• The Brussels Jazz Marathon

    by  • May 22, 2015 • Brussels, City Breaks, Festivals, Music

    It’s Jazz all the Way in the Belgian Capital this Weekend.

    All eyes may be on Vienna this weekend as the kitsch juggernaut that is Eurovision rolls into the Austrian capital, yet there is another musical event taking place on the continent this weekend a little closer to home, the Brussels Jazz Marathon.

    Now in its 20th year, the Belgian capital prepares to come alive this weekend to the smooth sounds of jazz emanating from its many cobbled squares, atmospheric bars and charismatic cafes. A free, family-friendly event, the Jazz Marathon has been a hugely popular annual addition to the city calendar since its inception in 1995 with both locals and tourists alike flocking to listen to 250 live performances, acoustic sets and gigs by some 700 artists across the Belgian capital. And with many of the free concerts taking place against a backdrop of some of Brussels’ most recognisable landmarks including the iconic Grand Place, Sablon, the Place Ste-Catherine, the Place du Luxembourg and Place Fernand Cocq, the city takes on a particularly special atmosphere over this very special symphonic weekend.

    Spread over three evenings, a comprehensive musical menu is served up by artists from all four corners of the world and all tastes are catered for, with traditional and modern jazz, blues and rock sharing the bill with the more diverse sounds of latino, funk, world and afro. And with free shuttle buses running between all the main concert venues every 20 minutes from 8pm to 2am, access around the city and to the music will be effortlessly easy.

    The program gets underway today at 4.30pm at the Place du Luxembourg, with other venues kicking off tonight between 6pm and 7.30pm through until 11pm. Tomorrow (Saturday), there a mini-marathon taking place at the Sablon for the younger jazz appreciation society, with a full programme across all stages in the evening whilst on Sunday, this exceptional weekend comes to a close with a grande finale series of concerts on the Grand Place from 2.30pm. There’s also an extensive programme of indoor concerts taking place at various venues across the city from ‘House of Jazz’, usually known as the city’s BIP (house of the Brussels-Capital Region) and the Hard Rock Café to the elegant Hotel du Grand Sablon. And last but by no means least, I’ve got to mention Swingin’ Brussels – a huge retro-jazz party – taking place each evening at La Tentation. Dance shoes are essential!

    And with all of the Belgian capital’s many other touristic treasures to explore by day, add in the Jazz Marathon and you’re left with a fabulously, foot-tappingly unforgettable city break experience. For more information and complete lisitings, visit the website here.


    With a French grandmother, childhood holidays on the continent and a degree in French and Spanish, a love of languages and travel has always been in my blood. Fresh from university with an unfettered enthusiasm to show off my linguistic ability and first-hand knowledge of the world beyond the UK, I entered the travel industry and, 16 years on, I’m still there! With several years spent in the luxury sector planning escorted holidays across Europe for the American market, followed by an even longer tenure designing short breaks with a difference in the must-see cities of Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam, Madrid, Prague, Florence, Brussels, Venice, Salzburg, Milan, Krakow and Berlin (to name but a few), it’s fair to say that Europe is my passion! Today my travels have taken me far beyond the boundaries of Europe with so many destinations still to discover, yet the continent abounds in such a wealth of treasures – historical and architectural, cultural and musical, gastronomic, artistic and linguistic – that its appeal, for me, will be eternal.