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Best summer festivals and events in Ghent

In this guide we’ll give you suggestions on the best summer festivals and events in Ghent.

As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, we expect some of the events listed in this post to be cancelled in 2021. 

Best Festivals in Ghent

Copacobana

June

This free open air festival takes place every year in the Rozebroekenpark in Sint Amandsberg. It’s family friendly and offers a very varied program: swing dancing, theatre, poetry, intimate concerts…

A picture of the Copacabana festival in Ghent
Musicians at the Copacabana festival

Gent Jazz

July

This outdoor music event takes place at the Bijloke site and offers various jazz performances.

Gentse Feesten

July

One of the best summer festivals and events in Ghent is this huge (on average there are a 100 000 visitors a day!) cultural festival which turns Ghent into a 10 day long party with free (music) performances, (street) theatre, exhibitions, animation for children, fairs, parades and so much more! See more (in Dutch) here. Note that Belgium’s Independence day (21st July, a national holiday) falls in this period and the city offers an evening with fireworks to celebrate. Check out our practical guide to the Gentse Feesten for tips on how to survive the 10 days!

Patershol Feesten

August

A small festival organised in the oldest quarter of Ghent. This cozy event with music performances is a highlight in August when Ghent takes things at a slightly slower pace after being up all night for the Gentse Feesten.

This is a picture of a night time view over Korenlei during Gentse Feesten
Night time view over Korenlei during Gentse Feesten

Dansen In’t Park

August

If you like dancing you should check out Dansen In’t Park in the Azaleapark in Sint-Amandsberg. Genres like lindy-hop, capoeira, tango, tap dance, salsa and more are on offer, for young and old.

Kouterconcerten

Sundays from May to September

This is maybe not a festival, but regardless worth mentioning. Every Sunday from 10:30 to 12:00 (except during the Gentse Feesten) you can enjoy the free Kouterconcerten at the flower market, orchestras playing anything from jazz to big band. 

Festivals in Belgium

  • Graspop. June. If you are into metal, heavy rock and punk, Graspop in Dessel is the place to be.
  • Couleur Café. June. Invigorating and exotic music, colorful decoration, an exotic bazaar, delicious world food stands, marching bands and a focus on Belgian artists. Couleur Café in Brussels is the biggest urban music festival of the country.
After 25 unforgettable years Couleur Café has really become the exotic opening of the festival season.
  • Rock Werchter. June. This large rock festival welcomes an international lineup in Werchter, which is near Leuven.
  • Cactus Festival. July. This rock pop festival happens in Bruges and offers a line up of international and local artists
  • Tomorrowland. July. This mega festival taking place over two weekends near Antwerp. Tickets sell out in minutes and it attracts party people from all over the world to listen to electronic dance music and DJ’s.
  • Lokerse Feesten. August. Another rock pop festival takes place only a 15 minute drive from Ghent in Lokeren.
best summer festivals and events in Ghent
Festival people enjoying Rock Werchter

Note: many festival tickets include a train ticket – but you need to order a separate e-ticket for it to be valid on the train. See more in English here.

Best summer festivals and events in Ghent’s neighbourhoods

Every year, the city of Ghent publishes a calendar of neighbourhood events. There are also local Dekenijfeesten where people get together in their streets for a drink, merry-go-rounds and market stalls. Check this list in UitInGent (in Dutch) to see if your neighbourhood is on the list. Or also check the public boards in your neighbourhood for local events.

Shopping events in Ghent

best summer festivals and events in Ghent

  • Braderie Publique: June/July. A street market which takes place on two separate occasions (first in the centre, and then in the south of Ghent) where many shop owners and retailers display their products on the streets. A braderie is also an opportunity for shops to clear out their old stock, so great deals can be found.
  • Summer Sales: July. The summer sales run throughout the summer in Ghent, and during this period there are also discounts on train tickets to Ghent.
  • Check out more tips for shopping, like markets (which mainly take place during the weekends), in this previous post: Buying Essentials.

Summer sporting events in Ghent

  • Gent Stadsloop: May. The Gent Stadsloop city run gets the summer off to an early active start. Competitors can run 5 or 10km through Ghent’s city streets.
  • Midzomernachtrun: June. Another running event taking place close to midnight, to celebrate the longest day of the year. Choose between 5, 10 and 15km distances, and head to the Topsporthal Vlaanderen near the Blaarmeersen to start.
best summer festivals and events in Ghent
The running event happening around midnight takes place close to the shortest night of the year

Any best summer festivals and events in Ghent we missed? Please add in the comments below or send us a mail at hello@thesquare.gent

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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