5 Festivals to Attend While Studying Abroad in Belgium

by Leticia Sáinz Lerma

If you’re looking for a great atmosphere, good music and fun, you are ready for Belgium’s festival scene! There are all kinds of festivals for students to experience while studying in Belgium, which one to attend all depends on what you're interested in. From rock to classical music, and from cinema to theater, students can find some truly wonderful festivals in Belgium and there is definitely at least one for everyone.

Tomorrowland Festival in Belgium.
Tomorrowland Festival in Belgium.

Festival Les Ardentes

This huge festival of rock and electronic music is celebrated each year during summer, and has been going strong for eight years. More than 80 singers sang at the festival in 2014, covering all genres. While the festival focuses on rock and electronic music, there are also some hip-hop, house, techno, soul, folk, drum’n’bass, and pop music usually. Festival Les Ardentes takes place in a big park in the city of Liège, which guarantees great acoustics and a gorgeous view.


Created for the enthusiasts of electronic music, Tomorrowland is celebrated in Boom, located in the province of Antwerp. It’s a well-known festival around the world, with more than 450,000 attendees every year. It began in 2004, and since then has been celebrated every year, around spring and summer. In 2013 Tomorrowland changed its name to TomorrowWorld, and now holds festivals worldwide every year. What makes TomorrowWorld so attractive is not only the music, but the fairy-tale like atmosphere. The campsite where the most festival-goers stay at is called “Dreamville” and it lives up to its name.

Les Anthinoisis: Wallonie’s Festival of Celtic Music and Culture

This festival has a completely different style. Focusing on celtic music, it has been going on since 2000 and takes takes place in the village of Anthisnes, in the province of Wallonie. If you like celtic culture you will enjoy Les Anthinoisis, because of its music but also because of its celtic village with markets, craftworks, typical food, games, literature, and street performances. Activities are also organized inside the castle of “l’Avouerie”. Luckily for students studying in Belgium, everything except the concert is free of charge.

The Brussels Short Film Festival

Besides the well-known music festivals, there are many other festivals for those whose interests lie elsewhere. The Brussels Short Film Festival is a tribute to those stories that can capture hearts and attention in just a few minutes. There are different theaters associated with this festival, where students can watch various feature films. There are multiple categories, including: a national competition, an international competition, and a student film competition. This festival is designed to engage and promote the filmmakers of tomorrow, and is of course located in Brussels.

Zythos Bierfestival (Yes, it’s what you think it is)

Belgium needed a beer festival. Of course, this is not the only festival dedicated to the nectar of the gods; there are plenty of beer festivals in Belgium (almost one in every city!) for students to experience during their study abroad program. The Zythos Bierfestival takes place in the city of Louvain. Visitors can taste thousands of different beers. That is, if your liver tolerate so many. There are also food vendors, games, and raffles. It’s definitely a great place to head with a large group of friends. If you can’t make it to Louvain in time, some other beer festivals located in Belgium include the Ashley’s Belgian Beer Festival, the Brugs Beer Festival, or the Beer Festival of Mons.

Belgium is a country with a rich history that is present in its festivals. In addition to those listed above, there are many more festivals that are quite interesting for students to attend while studying in Belgium…

In terms of music, one can also visit the Pukkelpot Festival that takes place near the city of Hasselt, which mainly focuses on falt-rock music. The Ronquières Festival is always worth a visit, with many international artists as well as French-speaking singers performing each year. The Rock Werchter, in accordance with its name, is one of the most important rock festivals in Belgium and takes place in the village of Werchter. The Reggae Geel Festival is the best place for Bob Marley admirers to head to at the beginning of August, but that’s not all. The most important festival in Belgium for classical music is the The B-Classic Music Festival.

Other interesting festivals are the “Festival International de la Marionette de Wallonie” (International Festival of the Wallonie’s Marionette) and the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival.

Who could be bored studying abroad in Belgium with such a large variety of festivals to attend?