Luc De Vos unexpectedly passed away in 2014 at the age of 52, and was closely linked to the city of Ghent. De Vos was born in Wippelgem, a suburb of Ghent. He penned weekly articles for Zone 09 Ghent’s defunct free city magazine, and also designed the first reusable mug for Ghent’s annual New Year’s drink. Ghent remembers him fondly as a beloved son.
According to the festival’s organizers, “…Luc wou geen straat of plein met zijn naam, laat staan een standbeeld met zijn beeltenis. Een festival dat naar hem verwijst, had Vos wel kunnen smaken…” Luc didn’t want a street or a square named after him, skip the statue in his likeness. A festival that referred to him is something that Vos would’ve enjoyed.
Where the 1st edition focused on the life and music of Luc De Vos, the 2nd used his insatiable hunger for fresh literature, music, comedy and dance as the overarching theme. Curated by musician Johannes Verschaeve of the Van Jets (music) and author Christophe Vekeman (literature), Vosdag took place in the Handelsbeurs, the Opera House, and the Paard van Troje, a bookstore on the Kouter.
The atmosphere of Vosdag was incredible. One attendee commented that it felt like a living room where everyone was hanging out. Agreed, and also that everyone hanging out includes people you would pay money to see. It gave a lot of Gentenaars, myself included, the first chance to see the incredible interior of the Opera House. The warm lighting, the paintings, the gold leaf, every detail of its rooms took my breath away.
Vosdag had a little bit of something for everyone. It gave access to hot authors like Herman Brusselmans (Ex-Minaar) and Herman Koch (The Diner). You could see the latest winners of Studio Brussel’s De Nieuwe Lichting, a contest for up-and-coming musical artists. Everywhere you turned you saw the design and organization of a larger festival, but with fewer people. There were no massive queues, just enjoyment. Even the fries with the beef stew called stoverij (the only food stand) were out of this world delicious.
It’s giving me the chills
The true highlight for me was hearing the band Dez Mona in the Opera’s largest room, the Theaterzaal. Lead singer with a golden voice, Gregory Frateur, described receiving a call from Franki (Embracing Franki). The title of Dez Mona’s last tour was “Close to You”. Franki asked,“Is that why you chose to play at Vosdag?” Frateur replied, “No, I was invited by Johannes Verschaeve…” “Ah,” Franki answered, “because I sang Close to You at the wedding of Luc and Sandra.” And so Frateur launched into his cover of Burt Bacharach’s Close to You, played in honor of Luc De Vos and his wife Sandra Heylen. It was delicate and mournful and gorgeous. It gave me the chills.
Zondag Vosdag was one of the best mini-festival experiences I’ve ever been to. You got an unbeatable mix of talent and venues for a reasonable price (30 EUR with student discounts available). I would definitely recommend attending it next year.
About the author:
Felicia Benefield is an expat from San Francisco, California (USA) in a long-time, bittersweet love affair with the city of the three towers. She has lived in Ghent since 2008, knows the streets to avoid for Gentse Feesten, and can be found online assisting newcomers in the Facebook groups Expats in Gent and Rooms and Apartments for Expats in Gent.