Brussels Jazz Weekend sticks to festival weekend at the end of May for a special
#news   18 March 2021
Brussels Jazz Weekend sticks to festival weekend at the end of May for a special "Balcony Edition"
Brussels Jazz Weekend, the free city festival that attracts some 300,000 music lovers to Belgium’s capital every year, will take place again this year. Traditionally, the festival is held during the last weekend of May, but last year the organisation was forced to cancel all activities due to COVID19. Although the pandemic has not yet been beaten, they don’t want to repeat last year’s scenario and instead opt to retain their spot on the festival calendar by launching an alternative 'Balcony Edition' on 29 and 30 May 2021. By doing so, Brussels Jazz Weekend is once again able to treat the municipalities of the Brussels Capital Region to FREE open-air concerts.

Like most other Belgian festivals, Brussels Jazz Weekend postponed its 2020 edition to 2021. Unfortunately, it appears that this year too, it is not possible yet to organise the festival in its usual format. "But we didn't want to cancel a second time," says Steven Palmaers, festival organiser. "We deliberately did not want to switch to a streaming event. Live music these days is like vitamin D during the winter months. People need to be together. Musicians are groaning under the pandemic, and Brussels tourism has come to a complete standstill. With this Balcony Edition, we want to give some much-needed oxygen to both the tourism and culture sectors.”

For many years, Brussels Jazz Weekend has provided a forum for the entire Belgian jazz scene (artists, concert halls, associations, conservatories, musicians, etc.) and offers jazz, that is often perceived as difficult and not for everyone, in an accessible way to more than 300,000 national and international visitors, who at the same time also discover Brussels. Within the normal setup, the festival’s attendees can enjoy more than 200 free concerts in Brussels' squares, concert halls, renowned jazz clubs, cafés and even in the streets, where marching bands make the whole city buzz.

Balcony Edition

A big festival setup with more than 200 acts is not possible at this point. Yet the organisers, financially backed by the authorities, want to bring music back to the Brussels Capital Region. On Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 May, the festival will organise a semi-acoustic open-air concert every hour from an iconic balcony in a different municipality of the Brussels-Capital Region. This way, the Corona measures at force at the time can be met. Mapped out cycle routes will take the sporty jazz lover from one concert to the next. The festival concludes Sunday at 9 pm, with a concert by the Brussels Jazz Orchestra from the balcony of the Maison du Roi - Broodhuis on the Grand-Place in Brussels. "In 2022, we hope to host another full festival at this location, with an even more ambitious format than before", says Steven. But the organisation also has something extra in store for 2021: "On Saturday 11 December, we are planning our very first Winter Edition. The perfect end to a day of Christmas shopping. More information will follow soon!”

Call for musicians

"We call on all musicians in Brussels to give a mini-concert from their own window or balcony on Saturday 29 May between 9 pm and 10 pm. This way, live music will be heard throughout the whole Brussels Capital Region as a sign of hope for all those who have been struggling over the past months." Musicians that wish to participate can register their concert soon via the website www.brusselsjazzweekend.be, so that the various locations can be mapped out online. Moreover, they will receive a nice gift if they do so well in advance!

Practical information

The Balcony Edition of Brussels Jazz Weekend will take place on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 May 2021, from 12 to 10 pm. The exact locations and line-up will follow.