Contrair is dead, long live Contrair Open Air!

Pictures by Stijn Vanderdeelen


It’s been out there for a while now: the fine folks behind Antwerp’s infamous Contrair and Kleinhouse are blending things together to create Contrair Open Air on Saturday, June 23. With the sole mission to create good vibes, and a well prospected location, Belgium can add yet another grade-A open air event to its long list. To get a little more insight on what you may expect, we met up with Yves Massignani (yes, the Hushest of Hefners aka Hush Hefner) for a quick talk between busy schedules. Needless to say, we were also very curious which artists will be added to its already great bill. Scroll all the way down if you can’t handle the suspense! 

Seems like you just can’t keep still? Tell us more about Contrair Open Air! (Don’t you love how that rhymes?)

"Sitting still has never been my strongest suit, especially when it comes to throwing parties. Contrair Open Air will be held for the first time this summer, at Noordkasteel, Antwerp. After 5 months of pop-up fun indoors, we decided to move the party outdoors."

Why that location?

"Because we love that green oasis in the harbor of Antwerp. And thanks to Kleinhouse Open Air (RIP) we know the site pretty well, which smoothens the preparations. Also: it’s very hard to find a green site in or around Antwerp where you can organise an event like this."

What gave you the idea to try and take the concept that started indoor outdoor?

"Because Open Air rhymes with Contrair! Just kidding, of course. A few months ago, the team that was behind Kleinhouse and Kleinhouse Open Air decided to call it a day. Thomas and myself started with Contrair after working together on Kleinhouse, and we’ve always enjoyed organizing an open air event. Since Contrair had a good run in 2017, we decided to give it a go."

What - besides the obvious surroundings - will be different?

"Instead of 1 stage, we’ll now have 3: one focused on house and disco, one hosted by Hush Hush, and one stage where we’ll give young and upcoming DJs the chance to showcase their talent. The production and deco will also be adapted to the surroundings but other than that the recipe remains the same as indoors: bringing people together who are looking for an afternoon/night of dancing and having a good time."

Sounds promising, without even hearing the lineup! How about that lineup, by the way? What’s on the menu?

"I’m more than happy to share that the following individuals will be hitting the decks: Job Jobse, Joy Orbison b2b Jon K, Titia, Vic Crezée, Lefto, Faisal, Shanti Celeste, AliA, Bafana, Thang, Konna, Red D, Jaël, Blackout Boy and Jean Le Rouge. And, since I’m already there, you’ll find me playing some tunes as well!"

‘Mini-festivals’ are a hot topic in Belgium. You see them pop up everywhere across our tiny country. How will you guys try to stand out?

"By making sure everybody is at ease, so they can have a good time. And, next to our top notch lineup, some very nice art installations which will be spread all over the site, a fine selection of food trucks will be rolling down, and last but not least: an early afternoon How I Work session with panel discussions by experts in environment/sustainability, nightlife/festivals and art."

Any future plans with Contrair?

"We’re scouting for a new location at the moment, but it’s hard to put a timeline on that. You will see us popping up this fall with some club nights in various venues, more news on that very soon."

If there’s one track our readers just must have heard from anyone on the bill, which would it be?

"My all time favorite Joy Orbison track: Hyph Mngo"

How’s your personal summer looking this year? A lot of Hush Hefner gigs?

"Very happy with the confirmations I’ve gotten so far, but, unfortunately, I can’t share them yet. It doesn’t look like I'm gonna have a lot of weekends off this summer, which is really great!"

Join Contrair Open Air on Saturday, June 23, at Noordkasteel, Antwerp. Keep an eye on the Facebook event page for updates, and head over to the website for more info and tickets.

Full lineup: Job Jobse, Joy Orbison b2b Jon K, Titia, Vic Crezée, Lefto, Faisal, Shanti Celeste, AliA, Bafana, Thang, Konna, Red D, Jaël, Blackout Boy, Hush Hefner and Jean Le Rouge.