Gentse Feesten: Europe’s Best Festival You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

July 1, 2017

It’s one of Europe’s biggest festivals, only just behind Oktoberfest in terms of visitors per year, but chances are you’ve never heard of Gentse Feesten. Attended by 2 million visitors every year, this event takes place in the Belgian city of Ghent, showcasing music and theatre and other cultural offerings over ten days in July.


Where is it?

Ghent is in the Flanders region of northern Belgium, and the festival takes place throughout the city’s streets and squares. Getting to Ghent is easy from the UK, with regular daily ferries travelling between Dover and Dunkirk or Calais, from where it’s around an hour and a half’s drive to the city.

The actual events take place all over town, with open-air concerts and performances covering a total area of 765,000 square miles!
What goes on?

The festival comprises a huge number of different events and shows, basically forming mini-festivals within themselves. There’s the Ghent Jazz Festival held at the Bijloke Abbey, and the Comedy Festival which includes English-speaking sets. The Patershol Festival is organised in the oldest part of the city, creating a beautiful and enchanting atmosphere with lights and more low-key acts.

The festivals are usually free to enter, including 13 free open-air concert venues set in city squares. Some of the most incredible performance spaces make use of the canals, such as the OdeGand, where you can travel between concerts by boat!

There are also dances and balls, a circus, markets, and plenty of events aimed at children. It really is a huge festival that encompasses all sorts of fantastic entertainment.


Getting there                

Ghent is in northern Belgium, which is easy to get to when travelling from the UK. We have ferry crossings between Dover and Calais, and Dover and Dunkirk, putting you a short drive from the Belgian border, and just over an hour from Ghent itself.

There are plenty of places to stay in Ghent itself, including hotels and bed and breakfasts, with rigorous standards set by the Flemish tourism regulations, with higher star ratings offering great comfort. There’s also a fantastic campsite very close to the city in the Blaarmeersen Sports and Recreation Park.

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