Dour Festival is Coming: A Belgian Event 35 Years in the Making

The ambiance of Dour Festival
Ambiance De Balzaal ©Love Liebmann

As the sun sets over the picturesque Belgian countryside, anticipation for the 35th anniversary of Dour Festival is palpable.

From July 17-21, the festival will once again transform the idyllic landscape into a musical wonderland, showcasing over 200 artists across multiple stages.

This year’s lineup is as diverse as ever, featuring a tantalizing mix of electronic, rap, rock, bass music, Afrobeat, and more. With such an eclectic and unmissable menu of genres, Dour Festival promises to be a sonic adventure that will leave Dour goers yearning for more.


Dour Festival lineup

You don’t have to spend much time in Belgium to start hearing about Dour Festival, pronounced “Doureuuuh” by enthusiasts. The excitement in their voices is obvious – they know what’s coming, and it’s nothing short of amazing. Beyond the famous waffles, beer, and gloomy weather, Belgium thrives as a hub for music festivals. My Mediterranean friends and I often joke that the festivals are Belgium’s way of compensating for the lack of vitamin D with a dose of “vitamin Dour.”

Exploring Dour Festival’s website to prepare this press release gave me goosebumps. This music festival, which predates me, has been a staple since 1989. Numerous Belgian artists have credited the festival with inspiring them to explore new musical territories.

For instance, Amelie Lens, who is curating her own stage at the De Balzaal, recounts her transformative experience at the festival: “At 16, I went to Dour, and it was life-changing. For the first time, I felt truly passionate and connected to music,” Amelie recalled to Clash Magazine. Amelie Lens will bring together a powerful lineup of hard techno artists on Friday. Joining her are Farrago, VTSS, 999999999, Daria Kolosova, Milo Spykers, and Helena Lauwaert. This stage is set to deliver some of the most intense and exhilarating performances of the festival for hard techno lovers.

Dour Festival: diverse lineup & commitment to sustainability

Celebrating its 35th anniversary, Dour Festival features an extraordinary line-up and steadfast dedication to sustainability. From July 17-21, festival-goers will be treated to an eclectic mix of over 200 artists performing across multiple stages, promising endless musical discoveries. With so many choices, decision fatigue is forecasted—but in the best way possible.

Dour Festival isn’t just about music; it’s a vibrant celebration of community, creativity, and culture that leaves no one dissatisfied. Also if you’re looking for more of our content on sustainability in music, check out Louis’ article’s here.

Genre-spanning feasts & new school talent

The lineup is a genre-spanning feast, featuring electronic, rap, rock, bass music, Afrobeats, and more. Headliners include Aminé, Ice Spice, Skepta, Four Tet, Dinos, The Libertines, Subtronics, Chase & Status Live, Bicep, and The Blessed Madonna.

New school talent like Zamdane, Rounhaa, Luther, Jolagreen23, Kerchak, Angie & Lazuli, and Nayra will also take the stage, highlighting the festival’s dedication to showcasing the next generation of artists.

Rockamadour: an electronic oasis

One of the festival’s standout features is the Rockamadour stage, an electronic haven where attendees can dance with their feet in the sand.

This year, the stage will host an array of artists, including Nooriyah, SoFTT, Dorian Dumont, Grünt, Mehdi Maïzi & Sandra Gomes, and numerous collectives like MARICAS, iced lattina & friends, Nyege Nyege, and Gadji FC. The Rockamadour stage promises an intimate party atmosphere where electronic music enthusiasts can connect and celebrate.

Hard-hitting techno & more

Beyond Amelie Lens on Friday, we have a stunning lineup on Wednesday, starting strong with Novah, Cassie Raptor, I Hate Models presenting FACE II FACE, OGUZ, and Paula Temple B2B SNTS for closing duties.

Other names you can catch at De Balzaal during the 5-day festival include Sara Dziri, Belaria B2B DC Salas, Courtesy, HAAi, The Blessed Madonna, Camelphat, and Bicep (presenting Chroma AV DJ SET). On Sunday, Mochakk and Young Marco will perform, along with Four Tet.

Hip-hop, Dour Festival foundations

Dour crowd
Crowd ©Raphaëlle Trecco

Rap and hip-hop culture stand as one of the festival’s foundational pillars. This year, international artists such as Aminé, Ice Spice, and Skepta will intertwine their flows with Gazo, Josman, Dinos, Kaaris, SCH, and Luidji.

The new wave will take center stage at #dour2024, showcasing breakthrough acts and dozens of other rap, drill, grime, trap, and hip-hop artists.

