About Feeërieën

Feeërieën celebrates its 20th edition this summer

Feeërieën is AB's adventurous, free evening festival that takes place in the Brussels Park during the last week of the summer holidays. For the 20th edition, AB is spreading its wings all around planet Earth, with exciting artists from Japan, South Africa, Morocco, Syria, France, Libya, Kenya, Portugal and of course, Belgium.

Looking back on two decades of Feeërieën: a festival that reinvented itself along the way

Feeërieën made a humble entrance in 2004 as a modest three-day festival. Absynthe Minded appeared somewhere on the bill as ‘a pleasant warm-up act’. A year later, they released their Belpop classic My Heroics, Part 1. The tone of the festival, with its gaze firmly fixed on the future, was set. It became clear that it filled a niche in Brussels, and in 2005 the festival evolved into a full five-day event.  

The festival has seen a considerable evolution over the past two decades, although it has never wavered from its founding mission: to be and remain accessible. Not just because of its free admission or perfect location, a stone’s throw from Central Station, but also in terms of programming. The programme is dedicated to a different genre each night: from jazz, to neoclassical, electronica, songwriters and global sounds. No matter how obscure the artists, every member of the audience could find something to their taste and explore to their heart’s content. This multi-level accessibility turned out to be the key to the festival’s success.

The Feeërieën audience has grown significantly between 2004 and 2023: from around 500 daily visitors in 2004 to an average of 1500 to 2000 visitors per day by 2013. It’s no coincidence that that was the year we decisively switched over to a more international profile. Unsurprisingly, the exceptions to this were the Covid-19 years.

So, from a more local bill with intimate, atmospheric music, the festival has evolved into a diverse line-up of artists originating from almost anywhere in the world. For example, the revival of Turkish psychedelia, which did not go unnoticed – with performances by such artists as Derya Yildirim and Gaye Su Akyol – or the popularity of African desert blues embodied by thrilling sets by Mdou Moctar, Imarhan and Etran de L’Aïr among others.

Anyone looking back at the Feeërieën posters will also spot the storyline of a ‘who’s who’ of the exciting contemporary British jazz scene. From the masterly, nowadays internationally renowned saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings (present in 2016 with Sons Of Kemet), master drummer Moses Boyd, saxophonist Binker Golding, Kamaal Williams, Mammal Hands to even the female supergroup NÉRIJA featuring saxophonist Nubya Garcia and members of KOKOROKO, among others: they’ve all played here.

In recent years, Feeërieën has invested more and more in imaginative projects around inspiring, iconic artists like Sun Ra (with a tribute to his masterpiece, Space Is The Place), Umm Kulthum (The Grand Dame of Arab Singing) or Moondog (with a celebration of the American eccentric’s hundredth birthday). There have also been a few odd ones out: for example, performances by impressive operatic voices such as Astrid Stockman and Lore Binon, or the acclaimed production of Into The Open by the Voetvolk performing arts company.

Finally, the festival has always seemed to have a finger on the pulse, booking acts who soon progressed to prestigious venues. For instance, Grizzly Bear, the Icelander Emiliana Torrini, Chassol (who later on worked with Solange and recently performed in De Munt/La Monnaie), Patrick Watson, Girls In Hawaii (who sold out AB four times in 2023), Melanie de Biasio or the Icelandic pianist Ólafur Arnalds, who has even performed at the Sydney Opera House.

With the support of the Brussels Capital Regionde Stad BrusselSabam For CultureLiveurope and Bolt.