afternoon but an electric atmosphere in the evening, then you’ll find your crowd at Les Ardentes.

4. Dour Festival

Dates: from Wednesday 10 to Sunday 14 July

Music style: electro, alternative, 

Location: Dour

Main acts: A$AP Rocky, Action Bronson, Cypress Hill, Damso, Disclosure, Orelsan, Parov Stelar, Roméo Elvis Skepta Vald Vince Staples, …

Tickets prices: 1-day pass for 75€, 5-day pass for 170€

Number of stages: 7

Website: dourfestival.eu 

About: Dour saw the light of day because a local group of young people wanted to save the Terril de la Machine à Feu to preserve the natural area around it. That was in 1988 and, since then, Dour evolved in the most underground cool festival of Belgium. They however kept their strong environmental awareness and are implementing new ecological initiatives every edition, to limit the environmental impact of the festival. Oh and they have a killer line-up every year as well.

Should I go? If you’re — sort of — young and like to party like an animal while drinking beers and watching the coolest alternative bands perform, go ahead!

5. Francofolies de Spa

Dates: from Thursday July 18 to Sunday July 21 

Music style: French music

Location: Spa

Main acts: Angèle, Alice on the Roof, Behind the Pines, Kid Noize, Therapie Taxi, Circus Cafe, Feu ! Chatterton, Zaz, Hyphen Hyphen, Orelsan,…

Tickets prices: 1-day pass for 53,50€, 4-day pass for 133,50€

Number of stages: 5

Website: francofolies.be 

About: The Francofolies de Spa were born in 1994 with a strong accent put on French and Belgian artists and french music. Famous artists like Johnny Hallyday, Salvatore Adamo, Vanessa Paradis, Martin Solveig, Stromae, Hooverphonic or Machiavel gave concerts here in the past 25 years. During three days, the whole city of Spa (yes, that’s where your “spa” treatment’s name comes from) basically turns into a big open air stage, with secondary stages popping at every corner and up and coming talents taking their chance.

Should I go? Let’s be clear right away: if you’re looking for fellow party harders, you won’t find them here. The Francofolies have more of a beer-hot-dogs-and-family vibe going on, at least in the afternoons. In the evenings though, you can expect your dose of party and fun.

6. Tomorrowland

Dates: two weekends from Friday July 19 to Sunday July 28

Music style: Electro, house 

Location: Boom (yes, it’s an actual village in Belgium)

Main acts: The Chainsmokers, Martin Garrix, Modestep, Tale of Us, Netsky, Young Thug, Lost Frequencies, Charlotte De Witte, Flux Pavilion, Robin Schulz…

Tickets prices: 1-day pass for 105,50€, 3-day pass for 249€ 

Number of stages: We stopped counting a few years ago

Website: tomorrowland.com 

About: Tomorrowland’s first edition took place in 2005 with about 10.000 visitors and already a few big acts like Armin Van Buuren and Justice. Tomorrowland’s big breakthrough happened on their fourth edition, in 2008, where more than 50.000 people from all over the world gathered in Boom to step outside reality for a day or a weekend. Last year, the event took place over two weekends and about 400.000 festival goers got their holy ticket. 

Should I go? If you loved Disneyland as a child but need something stronger now, this is it. Tomorrowland isn’t a festival, it’s a state of mind in which love replaces fear. If you want to experience a real communion with tens of thousands of people from all over the globe, you have to find a way to get a ticket. Oh and, the music’s not bad either. 

7. Esperanzah! 

Dates: from Friday August 2 to Sunday August 4 

Music style: World Music

Location: Floreffe

Main acts: Michael Kiwanuka, L.E.J., Ibeyi, Fakear, Caravan Palace, Polo & Pan,  

Tickets prices: 1-day pass for 39€, 3-day pass for 79€

Number of stages: 3

Website: esperanzah.be 

About: Esperanzah! is a world music festival that offers, since 2002, a varied program of well-known and up and coming artists. Esperanzah! differentiates from other festivals in two ways: the philosophy of tolerance and respect it wishes to convey, but also the fact that it’s an arts festival at large, offering music as well as cinema and street art performances during the whole duration of the festival. 

Should I go? If you’re a chill and open-minded person who loves arts in general, then yes, this festival was made for you. If you have kids, it’s also a good option as it’s a family event.

