Our tiny (pun intended) country may pat itself on the back when it comes to festivals. We have award winning organizations, putting effort in their work year after year. That's why we've summed up a bunch of this year's offer to make it easier for you to choose. However, we went to talk to a couple of festival connaisseurs first, to ask them which festival you should definitely visit and what their most memorable festival moment was.
LEFTO (StuBru, Dour)
"A couple of years ago I was watching Theo Parrish on the side-lines of the Worldwide Festival mainstage in Sète, close to Montpellier, France. It was pretty crowded so I decided to move to the technicians on the other side of the stage where it was a lot calmer. However, I had to walk on stage for a while to get there. So far so good, and Theo Parrish played a great set that night. After a while, I decided to return to the backstage area. So - again - I had to walk on stage. As I was walking and about to go down the stairs, the unexpected happened: strobe lights!! Because of the lights, I took a wrong step and tried to hang on to whatever was close. What I didn’t know was that I was grabbing the electricity box where all the main cables were plugged in. The box fell on top of me as I fell backwards and slammed my head to the ground, just 10cm next to a pole designed for keeping up a parasol. To my surprise ,and definitely to the technicians', the power did not go out. The staff really gave me an earful after the incident, because I could have singlehandedly shut down the mainstage. That and the fact that I could have been impaled by an umbrella-foot made it an extremely memorable moment."
Lefto's festival tip:
"Worldwide Festival still remains a very unique festival with without a doubt one of the best dancefloors in the world. A great July tip, to start off your festival season."
PETER DECUYPERE (Holy Trinity Events, I Love Techno)
"I still remember Laurent Garnier’s face when he arrived at I Love Techno, accompanied by police cars at an amazing speed. All the way from the French/Belgian border to the Flanders Expo entrance. "Mais quand-même, Peter (or as he says it: 'Peet-air') des flics qui m’ont accompagné jusqu’ici?? C’est de la folie!" He was coming from a Parisian music award show that was being broadcasted live, so everything had to happen at the speed of light for him to get to Ghent in time for his set. We even considered a helicopter, but we weren’t allowed to fly one over Paris. That’s why we solved the issue with a police escort. He still brings it up sometimes, and every time he does both of us just have these big smiles on our faces. Sweet memories that he, as far as I can remember, even mentions in his book Electrochoc. By the way, a huge thank you and shout out to my I Love Techno partner Kris Verleyen for fixing the police escort in no-time!"
Peet-air's festival tip:
"A festival that strongly I recommend - technically it’s already over but write it in your schedules for next year - is the 'urban' festival Fire Is Gold in Vilvoorde. Amazing festival by the team behind WeCanDance. Another one that I’m looking forward to is Woo Hah! in The Netherlands (Tilburg). Also hip-hop, and very much sold out. I’m also very curious about Fuse’s new XRDS festival, it’s at a unique location and they chose a laid-back way of doing things with tomorrow’s star DJs. And, of course, I’m looking forward to WeCanDance: a beautiful festival with a beautiful face and even more beautiful people."
STUFF. (Gent Jazz, Pukkelpop)
"Vrijlandfestival in Amsterdam was the very first festival we did after the release of our debut album STUFF. There we were, as per usual, the odd one out on the lineup. We were in between a crossover salsa dance band and a rap act. On a second thought, maybe that is exactly where we fit in. A heavy wind rose as soon as we were unloading, and when the changeover began, a flag construction on the terrain was ripped to shreds. We - not knowing about the situation - made a chain of musicians and crew between the bus and stage. All of a sudden we hear “get off the stage!" and “run!”. In no time everyone got off the stage and the metal construction and sail behind us shattered. Security led us to a safer place a little further, and luckily no one got hurt. The festival got cancelled and we returned to Belgium without playing our first festival. It did however get us a nice polaroid from a travelling photographer who dropped his 5 euro fee for a six-pack from backstage. This picture immediately became our first Instagram post."
Curious where STUFF. is playing next? Head over to their Facebook page and hit that follow button.
