European summers are famous for their music festivals. From the classical in Salzburg and Bayreuth to the techno in Sziget there is a festival for everyone. Belgium punches above its weight in this regard with several festivals including the world famous Tomorrowland. The season kicks off in Brussels and spreads out through Flanders and Wallonia some within day trip distance from Morton Place, others a bit further away.
Couleur Café Brussels 29 June through 2 July
Beautifully located under the Atomium, Couleur Café is originally an African music festival begun 29 years ago and has morphed into a World Music festival. It’s Brussels’ biggest music event attracting over 70’000 festival goers. The artist selection is true to its roots with a line-up that includes Malian star Sidiki Diabate but broadens to include Leon Bridges and Gregory Porter, a Dub step stage and dance workshops for Afro Caribbean dances from salsa to afro house. The world food stands are infamous and worth visiting for the flavors alone. This is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the multicultural qualities of Brussels, and still make it home in time to sleep in your own bed at night.
Rock Werchter Leuven, 5 July through 8 July
“Werchter” takes place on the outskirts of Leuven, the pretty student town. One of Belgium’s oldest festivals all the old rock bands have played there from The Ramones and Lou Reed to Oasis. The festival has mushroomed and is a well organized affair while remaining casual. A short ride from Brussels on the train you can grab a day ticket and catch The Chainsmokers, Alt-J or Radiohead and still be home in time to catch up with your housemates!
Tomorrowland, Boom 20-22 July and 27-29 July
A bucket list destination with tickets that sell in the blink of an eye, Tomorrowland is arguably the world’s most famous techno festival. Entire planes are chartered for ticket holders with DJ’s on deck as from take off. Located beside the small town of Boom the festival area is transformed into an Alice in Wonderland type setting with sumptuous decors and a music village called “Dreamville” which includes Michelin star restaurants and a hair salon for perfecting your festival look. We are a long way from Woodstock here. As beautiful as Morton Place is a night at Dreamville is worth staying away for.