Listen Festival ends with a tunnel rave: “We came here straight from Easter brunch”

Listen Festival ends with a tunnel rave: “We came here straight from Easter brunch”
Listen Festival ends with a tunnel rave: “We came here straight from Easter brunch”

While tourists on Poelaertplein marvel at the view over Brussels, another scene is taking place behind their backs. Via a highly secured entrance to the tunnel complex under Louise Square, several partygoers wearing sunglasses walk into the large, darkened corridor. One of those insiders is Helene D’haeseleer (31) from Brussels, who is just starting the long journey down: “We came here straight from Easter brunch. It all turned out well on this Sunday. We are actually a bit past our peak party years, but fortunately there is no work to be done tomorrow.” Her friend Myrte (31) agrees: “I have an Easter party tomorrow, so it’s perfect that it’s over here by midnight.” Helene and Myrte are two of the 2,700 dancers who descend in the afternoon into the tunnels, where for the occasion there is no truckload of cars bumper to bumper, but a crowd of ravers.

© Kristof Vadino

At least: that’s the promise. Due to the early start time, the party gets off to a slow start. The spry Parisian couple manning the front row, Sylvie (60) and Laurent Trupin (62): “We have prepared well for this day. First we arranged a place to stay with friends nearby and then studied all the DJs in advance. We listened to their sets online, so we know for sure who we want to see.” And although DJs Emily Jeanne and Mary Lake are aiming for a first humming moment of ecstasy, with laser beams in their backs, the real starting signal is not forthcoming. The audience maintains the reception atmosphere with chatter that rises above the music. Then get a beer at the side fork, which is quite full. Or was this the entrance to the second tunnel? The endless maze, which now looks more like an overcrowded mine, is not yet revealing its secrets.

© Kristof Vadino

Thanks to the city

The rave in the tunnels is the initiative of Listen Festival, the city festival for electronic music that has been to various unique locations in the capital in recent years. For example, it previously transformed the halls of Brussels North, Congress and Central, the Planetarium of Brussels and the Church of Our Lady of Laeken into a temporary club or concert hall. To present a spectacular location this year, the organization chose the complex under Louise Square. “The idea came after a wild brainstorm a year ago,” says artistic director of Listen Festival Lucas Vandervelde, under the yellow tunnel lighting. “Fortunately, we already had a positive track record with the city, which was happy to collaborate on the idea. We are also very grateful to them for that. For such a request, you will encounter a Njet in nine out of ten cities, but that is possible in Brussels.” Although organizing the party was not without its challenges. Due to uncertainties surrounding the correct evacuation of the public, the organization had to adjust its ambitions from three to two tunnels. A dampener on the festive spirit for about 15 percent of the ravers, who had their ticket refunded after a random selection and were unable to participate in the revelry.

Club tourists

In the twilight of the tunnel opening, a colorful mix of people has gathered who come to gasp for breath from the flooded complex: from seasoned clubbers, looking for a last portion of weekend happiness, to various occasional partiers, who couldn’t pass up the opportunity to spend Easter in the tunnels. And there too, the relaxed atmosphere is the talking point. Jeroen Paridaens (28), who counts himself in the first category, is bothered by the noise level: “The music just has to be louder to really feel it.” Mariama Jalloh (28), who has already attended several events of the festival, is more hopeful. “They have done everything as it should be: the location, the lighting, the line-up, but it is not yet possible.”

© Kristof Vadino

DJ collective Burennuis.

DJ collective Burennuis. — © Kristof Vadino

Further in the tunnel, the audience seems to respond to gabber volleys that the DJ collective Burenhinder catapults into the depths. As they throw the pounding at the front, the audience presses forward. Their recipe for rock-hard techno seems to wake both club tourists and experienced players out of their hip cradle. It promises for the day rave which is introduced here. With DJs Paul Seul, VTSS and CJ Bolland still on the program, there is still plenty in the offing to explode the bomb and make it a full-fledged club night.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Listen Festival ends tunnel rave straight Easter brunch


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