Last edition of Dour Festival was one for the history books. We are used to rain and festivals in Belgium, but previous year Dour was sunk in mud. However this did not stop people to go to the concerts and party till the early hours in the morning.
Summer festivals have mostly a positive vibe. Its holidays, music, people, sometimes sunny weather. No reason to complain, many to enjoy. What distinguishes Dour from other festivals is the fact that the vibe during this festival is even more relaxed and positive. Even though around 150.000 people come to the festival you hardly see problems between the people. The last editions there is also a tendency of mix as people from all over the country come to the festival, but also the neighboring countries such as The Netherlands, France, UK and Germany.
The reason they come is simple: an impressive line up. I’m not going to discuss it all as there are something like 200 bands playing, but let me tell you why you shouldn’t miss this festival and my recommendations.
One of my favorite days is Thursday the 18th. The line up is awesome. Firstly there are two great bands from Brussels playing: La Chiva Gantiva and Wild Boar & Bull Brass Band. Some excellent reggae from US playing on the main stage will be served The Aggrolites. Wu-Tang Clan is closing the Last Arena. Another US band, legendary hip-hop musicians, always innovative and this summer they are launching a new album.
If you hear Jungle by Night playing live than you will realize afrobeat is alive and kicking. These young guys from Netherlands are playing early, but I can’t imagine a better starter for the festival. Those who like to continue the party the place to be is Boom Box with the trip-hop and swing beats of Deluxe and Gramatik you are in the right place.
On Friday Dour is hosting some known dj’s as Carl Craig, Rusko, Dave Clarke and young talents such as Coely from Antwerp and Scylla from Brussels, but in comparison to the other days the line-up is less promising to my opinion.
Saturday the 20th is another story. Robert Glasper Experiment recently played together with Mos Def in Couleur Café and that was the best concert of the whole festival. In Dour they are playing next to Gilles Peterson and Flying Lotus. Two big names. All of this will take place at the Boombox and I don’t know about you but I know where I’m going to end the night: Lefto killed it last year, and it will be the same also this year. If you are into electronic music you better check out Drumsound & Bassline Smith and Pendulum. Reggae day is the Sunday but on Saturday you already can enjoy rasta music as Lee Scratch Perry and U-Roy will be on stage.
You better keep some energy for the Sunday the last day of the festival as you will dance. Hip-hop, reggae and dub fans are being served. France is being represented by some of the best hip-hop artists. Raggasonic played a good concert recently in Brussels, IAM just launched a superbe album. Some weeks ago I went to a concert of Keny Arkana and so far one of the best concerts of the year. Also plenty of reggae with Rohan Lee and Asham Band, Jah Mason & Dub Akom, and Alborosie.
A hard choice to make on Sunday night is the one between the scratch night and the dub night. I can’t tell it now, we’ll see at Dour!