8. Ronquières Festival 

Dates: from Saturday August 3 to Sunday August 4 

Location: Ronquières

Main acts: Bigflo & Oli, Lomepal, Eddy de Pretto, Zazie, Coeur de Pirate, Eagle Eye Cherry, Clara Luciani, Typh Barrow, Juicy …

Tickets prices: 1-day pass for 46€, 3-day pass for 76

Number of stages: 2

Website: ronquieresfestival.be 

About: After seven editions, almost all sold out, Ronquières is acquiring the very coveted status of must attend in Belgium. The line-up gives plenty of space to diversity, national and international artists. What makes the festival different from the others is its location: next to the huge Plan Incliné tower and the barges passing by on the nearby canal.

Should I go? Of course, duh. More seriously, this is the best festival to start with if your mind isn’t made up yet. You’ll find a lot of different music styles and artists from Belgium and abroad.

9. Wecandance

Dates: from Friday August 9 to Sunday August 11

Music style: Electro

Location: Zeebrugge

Main acts: Birds of Mind, Charlotte, Adigéry, Claire Laffut, Damian Lazarus, Peggy Gou, Tessa Dixson,…

Tickets prices: 1-day pass from 26€ to 59€, 3-day pass for 106€

Number of stages: 5

Website: wecandance.be 

About: Wecandance is one of the youngest festivals in Belgium — the first edition took place in 2013 —, but grew very quickly into a must for party and fashion lovers. Why fashion? Because each edition has a theme that everyone should follow when picking their clothes for the event! A non neglectable aspect of the festival is that it takes place on the beach, giving it a very exotic touch. 

Should I go? If you like playing dress up and being in the know for the latest trends while listening to music, then yes. Wecandance is definitely more of a big themed fashion party, but that’s what makes it unique.

10. Brussels Summer Festival 

Dates: from Tuesday August 14 to Saturday August 18

Music style: rock, jazz, hip hop, … 

Location: Brussels

Main acts: Christine and the Queens, Eiffel, Tove Lo, Caballero & Jean Jeanjass, Grand Blanc, Stuck in the Sound, Booba, Lost Frequencies, Kyo,… 

Tickets prices: 1-day pass for 35€, 5-day pass for 75€

Number of stages: 1

Website: bsf.be 

About: The BSF takes place in the very heart of the capital city since 2002. The idea has always been to program quality artists at a very democratic price, and promote the Belgian artists. What makes it unique is the fact that it takes place in the beautiful historic ceter of Brussels, in the middle of our most famous monuments and landmarks. The BSF offers a very diverse program with artists going from rock to jazz and hip hop. 

Should I go? If you’re an afterwork person that loves to go out during weekdays, this is your perfect alternative to Place du Lux or the Châtelain market. Oh yes, with a slight difference: you’ll be sipping your beer in the sun while listening to top quality live music. 

11. Pukkelpop

Dates: from Thursday August 15 to Sunday August 18

Music style: pop rock

Location: Hasselt

Main acts: The National, Billie Eilish, Post Malone, Tame Impala, Twenty One Pilots, Eels, Franz Ferdinand,…

Tickets prices: 1-day pass for 100€, 4-day pass for 205€

Number of stages: 8

Website: pukkelpop.be

About: Every year since 1985, Pukkelpop festival wakes the small belgian city of Hasselt for four days. It started as a small alternative event, with quite a lot of metal bands and underground artists. Since then, the festival evolved and kept its alternative spirit but added way more music styles like rock, pop or even house. Street theater, sustainability and world food are also important at Pukkelpop, making it a very comprehensive event. 

Should I go? If you like the comfort of well-known bands but also the thrill of discovering the next big musical thing — to brag next year like “oh yeah I saw them on a tiny stage at 2 PM when nobody knew them yet, they’re okay” — then you can just go buy your tickets right now.

12. Voodoo Village 

Dates: September 22 

Music style: Electronic

Location: Grimbergen

Main acts: Adriatique, Andhim, Kevin de Vries and more to come very soon

Tickets prices: 1-day pass for 31€

Number of stages: 1 (we think)

Website: voodoovillage.be

About: This young festival took place for the first time in 2016 and closes the festival season every year since then. It’s located in the countryside, at a 20-minute drive from Brussels, in the area of the Grimbergen Castle. The atmosphere here is a bit hip and gypsy-chic with a thing for dressing up, like at Wecandance. 

Should I go? If you’re clinging to Summer and are not completely ready to say goodbye to the festival season, this is the perfect cure. 

About the author Hello there! I’m Charlotte, a 20-something based in beautiful Brussels and passionate about traveling, food and photography. Follow me on www.thetinynomad.com.

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