Travel Diaries: A Weekend in Brussels at Couleur Café

Jul 6 2017 BY Rachel Ayeh-Datey

Brussels is home to the yearly 3-day urban contemporary music festival, Couleur Café.  With a lineup offering a variety of genres from funk, reggae, rnb and hip hop, we were excited to experience all it had to offer. Missing out on the first day of the festival due to work, we wanted to make the most of our weekend in Brussels. After a short 2 hour journey on the Eurostar, we arrived in Belgium in the afternoon and headed straight there.

 

 

With fairground games, a vast variety of cuisines, a secret bar and a 120 metre long graffiti art installation created by local artists in collaboration with migrant artists; Couleur Café was much more than your average festival. The setting of the festival was particularly scenic. It was held in the vast woodlands near the famous Atomium building, and the Green was decorated with beautiful fairy lights. One thing that became quite clear very short into our stay was that Couleur Café was far from a fashion parade (we’re looking at you, Coachella). Everyone dressed comfortably in jeans and protective footwear.

Migrant Art

 

 

 

The two main artists that stood out to us on the Saturday were Cuban-born singer La Dame Blanche and Belgian rapper Coely. La Dame Blanche danced, sang and even played the flute! She was a pure entertainer and kept the crowd engaged. Coely, who is known as ‘The First Lady of Belgian Rap’, had an undeniably infectious stage presence. At one point, she got so excited that she pulled one of her braids off her head. Her songs were well known with the Belgian audience. She isn’t only big in Belgium however, as she’s opened up for the likes of Kanye West, Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar in times past.

 

Coely

 

As much as we both wanted to go to the final day of Couleur Café and see Damien Marley and the Flatbush Zombies perform we couldn’t because we got ill. Instead, we toned things down by exploring the centre of Brussels, of course indulging in a waffle or two. We also stopped by Delirium café for some flavoured beers – it was all very relaxing. Turning back to our hotel we soaked up some French TV shows. However, being non French speakers all the potential humour was lost in translation. The following morning saw us take the Eurostar straight into work; absolutely exhausting.