Festival Special: Couleur Café

Pictures by Leen Van Laethem


Ahhh, the season of sweaty tents, warm drinks and befriending weird strangers is upon us. A nightmare to some, but an unmissable yearly tradition for others. If you are one of those people that can’t wait to see all of your favourite artists you have been listening to all year (or new ones you have never heard of), then this article is for you. Every year, Red Bull Elektropedia has a few stages at some of the best summer music festivals our country has to offer. On the menu this year: cutting edge dance music on our massive stage at Dour Festival, cosy club nights at Lokerse Feesten, serious party vibes at Couleur Café and proper raving at Extrema Outdoor. We have asked the same set of questions to all our partner festivals this year, each with the goal of finding out what you should look forward to exactly. May you get yourself ready for yet another festival season for the books!

Couleur Café


Location: Brussels  Date: 29/06, 30/06, 01/07

Red Bull Elektropedia stage name: Red Bull Elektropedia Black Stage

Red Bull Elektropedia stage since: 2017

Capacity: 1000 

Any changes this year for your festival compared to other editions?

"Yes, many actually! We’re going to invest in extra activities and surprises in the park – even more than last year. There will be more distinctive ‘areas’ on the festival site, like a big ‘Namasté zone’ (for relaxation, yoga, wellness), an ‘Afro-Caribbean zone’ (with DJ’s, mojitos, dance workshops and just all-round tropical vibes) and a newly improved ‘Chill zone’ with loads of hammocks and secret bar… Our camping will be bigger too: an increase in capacity from 3000 to 4000 and we’ll have 3 dedicated areas on the campsite this year: the ‘Zen Garden’ ( with a library, hammocks, yoga and tents), ‘El Pueblo’ (with after parties until 4AM, a music stage, custom t-shirts, a grill zone, a separate bar and food truck) and the ‘Peace and Lodge Village’ (with cabins for 4 persons, mobile homes, vans and caravans), which is completely new this year."

…and what about the Red Bull Elektropedia stage? Any changes there?

"Last year, we had 2 DJ acts who invited their own guests. The stage was theirs for 3 straight days and they could do with it whatever they wanted to – it was a direct hit. For this year, we want to walk down the same road, but with 3 Brussels-based hip hop, funk, soul and beat collectives. Each of these will host announced guests, as well as a few surprise DJs or MCs from the Couleur Café lineup. Everything is possible, which is the best recipe for exclusive and intense experiences! As for the stage itself, we’ll make it a bit bigger and redesign the place so that it creates a kind of ‘nightclub feeling’, with a separate entrance gate and, most of all, its own bar."

- Who will be gracing the RBE stage this year? And why?

"On Friday we invite Supafly Collective, on Saturday Frontal and on Sunday Bloomin’ (formerly known as Beatchronic) – 3 DJ and producer collectives with a firm following and a big influence on the Brussels nightlife scene. Their sound is extremely diverse - and we’d like to promote this diversity, which is unique to Brussels."

- What makes the RBE stage stand out at your festival?

"The stage is 100% Couleur Café, reflecting all the young urban vibes of the Belgian capital. It’s a unique zone for people who love their music off the beaten track, who don’t care about big headliners and who prefer their music served raw, pure and ever-surprising. In short, we will create place where our visitors are encouraged to start a party in an intimate, yet clubby party atmosphere."

- How would you describe a perfect day at your festival, from dawn ‘till, well, dawn?

"A perfect Couleur Café day starts with a concert on the Blue Stage, where you discover an exciting African band. Afterwards, you start strolling around, bump into friends you haven’t seen in a while, chill in the hammocks, discover the secret bar and enjoy some surprising works of art, hidden between the trees. Then it’s time for a cocktail in the MamaFoufou bar and a first delicious meal in our Rue du Bien Manger with its 45 restaurants. Now, you’re ready to dance around with your friends and discover the Red Bull Elektropedia Black Stage, where - before you realize it - you spend almost 2 hours dancing to new music and golden classics. By now it’s high time you went to the Main Red stage for your favourite hip hop or reggae artist, after which you enjoy a mind-blowing concert of a great soul artist on the wonderful Green Stage. When you finally head home with one of our free buses, you only have one thought in mind: I’m coming back tomorrow! Or you get back to the campsite where you continue the party until the break of dawn..."

- What were your personal best 5 minutes in the history of Belgian festivals?

"Let’s support our brothers here. Darkside at Pukkelpop or Jay-Z at Rock Werchter were both incredible!"

- Belgium is being praised from every corner of the world for its splendid festival-scene. What gives? Are ‘we’ really that good?

"Yes, we are! We’ve got an exceptionally large offer of festivals, most of them are organized extremely well, with a respectful and festive crowd, very good hospitality and proper food. Every possible music genre has its own festival in Belgium now!"

- Everybody’s thinking it, we’re saying it: the end of social media marketing is near. What are your next steps for promoting your festival outside of the interwebs?

"We see it this way: we invest in a qualitative festival, from the first to the last minute. By creating the perfect experience for every Couleur Café visitor, we make a new regular customer who will be back next year with lots of friends. In this day and age, word of mouth is making a big comeback!"

- How about the Johnny Law: do you have a good relationship with the local authorities? In what way is this essential for conducting a comfortable and carefree edition?

"Good relationships with the local authorities and all the neighbours is absolutely crucial if you want to organize a good festival. We have very positive evaluations by police, park services, the city of Brussels and every possible government institution involved - not an easy task in Brussels."

- Will your current location hold for X more years? Or will you need to expand to maintain the current growth?

"We just moved to this park in the shadow of the Atomium, so for now we plan to stay! Currently, we don’t want to expand the capacity and maintain the it around 60.000 to 65.000 for the weekend."

- How’s your festival agenda looking for this year? (BE and not BE)

"We’ll pay a few visits all over the place: Rock Werchter, Gent Jazz, Lokerse Feesten, Pukkelpop, HORST, Voodoo Village, Feeërieën, Deep in the Woods, etc."

Join us at Couleur Café on  29/06, 30/06, 01/07 in the shadow of the Atomium in Brussels! More info and tickets: click here.