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Couleur Café 2016: an amazing edition despite changeable weather

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The 2016 edition of the Belgian festival Couleur Café opened on Friday the 1st of July in changeable weather. Far from discourage the well-prepared party people, whose prettiers rubber boots and raincoats were out for the occasion.

This year, the festival has appealed to less festival-goers than the previous years : about 52 000, according to the organizers' firsts assessments, against 63 000 last year. Amongst the causes : the post-terrorist attacks context, the Euro quarterfinals for Belgium, and the typically belgian rain on the first day. Yet, this hasn't stop the festival-goers, mostly equiped. And for the least farsighted, it has been a nice outside shower.

All the ingredients for a perfect Couleur Café cocktail were combined : its souk, the decoration, the restaurants which had the festival-goers travelling on every continent, the brass bands, the Solidarity Village,... Everything was here !

Couleur Café asserts its urban identity

Set up since its fourth edition on the Tour & Taxis industrial site, in the middle of Brussels, Couleur Café had this year chosen to use the outdoor spaces of the site only. On its 27th edition, and in view of its growing success, the festival had the ambition to be more than a world musics festival, and to represent all urban musics.

As a proof, Niveau 4's performance on the univers stage, to start on Sunday evening ; the cream of the crop of belgian hip-hop : Coely, Senamo & Seyte, Stikstof, JeanJass & Cabellero, Romeo Elvis, Woodie Smalls and Dvtch Norris who put the stage on fire (figuratively and litterally, thanks to their smokes !).

On the first day, the crowd bravely defied the pouring rain in front of the main stage. Then, at the end of the evening, Selah Sue cheered everyone up after the Red Devils' elimination of the Euro. On the Dance Club stage, the audience went mad, and even frightened safety people, facing the two gifted childs made in Brussels Le Motel and Roméo Elvis, who had their friends from L'Or du Commun to join them on the stage.

And in a beautiful sun, festival-goers came to enjoy the last days of this Couleur Café, with many reggae concerts : Julian Marley, Morgan Heritage, De La Soul. With a special mention to Arno, who still does the show !

On Sunday, Holi Couleur restored the good looks of the party people, while Jeremy Loops, the young and gifted multi-instrumentalist South-African, presented his nu-folk show, for the first time in a Belgian festival. He was followed by Black Box Revelation and the Kassav’, who did move the crowd.

Some of us live the festival in a different way

But, to live on and grow, Couleur Café, as eachfestival, appeals to its army of volunteers, who form the true framework of the festival and its unfolding. And every year, lots of people crowd around bars, restaurants, shops, waste collections or stages, to work and help.

One should remember that, without volunteer work, many of our favourites festivals could not exist. Every member's investment allows events like Couleur Café to be really human displays, where everyone is of service to the other, in a true solidarity spirit.

Cafébabel met 3 volunteers, who gave their time this week-end and saw Couleur café from its building to its dismanteling. They tell us how they lived it, from the inside.

Jérémy, 24 years old, volunteers at Couleur Café for the fifth time. « It is the atmosphere of the festival that has brought me to volunteering in Couleur Café. People are happy here, for a week-end of time. » Mona, 24 years old, lived for the first time Couleur Café as a volunteer this year. She explains : « It is beautiful, and it is an experience I advise everyone to do. It is great to live, one has a lot of fun during the week-end. » To Géraldine, 22 years old : « You're allowed to 2 hours of break time each day, which leaves us the time to see some of the artists. On Friday, we could see Magic System on the main stage, and tonight Soprano, it was so great ! What is more, as volunteers, we have free food and drinks for the whole festival. »

Rendez-vous next year for Couleur Café 2017… maybe in a brand new place ! Meanwhile, you can always bring back your best memories of Couleur Café with our 2016 edition's playlist.


This article has been written through our partnership with Festival Couleur Café.

Translated from Couleur Café 2016 : une édition incroyable malgré un temps capricieux