Did you know that Flanders is one of Europe’s ultimate festival destinations-with more than 280 festivals, 13,500km² of festival ground and the biggest bands? I had no idea… until I was invited to Belgium by Visit Flanders for Flanders is a Festival. You can follow the hashtag #fiaf12 on Twitter for the latest updates from all the bloggers.
Prior to this trip I had visited Belgium several times but had only ever seen Antwerp. So I was really excited about the prospect of visiting new towns such as Bruges and Ghent. But the main reason for my visit to Belgium was to experience the festival culture of Flanders.
I had heard of all sorts of summer festivals across Europe…Benicassim, Exit, Glastonbury and Roskilde to name just a few. However Belgium had somehow slipped under my radar. That all changed this year, when all my friends started talking about Tomorrowland– a major festival that attracts the world’s top DJs.
But what i didn’t realise is how many festivals Flanders actually has- over 280 of them!
I was to experience Lokerse Feesten 2012, which took place from -3rd-12th August. It is one of the smaller festivals here in Belgium, but still attracts names like The Beach Boys, Suede, Gorillaz Sound System, The Roots and New Order.
Armed with a waterproof poncho and a portable Wi-Fi device, I caught the train from Brussels to the town of Lokeren, where the festival was being held.
This was my cute little room at Hotel La Barakka, where I had a quick disco nap before the festival:
I then met up with Nicky, my allocated ‘festival buddy’ for the evening, and another blogger, David from Viajablog. After dinner at Oud Lokeren, we made the short walk to the festival grounds.
I didn’t know what to expect since I didn’t recognise any of the artists in the line-up, but I was pleasantly surprised. I liked the fact there was such a mix of artists and music styles. And because it was a smaller venue, it had a more friendly, relaxed vibe.
The first act we saw was Selah Sue– she rocked! She’s a young Belgian musician/songwriter with an incredible voice. I hadn’t heard of her before my visit to Lokerse Feesten, but she’s pretty well known in parts of Europe and she played a support appearance for Prince. Anyway I loved her music and I’ve downloaded her album now!
After watching Selah Sue live on stage, we decided to go backstage to chat to the organiser of the festival. We were looking around for somewhere to sit, but all the seating areas were taken except for one at the edge of the room. I asked the people sitting there if we could join them, and as it turned out, they were the relatives of Selah Sue!
Here’s a photo of David and I with Selah Sue and her father:
Selah Sue’s family were so much fun that we ended up chatting to them for ages. But eventually we emerged from backstage to watch Orbital, who were also incredible.
Here’s me rockin’ out to Orbital- an electronic dance music duo from the UK…I think the expression on my face shows how much fun I was having!
And this is Orbital on stage! I loved the visual effects and lighting they used!
I really didn’t want their set to end- I could’ve danced for hours! Lokerse Feesten gave me a taste of the Belgian festival scene…and I liked it! I have my sights set on returning to Belgium for Tomorrowland next year!
I was hosted in Belgium by Tourism Flanders-Brussels, but as always opinions are my own.