Although the Brussels Jazz Weekend is a young festival, it is the heir to a great ancestor. For almost two decades, the Brussels Jazz Marathon was the main event for all jazz-lovers in the capital. However, the project was closed in 2016 for several reasons. In 2017, it returned with a new team and a new name—the Brussels Jazz Weekend (BRU JAZZ WE). The event was an immediate success as thousands of fans showed up to listen to swing and blues, jazz standards and free jazz.
The festival is free to attend with artists playing all over the city. Indeed, the festival is not limited to one or two major scenes. Although there are several main stages built at the Grand-Place, the Sablon, and the Place Sainte-Catherine, there is also an endless number of smaller venues—bars, clubs, beer gardens, parks, cafes—scattered around Brussels. They host concerts every evening meaning you may pass by a local bar, hear a jazz melody and stop by to spend a cosy evening. All in all, the festival program offers over 200 concerts in more than 85 venues in Brussels.
The festival conveys the idea of freedom. There are no entry fees, no tickets, no limitations—as long as there is a spot for you to stand, you are welcome to join. The lineup includes mainly local artists so that festival visitors have a chance to discover new names and to get acquainted with the Belgian jazz scene.