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Where To Find Good Rock Music In Ghent – Top 10 Concert Venues

This is an image of one of Vooruit's concert venues in Ghent

For anyone who likes to go to (rock) concerts or anyone who is playing in a band and is looking for a nice place to play at, this article might be just right for you. These are my 10 favourite concert venues in Gent for a good (rock) concert…

Handelsbeurs

Address: Kouter 29, 9000 Gent

An image of the outside of Handelsbeurs ©Handelsbeurs
The outside of Handelsbeurs ©Handelsbeurs
This is an image of Handelsbeurs in Ghent
The inside of Handelsbeurs ©Handelsbeurs

This place is an immediate eye catcher both on the outside as on the inside. The historical building is the perfect location for a nice music evening or concert. The acoustic sound in the concert hall is superb and when everyone is quiet, you can hear a needle fall on the ground.

Come here for: different kinds of bands and music projects. Jazz, pop, rock, electronic, folk, world music, singer-songwriters, rock ‘n roll, musicals and even classical music.

Other reasons to visit than music: Next door is a nice restaurant (‘Brasserie HA’) where you can have a small snack or dinner before the gig.

Interesting facts/history:

  • In 2002 the whole building Handelsbeurs was restored, renovated and reopened to the public.
  • During Gentse Feesten (10-day street festival in summer) the building is being used for concerts at Boomtown festival. Outside the festival is for free, but if you wanna see something special inside you need to pay extra (5-15 euro).

 

Charlatan

Address: Vlasmarkt 6, 9000 Gent

This is an image of people partyting in Charlatan, a night club Ghent
©Charlatan

Here you can feel and smell the history that has been written by many small and bigger rock bands. It looks like a dark and “brown bar” in the front, but as you walk on, you come into another room where most concerts are taking place.

Both unknown and bigger bands are invited to come and perform. The concert hall is rather small. You can also sit at the bar at the back and enjoy your beer while looking at the concert. After midnight, usually, a (hip) DJ takes over and plays his records (or mp3’s) all night long till the early morning. Then the concert hall turns into a dance floor with a huge disco ball hanging in the middle! There’s also a smaller room at the back for private parties or other DJ’s performing.

Come here for: gigs and partying (disco, 80’s, 90’s, funky, drum ‘n bass, deep house, techno, hip hop,…).

Other reasons to visit than music: to have a beer at the bar in front or sit back and relax,  and just smoke a cigarette on the big terrace at the back

Interesting facts:

  • This place used to be owned by the father of film producer Felix van Groeningen who made Steve & Sky (2004), The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012) and Belgica (2016)… The film ‘Belgica’ is about the Charlatan and its (hi)story in the beginning.
  • It was taken over by two brothers (Gerald & Joris).
  • Each year in the month of May a big music quiz, Pop quiz Marathon, takes place in Charlatan and some other bars near Vlasmarkt.

 

Kinky Star vzw

Address: Vlasmarkt 9, 9000 Gent

This is an image of a concert taking place in Kinky Star in Ghent
Kinky Star in action ©Jeroen Jacobs Photo Projects

This little bar next to Charlatan has their own music label called ‘Kinky Star Records’ and has been hosting bands for more than 20 years. Some Ghentian bands like ‘Vive la Fête’ started out here on this label and grew bigger afterwards. This electronic New Wave party band even made it to play at a couple of fashion shows for Karl Lagerfeld.

If you want to see anything of the concert in Kinky Star you need to come early because there is very little space and people are standing very close to the stage. Different genres are being played here like stoner rock, alternative, trash rock and heavy metal, but also DJ’s and electronic music producers.

Come here for: dirty, filthy rock and other gigs

Other reasons to visit than music: Their Irish coffee is the best at Gentse Feesten! (they put more whiskey in it).

Interesting facts:

  • Some people used to call this bar ‘Stinky Car’ because the toilet was broken for years and you could smell it as soon as you came in. This problem seems to be fixed now.
  • This must be the smallest and cosiest stage of all music bars in Gent.

 

Vooruit

Address: Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 23, 9000 Gent

This is an image of one of Vooruit's concert venues in Ghent
©Vooruit

I like this place because the building is so spacy, huge and authentic. There’s a long history (more than 100 years) behind it. The building also has a theatre, concert hall, a café and many other rooms. In the concert hall, there is a balcony, which allows you to see the concert from a different angle.

Come here for: to see bigger bands or to discover new bands, a good party all night long,..

Other reasons to visit than rock: jazz, techno, hip-hop parties, theatre, art exhibitions, workshops, summer terrace, food, bar…

Interesting facts:

  • Vooruit exists for more than a 100 years. It was built in 1913 and was named after a socialist coöperation that protected factory workers against raging capitalism. In 1983 the social cultural centre ‘Vooruit’ was created, but since January 2017 Vooruit has officially become an art institution.
  • Huge bands like ‘Nirvana’ played here in 1991 when they were still in the beginning of their career before they became really huge. See a video of the concert here.
  • The concert hall has a capacity of 1000 spectators. You can also rent the place if you want to throw a party yourself!

