Ghent Festival of Flanders is an international music event showcasing classical and world music in an original artistic way. It takes place in the second half of September at various venues and unusual locations in the city of Ghent. Over 180 concerts of the Ghent Festival of Flanders feature over 1500 Belgian and international artists. The annual event draws about 60,000 visitors every year.
One of the highlights of the festival is OdeGand when Ghent centre comes alive with music, fun, and celebration. With one festival ticket, visitors can access about 60 mid-length concerts around the city. There are also many free open-air events along the waterfront. Another option is to take one of the OdeGand boats along the canal and hop from one participating venue to another. The festival ends with a massive free concert followed by fireworks and a bonfire.
Festival of Flanders originated in 1958 in Tongeren, Limburg, where Jan Briers organized the basilica concerts of religious choral music. In 1972 other Flemish cities joined in, and the festival spread to Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels, Ghent, Kortrijk, and Flemish Brabant. It first focused on the chamber and classical music; however, after some time contemporary music, sound art, youth, musical theatre, visual arts, film, and dance were included.