TLP (StuBru, Pukkelpop)
"In the beginning of my DJ career, I was part of the T'n'D Sound System: a collective with my brother Dors (a member of the legendary Brussels De Puta Madre/RAB hip hop collective). We did our first major festival appearance at Dour Festival. Our booker was a good friend, Manu Baron, who worked for Aeronef in Lille and is currently Brodinski’s manager. We played a raw hip hop meets dancehall set at night, I think we stayed overnight to do some interviews on the next day. I remember doing an interview with 'king of the dancehall' Beenie Man and roots reggae legend Max Romeo. It's quite a distant memory, because it's been a long time ago, but I'll never forget what happened next... I was really looking forward to hearing the two DJ sets by legends Afrika Bambaataa and Arthur Baker, and all of a sudden Manu calls us over, asking if we can stand in for those two because they are being held up somewhere and it's not even sure whether they'll make it to the festival. It was the beginning of the afternoon and everyone was eager to get down. So we dropped a couple huge nineties classics ('Full Clip' By Gangstarr 'Watch Out Now' by The Beatnuts) but when we dropped the Boogie Down Productions/KRS ONE anthem (Sound of Da Police) the place went into a complete frenzy. I think it was the year when IAM and NTM refused to perform on the same stage. And NTM later on got bottled during their performance. You don't witness these kinds of things at every festival but there's always been something special about Dour. When Arthur Baker and Afrika Bambaataa finally arrived, Arthur started sound checking by spinbacking with two copies of Missy Elliott's legendary twelve inch 'Get Your Freak On'. Timbaland’s production, the pressing of that twelve inch and the sound of it playing on a huge sound system, those are moments sound system lovers like me won't forget. What an honour it was to stand in for both Arthur Baker and Afrika Bambaataa. It may not mean a lot to the current - "I thought 'trap' music was hip hop music" - EDM-generation, even though those two laid down the foundation of bass music with one of the most legendary Roland TR 808 tracks ever made: Planet Rock, but It sure meant a lot to me."
TLP's festival tip:
"I would like to promote a new festival called Bomboclat Festival, which is happening in Zeebrugge on July 21. I can only support the fact that 'TEAM DAMP' from Bruges have taken the initiative to start up a new festival with reggae and dancehall music at the seaside. And I feel honored that they invited me to close down the festival on Sunday!"
THANG (Wecandance, Lokerse Feesten)
"I have a couple of stories, actually...
Bestival: Sometimes, you need to go through a lot to get to the festival you need to be at. And never before has on land, at sea and in the air been so applicable as the time Fredo and I had to take over from Horse Meat Disco at Bestival as Villa. Our flight landed in Heathrow, we took the train to Lulworth Estate, took a bus, hopped on a boat, ran to the right stage and arrived, when Jim Stanton goes: “Oh guys, just playing our last track, the booth is yours!" TIMING!
Wecandance, two years ago: warming up for Heidi apparently does something to a guy. Maybe I was overwhelmed by her appearance as she plugged in her USB-stick, maybe it was the interaction with the audience. Anyway, after I stepped off stage, super satisfied with my set, people just came up to me like “What the hell are you doing? You still have 45 minutes to go!”. Oh well, too late, better luck next year!
Wecandance, one year ago: On our way to Zeebruges - thinking about the incident from the year before - I hear my girlfriend asking me “Honey did you bring your music?”. I go through all my pockets, but, nothing. The unthinkable has happened: I left my sticks at home. Luckily, I was sharing a ride with Thomas (WLC) and Lissa (Mona Lee), music lovers to the core, and everyone kept their cool. First, I stopped at the first Mediamarkt on the road and quickly bought a USB-stick. Then I went through Thomas’ laptop, and let Jean Le Rouge download some new tracks. So we arrived, I got on stage, started with Space Odyssey and finished my set like nothing happened!"
Maybe Thang will pull one of these stunts at a festival near you! Want to be sure you don't miss out? Keep an eye on his Facebook page.
FESTIVAL SUMMER 2017
Here's a list we've put together to give you an idea of what's going on in Belgium, your province, city or maybe even around the corner.
