One of the largest carnivals in Belgium. You know the drill: cheap entertainment, boxcars and arcade games, eating fat sweet food (like the local ‘smoutebollen’) and being sick afterwards in the spinning attractions. Definitely not the most tasteful event in Antwerp, but a good way to get an idea what the Antwerp Joe Average looks like when he’s having fun.
In a big park on the outskirts of town we have an open-air amphitheatre with a stage surrounded by a fountain. We only use it in summer, and international acts are invited to play. This year artists like Bootsy Collins, Kurt Vile, Jose Gonzalez and Patti Smith will share the stage.
For more than a month, there’s music, movies, stunts and parties all over Antwerp’s hidden corners, like an industrial site in the harbor where everybody watches the sunset from a wooden stage. Usually there’s some pretty impressive street theatre as well and in the first three weeks of August, a big screen is set up near the river and some temporary sand-dunes are spread out under a large hangar. No cinema will ever beat this. But watch out: the ‘Summer’ is so popular that the bigger concerts and acts are sold out in no time. Prices vary, but movies and outdoor concerts are usually free.
Small alternative music festival in the heart of Borgerhout. During the day you can dance and vibe on live music in open air at Spoor Oost. Afterwards it’s night crawling in Trix. With a selection of local and not so local artists on the rise, your feet won’t stand still. The list includes: Acid Arab, Tom Barman, Faisal, Stuff., Sutherland, and more. Full artist list on their website.
For over 30 years people from Antwerp have been getting their yearly dose of jazz at Middelheim park. With its wide range of jazz styles, it’s one of the biggest festivals of its kind in Belgium. This year, artists like Tony Allen, Cinematic Orchestra, Joshua Redman, Van Morrison, etc… shared the two stages. Check back soon for a full lineup.
Linkerwoofer, on the river’s left bank, is a typical Belgian festival with lots of Belgian bands, affordable drinks and a good vibe. A nice view on the Schelde river and the Antwerp skyline completes makes the experience. This years lineup includes: Bent Van Looy, De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig, Pieter Embrechts, Subway City,etc… for a full lineup, check online.
The Antwerp Queer Arts Festival is festival questioning sexual and gender identities.
It does so by combining an artistic, activist and academic stance. And by inviting both local and international artists. Even if you’re not part of the LGBT community, it’s definitely worth your while.
Every year the Antwerp gay community puts on their naughty shoes and come together on the streets for a flamboyant party. Rainbow flags, kissing ladies and men, weird and sexy outfits, it all fits in the concept. No one is judged and everybody is welcome. Don’t be scared to come and take a peak, gay people don’t bite (hard).
Crazy for Dries van Noten and Veronique Branquinho but always short on cash? We know the routine! The stylish but poor might want to know that stock sales are organised twice a year spread over the North of town. In order to create some space in their warehouses, Antwerp’s most famous designers sell their leftover stock at reduced prices: you might walk out fully dressed for the money normally spent on underwear (fashionable underwear, that is).
Expect the world’s best heavy bands, spread over three unique stages drenched in that underground atmosphere. Heavy rock, psycho and doom rendez-vous are all represented here. Bands include KADAVAR, SAINT VITUS, SATAN’S SATYRS, HIDDEN TRAILS,... Beware of the sandstorm!
To really get into the Christmas card mood, swing by the Kerstmarkt of Antwerp. There is loads to see, eat and drink. After your 5th pancake, second German sausage, 4th glue wine and third dose of churros you can go ice skating, to lose all the weight you gained and if you really want to, have a fake snow snowball fight ;). At New Years Eve you can watch the fireworks and kiss your loved ones. Have fun and merry Christmas!