Discover Belgium’s Most Iconic Festivals: Music, Food & Culture

Belgian festivals showcase the country’s rich culture, love of music and delicious food and drink. There’s something for everyone, from Tomorrowland and Rock Werchter to Gentse Feesten and Aalst Carnival. 

Belgium’s festivals are known for their picturesque settings, unique atmosphere, and the diverse range of talent they attract from around the world. These events offer unforgettable experiences regardless of whether you like electronic dance music, rock, global music, or have just come for the local Belgian experience.


Tomorrowland 2014
Tomorrowland 2014 – Image courtesy of Wikimedia

You have probably heard of Tomorrowland. It is one of the world’s largest and most famous electronic dance music festivals. It is held each year in the Belgian town of Boom.

Armin van Buuren, David Guetta, Martin Garrix, and Tisto are just a few of the famous DJs and electronic music producers who perform at Tomorrowland.

The festival is well known for its lavish stage designs, each with a unique theme. On top of that, they only use the best in terms of production with cutting-edge sound systems, pyrotechnics, and breathtaking visual effects.

But Tomorrowland is more than just the usual festival, it also features insane numbers of visitors who flock to experience the things that this festival uniquely offers:

  • DreamVille: A camping area with a range of accommodation options (basic tents to luxurious glamping experiences), as well as amenities like food courts, showers, and chill-out zones.
  • Global Journey: Packages providing fans with an all-inclusive travel experience (transport, accommodation, and tickets)
  • The Gathering: This pre-festival party takes place on the Thursday before the main event in DreamVille

There are jumbo jets specifically chartered to get people to this event, that is how crazy it is.

Rock Werchter

Rock Werchter
Rock Werchter

Rock Werchter’s great lineup of international and local performers includes a wide range of genres, including rock, pop, indie, and electronic music. Radiohead, Coldplay, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Pearl Jam have all performed as headliners in the past.

Numerous stages: There are a number of stages during the festival, including the Main Stage, The Barn, KluB C, and Slope, each of which showcases a different artist and offers spectators a unique musical experience.


Pukkelpop 2007 - Cansei de Ser Sexy
Pukkelpop 2007 – Cansei de Ser Sexy (Image via Wikimedia)

Every year, Kiewit, Belgium hosts the well-known multi-genre music event Pukkelpop. W ell-known for its diverse lineup and upbeat vibe, provides it offers spectators a range of stages such as the Main Stage, Dance Hall and Boiler Room to rock to their favorite band.

Gentse Feesten

Gentse Feesten
Gentse Feesten – Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Gentse Feesten, also known as the Ghent Festival, is a huge 10-day cultural and music festival in Ghent, held during the height of summer. Free entertainment, lively atmosphere, and local culture are some of the overwhelming selection of highlights. Gentse Feesten is also known for showcasing local and international jazz, rock, pop, electronic, and world musicians.

There is also a range of free street theatre in the city such as mimes, acrobatics, and other street entertainment. There is also a puppet buskers festival held during the event as well as performances of dance and drama in de Vooruit.

This is not your typical festival by any means, so if you are in Ghent at the right time, it might just be the highlight of your trip.

Graspop Metal Meeting

Graspop Metal Meeting 2008 – Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Belgian heavy metal and hard rock festival Graspop Metal Meeting is held yearly in Dessel. Its intense atmosphere, strong lineup, and metal community celebration make the festival extremely popular. It also features a huge range of metal music making it quite unique. Sub-genres such as death metal, black metal, thrash metal, and classic rock can be seen there every year.

Couleur Café

Couleur Cafe
Couleur Cafe – image via Peter Forret on Flickr

Brussels’ dynamic world music and urban event Couleur Café is hosted yearly. The festival delivers a distinctive and experience with a unqiue mixture of music, food, and cultural activities.

The music on show during this festival ranges from international reggae, hip-hop, and soul to funk, electronic, and world music. There is also a food village with a great selection of international cuisine, art installations throughout the festival and lots of workshops and activities to keep people busy!

Brussels Summer Festival

Brussels Summer Festival
Brussels Summer Festival – Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Brussels Summer Festival is a 10-day music and cultural festival in the heart of Brussels each year. The event offers a fun experience with innumerable music genres, street performances, and art installations. One of the highlights of this festival is the venues it takes place in, right in the middle of Brussels. Places such as  The Royal Park, Mont des Arts, and Place des Palais.

Dour Festival

Dour Festival
Dour Festival – Image courtesy of Kmeron on Flickr

Belgium’s five-day Dour Festival features alternative music from a big range of genres such as electronic, rock, hip-hop, and reggae. There is quite a laid-back vibe at the festival as well as great camping options that range from basic to luxury, all with food courts and showers thrown in.

Fire is Gold (Formerly: Laundry Day)

Laundry Day started out as a small festival in the Antwerp shopping district and grew into a fully-fledged one-day electronic music festival each year. It has now evolved into Fire is Gold and offers a mix of music, fashion, sports and talks. You will have to join them to find out what such a mixture looks like because I have no idea!

Cactus Festival

The Cactus Festival is an eclectic music event in the stunning Minnewaterpark, in the heart of Bruges. It features an eclectic mix of international and Belgian artists from a range of genres, and its claim to fame is a more intimate setting than your usual “masses” music festival.

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