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Must-Do's For Music Fans8 Things You Must Do When In Ghent

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Surrounded by Antwerp, Brussels and Bruges, Ghent is a city that’s often being forgotten by tourists when visiting Belgium. Nevertheless, the city offers some incredible well-kept secrets to those who dare to go look for them.

 1. Visit Vooruit 

Vooruit

Vooruit is one of the most important concert venues in Ghent. The 104 years old building was built by the labor movement, who formed a cooperative union to protect themselves from the capitalist instability. It was a place for them to meet, organise parties and to have meetings concerning their working conditions. Nowadays, Vooruit is a concert venue with one big room and a couple of smaller rooms, all breathing the building's great history. Artists who already performed here include Nirvana, Bon Iver, Daft Punk, showing the diversity and quality of the Vooruit concerts. Next to music, theatre and performance are also present in the Vooruit. It also houses an incredible café. 

2. Buy records at the Music Mania store

Music Mania

When you leave the Vooruit building, just walk ten steps to the right and enter the incredible store that is Music Mania. Presenting rock & grooves since 1969, the record store is featured on top ten lists of the world’s oldest record stores. They offer an impressive collection of all kinds of styles, including a great amount of Belgian records. They also host a lot of (acoustic) sets when new records are being released, recently welcoming Admiral Freebee, The Van Jets and School Is Cool. Soulwax’ ‘From Deewee’ was also released here, including a signing session by the whole band. 

3. Have a drink at Rock Circus/Backdoor 

Rock Circus Gent

When visiting a city, a café is necessary to refuel after all the walking. Rock Circus is a café in the legendary overpoort street and has a bar that counts 58 taps, all featuring different beers, including the exclusive Circusbier and Red Rooster. For those who prefer a quieter area instead of the student party area, we recommend Backdoor café, where they have over 150 different bottled beers. Both cafés are Hard Rock Café style covered in music memorabilia, like posters from legendary concerts in Vooruit. 

4. Visit Handelsbeurs Concertzaal 

Handelsbeurs
handelsbeurs.be

Another stunning concert venue, right in the center of the city, is the Handelsbeurs building. The building is situated next to the opera building and was built in 1739. Its original function was to be a place where traders met to deal with each other, which can still be seen on the nice frescoes that cover the walls. Handelsbeurs is known for its very eclectic scheduling, focusing on all different cultures and music that connects people. Each summer, there’s also the Boomtown festival that’s part of Gentse Feesten, and equals ten days of incredible concerts. 

5. Forget about the clock in Charlatan 

Charlatan

When all the concerts have finished, there’s one place left to go. Charlatan is a café that’s situated next to the Sint-Jacobs Church and is known for its long and rock & roll nights. What happens in Charlatan stays in Charlatan and don’t be amazed if you meet some of Belgium’s major artists here in the late hours, they need to party somewhere as well! 

6. Enjoy music geniuses at Ghent Jazz Festival

Gent Jazz

Each summer, Ghent Jazz appears, a Jazz festival that really likes to experiment with its line-up. The setting of the music festival is the incredible Bijloke-site, which also features the city's museum STAM, is the perfect place to invite musical geniuses. Many artist have performed here including Kamasi Washington, Trixie Whitley or Grace Jones. 

7. Join the creative Nest people 

De Krook 2

For this one, you’ll need to be quick. Earlier this year, the city of Ghent opened its new library De Krook, a huge building next to Vooruit that includes all types of cultural institutions. It houses a library, radio stations and newspaper redactions. The opening of this new building means the end of the old library, situated right across the street, but the city decided to open up the building to creative people until the end of this year, to do whatever they want. The building received the name Nest and is now the place to be to go and watch concerts, have a drink or organize a yard sale. 

8. Gentse Feesten – Everywhere 

Gentse_Feesten_2015

Save the best to last is what people always say, and so did we. Every year, the Gentse Feesten take over the whole city of Ghent, turning the city into one big party for a period of 10 days. From the Latin-American music at Polé Polé to the alternative music at Boomtown to the many street artists that cover the streets, Ghent is in party mode. Each corner you turn will take you to new experiences, leaving a smile on your face. Ghent is a city that is very much alive, and shows this during these 10 days of party. Everybody’s invited to join! 

Must Do's For Music Fans 

Here's a list of musical tips for the travellers! What to do besides all the 'regular' things when you're in a city or country? We'll provide you with some (historical) musical facts and to do's in several cities or countries around the world.