 

Den Drummer

Address: Stalhof 39, 9000 Gent

Image of Den Drummer, a concert venue in Gent including logo, address, map and a picture with people doing a stage dive

This is a pure rock and roll bar. It’s small, yet people “skydive” during a really good gig. This could be the go-to place for bikers and “heavy” dudes.

Come here for: the heavier stuff like heavy metal, punk rock, trash, hard-core, stoner rock, hair metal, doom-metal, grunge…

Other reasons to visit than music: Arm wrestling games, kicker football tournaments & a shot of jägermeister!

 

Missy Sippy (Blues & Roots Club)

Address: Klein Turkije 16, 9000 Gent

Image of Missy Sippy concert stage
The picture is taken from the grand opening at Missy Sippy ©Karim Hamid

This nicely decorated Blues & Roots rock bar makes you feel like you have entered a saloon somewhere in the city of New Orleans. Vintage guitars and old pictures of famous blues artists are hanging on the wall. An old vinyl record is playing in the background while you can sit back and have a drink at the bar. They also have nice cocktails and a wide collection of bourbon. Definitely worth a visit if you like (or have) the blues!

Come here for: Blues, jazz, roots, rhythm ‘n blues, swing, acoustic jam sessions…

Other reasons to visit than music: The interior, tasty drinks and delicious bar bites

 

Café Volkshuis

Address: Sleepstraat 33, 9000 Gent

Image of a concert taking place in the bar Volkshuis
A concert in Volkshuis

All kinds of people come to this easygoing place to enjoy a drink and good old music. From youngsters to grandpa’s and people from all social statuses gather here to chat.

Come here for: Blues, pop, rock ‘n’ roll, punk, jazz, singer-songwriters,…

Other reasons to visit than music: open Comedy mic, poetry evenings and a cosy partly covered courtyard.

Interesting facts: This is an especially popular bar during the Patersholfeesten, a small festival happening in the neighbourhood of Patershol during early August.

 

Rock Circus

Address: Overpoortstraat 22, 9000 Gent

Image of the Rock Circus bar in Gent
©Rock Circus

Come here for: mainly to enjoy a good beer (they have 60 different beers on tap!) and good rock music in the background. Sometimes there is a gig here. See our article about where to enjoy a beer in Ghent here.

Other than music: Apart from a huge beer offer, this bar is full of memorabilia from the 60’s & 70’s like old motorcycles and posters & pictures of bands like The Doors.

Interesting facts: Last year the famous artist Garland Jeffreys (from the song: Hail Hail Rock ‘N’ Roll) played here!

 

Trefpunt

Address: Walter De Buckplein 5, 9000 Gent

Image of Trefpunt logo

For 50 years Trefpunt has been a cultural centre, a place where everyone is welcome to enjoy music, culture and art. In 1969, a folk singer-songwriter from Gent, named Walter de Buck, brought the Gentse Feesten back to life by organizing concerts here. In the beginning, the artists were even standing on cases of beer!

Come here for: Trefpunt Cafe: concerts/ jam sessions on Mondays & Trefpunt Concert Hall: concerts almost every Thursday and Friday. Starting bands or more routined bands come and play here. Some examples of artists: Whitney, Priests, Bazart, Faces on TV, Yuko, Tamino…

Other reasons to visit than music: Various art & cultural projects such as Winter GHOST, a dark evening walk with performances, or “Gentse Helden”, an art- and music project in collaboration with a few bars in the neighbourhood and School of Arts where visitors could vote for their favourite band.

Other

Democrazy vzw

Image of Democrazy logo

The non-profit organisation Democrazy is a travelling music club without having their own location, but with different activities and concerts in the city of Gent. At the moment Democrazy is active in Vooruit, café Charlatan, Handelsbeurs Concert Hall, Minardschouwburg, DOK & NEST (temporary), De Centrale, Trefpunt Concert Hall, KASK cinema, City Theatre NTG and Kompass Klub (Techno club). Democrazy is also co-organizer of the yearly rock contest ‘The Beloften’.Vooruit, café Charlatan, Handelsbeurs Concertzaal, Minardschouwburg, DOK, NEST, De Centrale, Trefpunt Concertzaal, KASKcinema, Stadstheater NTGent and Kompass Klub.

 

About the author:

This is an image of Dominique Vanderbeken as a DJ
Dominique Vanderbeken in an occasional DJ and enjoys going to concerts and good rock gigs in Ghent

My name is Dominique and have been a (rock) DJ for many years in different bars in the centre of Gent. I hope you enjoyed reading this article and that it will help you find the right concert at the right location! If you have any questions you can always reach me by email at dome1@live.be

If we missed out on any great concert venues, please share below!

 

Guest author
Guest authors are expats and Gentenaars who enjoy spreading the word about Gent to the world. If you'd like to join us, contact us at hello@thesquare.gent.

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