Discover Benelux | Entertainment | Best Festivals in Belgium and Luxembourg
Ready to rumble TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK | PHOTOS: SJOCK
With the highest amount of music festivals per capita worldwide and a renowned reputation for beer, few will need another reason to travel to Belgium this summer. For those who do, there is Sjock festival. Celebrating its 41st birthday this year, Sjock is the oldest alternative festival in Belgium. “Sjock is rock ‘n’ roll in its broadest sense and for many the rock ’n’ roll highlight of the year,” enthuses organiser Hans Kersemans. “We serve punk, garage, rockabilly, country, and anything in between.” Flogging Molly, The Mavericks, Radio Birdman, Pokey LaFarge and Danko Jones are among the acts in a line-up of 40 bands expected to draw an attendance to match last year’s 10,000-strong crowd. Since last year, Sjock counts three stages: in addition to the Mainstage and the Titty Twister Tent (a Quentin Tarantino reference), a Newcomers Stage was set up to allow new bands a chance to show themselves to the public.
Currently located in the rural surroundings of Antwerp, the Gierle-based festival started off in the back garden of the local priest. “We still count as much on volunteers as we did back then,” says Kersemans, pointing out the 400 volunteers involved in Sjock. Besides the stages, Sjock hosts a campsite where people can rest from the rumbling for under a tenner per night, and a rock ‘n’ roll market area.
As diverse as its music is Sjock’s crowd. “Last year we welcomed music lovers of 24 nationalities and all ages. Tattooed or tattoo-less, rockabillies, psychobillies, hillbillies – Sjock unites everyone with a love for rock ‘n’ roll!” Sjock Festival takes place on 8, 9, 10 July in Gierle. www.sjock.com
Big names and local talents at free festival in Genk TEXT: KOEN GUIKING | PHOTOS: CITY OF GENK
Never before have so many illustrious, international acts been booked for Genk on Stage. Anastacia, De La Soul and KRS-One are just some of the headliners of this free festival in Genk on 24, 25 and 26 June. Many up and coming talents and famous Belgian and Dutch artists will also take to the stage. As in previous years, the 16th edition of Genk on Stage has a very varied line up. Performances by veteran rock groups such as Levellers from Britain and Zornik from Belgium will be alternated with shows of successful contestants of the TV show The Voice of Flanders and electronic dance music by Arbeid Adelt! and DAAN. “We always try to cater for a very broad audience,” says Tanith Van Damme, PR officer for the City of Genk. Every evening there is music on six stages simultaneously. Admirers of subdued rock and indie pop are likely to regularly head for the Fruit Stage, whereas lovers of urban music 44 | Issue 30 | June 2016
will undoubtedly pay many visits to the park to see performances from hip hop legend KRSOne, Dutch urban music sensations Typhoon and Ronnie Flex and Genk’s local rapper Fonzy Fons. All over the inner city local hospitality businesses will ensure that festivalgoers do not have to go hungry and thirsty. “So whether you come to enjoy the great music or wonderful festival ambiance, Genk on Stage is there for everyone,” Tanith concludes. www.genkonstage.be
Above: Genk on stage from an artist’s perspective. This picture was taken by the popular Belgian singer Milow.
Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.