LEGACY FESTIVAL (June 17, Mol)
On the bill: Airwave, Franky Jones, CJ Bolland, Bonzai All Stars
45 FEST (June 28, Hasselt)
On the bill: Darrel Cole, Regal, Jewels, J. Køps
ROCK WERCHTER (June 29 - July 2, Werchter)
On the bill: Soulwax, Mura Masa, Vuurwerk, Bonobo
NONAME FESTIVAL (June 29 - July 1, Liège)
On the bill: Christian Löffler, DBridge, Hypoxia, Forward Fever
COULEUR CAFÉ (June 30 - July 2, Brussels)
On the bill: The Roots, Sango, Princess Nokia, Goodfellaz Sound System
SUMMERFESTIVAL (July 1 - 2, Antwerp)
On the bill: Amine Edge, Woodie Smalls, Martin Solveig, Kid Noize
LES ARDENTES (July 6 - 9, Liège)
On the bill: Lil Uzi Vert, Damso, Mac Miller, DJ Snake
FOREST 808 (July 7 - 8, Hechtel-Eksel)
On the bill: Cari Lekebusch, Stephan Bodzin, Klaps, Nakadia
OSTEND BEACH (July 8 - 9, Ostend)
On the bill: Kerri Chandler, Green Velvet, Claude Vonstroke, Yung Nnelg
KLUB DRAMATIK FESTIVAL (July 8, Antwerp)
On the bill: Detroit Swindle, Baba Stiltz, John Noseda, Moomin
XRDS (July 9, Brussels)
On the bill: Robert Hood, DVS1, A.Brehme, Latence
DOUR FESTIVAL (July 12 - 16, Dour)
On the bill: M.I.A., Solange, Nina Kraviz, Amelie Lens
BOOMTOWN (July 18 - 22, Ghent)
On the bill: Dr. Lektroluv, Brihang, Pomrad, K1D
OUTSIDERZ (July 20, Opwijk)
On the bill: Red D, Ramon Tapia, One87, M&T
FLOORFILLER FESTIVAL (July 20 - 23, Bilzen)
On the bill: Joris Voorn, Cashmere, Alan Fitzpatrick, Farrago
TOMORROWLAND (July 21 - 23 & 28 - 30, Boom)
On the bill: Adam Beyer, Carl Cox, Jamie Jones, San Soda
BOMBOCLAT FESTIVAL (July 21 - 23, Zeebrugge)
On the bill: Konshens, Charly Black, TLP, Cromanty Sound
BORGERWOOD FESTIVAL (July 22, Antwerp)
On the bill: Hush Hefner, Konna, Vice City Residents, Thang
SONE FESTIVAL (July 22, Renaix)
On the bill: Skatebård, Evil Needle, Kong, ROM
VOLTAGE FESTIVAL (July 29 - 30, Zwevegem)
On the bill: Extrawelt, Vaal, Kobosil, AMyn
LOKERSE FEESTEN (August 4 - 13, Lokeren)
On the bill: Erol Alkan, AJ Tracey, Coely, Bad Company
ABSOLUTELY FREE FESTIVAL (August 4 - 5, Genk)
On the bill: George Fitzgerald, Pional, San Soda, Jessy Lanza
CIRQUE MAGIQUE (August 4 - 5, Ledegem)
On the bill: Adriatique, Agents Of Time, Stephan Bodzin, Charlotte de Witte
REGGAE GEEL (August 4 - 5, Geel)
On the bill: Jah Cure, Chronixx, Tommy Milfnikka, High Grade Sound
AFTRSUN (August 11 - 12, Aarschot)
On the bill: Dense & Pika, Alex Niggemann, Secret Cinema, Ramon Tapia
WECANDANCE (August 12 - 13, Zeebrugge)
On the bill: DJ Harvey, Stimming, Midland, Jarreau Vandal
SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVAL (August 12, Boussu)
On the bill: Caballero, JeanJass, Pete Howl, Igor Vicente
MOODSTOCK (August 12 - 13, Wijchmaal)
On the bill: Culoe De Song, Solco, Tsepo, Mathias Kaden
PUKKELPOP (August 16 - 19, Hasselt)
On the bill: 2manydjs, Flume, Armand Van Helden, Len Faki
MAANROCK (August 25, Mechelen)
On the bill: Basement Jaxx, Faisal, DVTCH NORRIS, Murdock
MAZE FESTIVAL (August 26, Maaseik)
On the bill: Monika Kruse, Karotte, Tapesh, Bollen & Fichtner
BOOTY RAVE FESTIVAL (September 1 - 2, Kasterlee)
On the bill: Asa Moto, Palmbomen II, Bafana, Blackwave
NATURAL HIGHS FESTIVAL (September 1 - 2, Duffel)
On the bill: Phil Weeks, Hush Hefner, Sue Avenue, Technasia
CRAMMEROCK (September 1 - 2, Stekene)
On the bill: Roméo Elvis, Le Motel, Hoodie Allen
LAUNDRY DAY (September 2, Antwerp)
On the bill: Tom Trago, Paula Temple, Faisal, Fur Coat
DEEP IN THE WOODS (September 8 - 10, Hastière)
On the bill: Témé Tan, SKY H1, Curtis Harding
HORST (September 8 - 9, Holsbeek)
On the bill: Gilles Peterson, Motor City Drum Ensemble, WWWater, Young Marco
MEAKUSMA FESTIVAL (September 8 - 10, Eupen)
On the bill: Baleine 3000, Ben UFO, DJ Stingray, Nosedrip
UZINE FESTIVAL (September 9 - 10, Charleroi)
On the bill: TBA
MEKITBURN FESTIVAL (September 15 - 16, Vilvoorde)
On the bill: TBA
BOZAR ELECTRONIC ARTS FESTIVAL (September 16 - 30, Brussels)
On the bill: Pantha Du Prince , Ben Frost , The Bug VS Earth