Jazz Marathon in Brussels


The Brussels Jazz Marathon gets underway at the end of May, and is considered by enthusiasts to be one of the most popular jazz festivals in Europe. Jazz sprouts everywhere in Brussels with over 125 concerts, most of them completely free, taking place on Brussels main squares and in 50 other venues across the city.

Brussels already enjoys a vibrant jazz scene, with local acts performing live in bars and foreign stars passing through for larger concerts, but the Jazz Marathon transforms the city into the jazz capital of the world for three days.

With 700 artists in less than 72 hours the festival definitely lives up to its title. It almost makes attending all the big bands, soloists and vocalists into an endurance exercise. Special buses crisscross the city and connect all main performance spaces to help visitors with their jazz marathon chase around the city. There is even a group of 20 musicians and 6 comedians onboard the buses to make sure that passengers don’t get bored during their ride.

‘Jazz’ is taken in its widest sense at this festival, catering to all tastes, from funk and latino to blues. Big Belgian names play on the Grand Place or on the other big squares in the city, while rising stars perform in small bars and studios. This makes the Brussels Jazz Marathon a great opportunity to catch up with some exceptional young talents from the land which gave us one of the most important of all jazz ingredients, the saxophone.

Belgian trumpeter Bert Joris and Jean-Paul Estievenart have been among past performers, and other special attractions include workshops for young people and jazzy makeup shows, ice-cream treats, and a mini marathon.

The Brussels Jazz Marathon is the perfect opportunity for Bruxellois and tourists alike to indulge in sweet jazz tunes alongside their Belgian chocolates, and last but not least, the medieval architecture provides an enthralling backdrop for the music.

The festival runs from May 25th to May 27th. Arrive early to the events, as it will be very crowded.

To get to Brussels for a Jazz-Get-Away, you can take a P&O ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge, from where it’s only about an hour’s drive to the Belgian capital.

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