On the 15th April 2020 the Belgian government announced that – due to the coronavirus/Covid-19 outbreak – no large-scale events would be allowed to take place in Belgium until the end of August 2020. As a result, we expect most, if not all, of the events listed in this post to be cancelled in 2020.
The summer holidays are coming up and here is a post dedicated to all kinds of summer festivals and events taking place in June, July and August 2019. There are many things you can do in Ghent during the summer. In this guide we’ll give you suggestions on festivals and some of the bigger street, shopping and sports events.
Festivals in Ghent in 2019
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…
28th June – 9th July
This outdoor music event takes place at the Bijloke site and offers various jazz performances.
19th-28th July (programme online 5th June)
A huge (on average there are a 100 000 visitors a day!) cultural festival turning Gent 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.
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.
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.
Sundays 5th May-29th 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 in 2019
- Graspop 21st-23rd June. If you are into metal, heavy rock and punk, Graspop in Dessel is the place to be.
- Couleur Café 28th-30th 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.
- Rock Werchter 27th-30th June. This large rock festival welcomes an international lineup in Werchter, which is near Leuven.
- Cactus Festival 5th-7th July. This rock pop festival happens in Bruges and offers a line up of international and local artists
- Tomorrowland 19th-21st July and 26th-28th 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 2nd-11th August. Another rock pop festival takes place only a 15 minute drive from Ghent in Lokeren.
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.
Ghent’s neighbourhood activities
Every year, the city of Ghent publishes a calendar of neighbourhood events. See the ones for the summer of 2019 here (in Dutch). 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 in 2019
- Braderie Publique: 30th May-2nd June and 27th-30th June. 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: 1st-31st 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.
2019 summer sporting events in Ghent
- Gent Stadsloop: The Gent Stadsloop city run gets the summer off to an early active start on 19th May. Competitors can run 5 or 10km through Ghent’s city streets.
- Midzomernachtrun: Another running event taking place close to midnight on the 28th June, 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.
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