The beat of Dour Festival

For decades, Dour Festival has been synonymous with bass music. Whether it’s psytrance, dubstep, or drum and bass, it embraces it all, supported by its phenomenal sound system. This year, the festival is thrilled to welcome back Billx and La Darude, while introducing Le Wanski and Rakoon for their debut performances. Local favorites Ganja White Night will make a triumphant return, and the two-time Brit Award-winning Chase & Status will deliver an electrifying live show. Belgian musician Netsky will delve into drum and bass and liquid funk, and dubstep will be celebrated by none other than Subtronics.

Local favorites Ganja White Night will make a triumphant return, and the two-time Brit Award-winning Chase & Status will deliver an electrifying live show. Belgian musician Netsky will delve into drum and bass and liquid funk, and dubstep will be celebrated by none other than Subtronics.

The revolution of Afrobeats

There is no denying the contemporary evolution of Afrobeats music. The legacy of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti from the early 1970s is being redefined by rising Nigerian stars such as Rema and Omah Lay.

On this year’s Dour Festival’s Edition, Femi Kuti, one of Fela Kuti’s sons, will take the stage at Dour Festival with The Positive Force, delivering a vibrant live performance. The exhilarating Gqom beats of Phelimuncasi and the highlife garage-punk of The Cavemen will also immerse audiences in thrilling rhythms.

Sustainability & inclusivity at the core of Dour Festival

Dour festival attendee doing a wheelie
Doureuuuh ©César Burton

Sustainability is a part of Dour Festival’s DNA. The event embraces all dimensions of sustainable development, partnering with Inter to enhance accessibility for people with disabilities and implementing the “You’re Safe Here” plan to ensure everyone feels secure and supported. The environmental aspect is managed by Dour Développement Durable ASBL (3D Asbl).

Festival grounds are equipped with clear waste sorting signage, water fountains to reduce plastic bottle usage, and a Green Camping area promoting local products and well-being activities such as yoga. Dour Festival also encourages public transport and soft mobility alternatives, ensuring the event’s environmental footprint is minimal.

Rock On: The New Garage Stage

This year, Dour Festival also shines a spotlight on rock music with the relatively new Garage stage, dedicated to the genre’s gritty and powerful sound. Acts like The Libertines, Altın Gün, Brutus, Girls in Hawaii, Puggy, Shame, Sick Of It All, and Terror will lead the charge, alongside newcomers Baby’s Berserk, Gilla Band, and Gurriers. The Garage stage is set to evoke the golden era of guitars, amplifying the festival’s diverse musical offerings.

Dour Festival’s rich history and commitment to sustainability have cemented its status as a beloved institution in the Belgian music scene. As the festival gears up to celebrate its 35th, it continues to embody the power of music, community, and passion.

Stages at a Glance: Do your Homework

  • Last Arena: The festival’s main stage with a concert-hall vibe. Experience everything really here, from live electronic performances to reggae and hip hop concerts.

  • De Balzaal: The nonstop dance area, featuring a cathedral-like atmosphere and stunning light shows. Perfect for avid clubbers and ravers.

  • Rockamadour: A hidden oasis in the heart of Dour Festival, offering intimate experiences with emerging artists and pioneering collectives.

  • Le Garage: A sanctuary for guitar enthusiasts. Headbangers and metal lovers, this is your haven.

  • Dub Corner: Title is self explanatory. For all the dub lovers, this area is dedicated to the rhythms of Jah.

  • Le Petite Maison Dans la Plairie: A blend of emerging and established talent across genres. With live performances and DJ acts, it promises to satisfy any taste. Personally, I think this will be my favorite spot along with De Balzaal.

  • Le Labo: The Lab, intimate yet spacious, true to its name, this is where sound experimentation happens. Quench your thirst for new and innovative sounds here.

  • Boombox: Channeling Straight Outta Compton vibes, this stage features the best in hip hop, soul, R&B, and swing from around the world. At night, it transforms into something entirely different – you have to be there to experience it.

Special Highlights

  • Ugandan Festival ‘Nyege Nyege’ Takeover: Strengthening ties with the renowned Ugandan festival, this segment features experimental electronics by Khx05, a footwork-soca-disco mix by Sisso & Maiko, and punk by Suzi Analogue.

  • Lefto Early Bird Curation: Lefto Early Bird presents a fresh curation featuring DJ Gayance, producer Djrum, the trio Black Rave Culture, and a B2B set with Mia Koden. Lefto will also debut his new album “Motherless Father (In Movement)” with a live dance performance.

  • Catalan Collectives Takeover: MARICAS, a queer collective, delivers an electrifying mix of 90s rave house and breaks. Meanwhile, the Jokko Collective (B4MBA, BABA SY, MBODJ, MOOKIE, OPOKU, and TNTC) will transport you to an unforgettable African and diasporic experimental club experience.

My top recommendations, which you don’t want to miss:

  • Wednesday: Femi Kuti and the Positive Force, Cassie Raptor, OGUZ, Funk Tribu.
  • Thursday: James Blake, Jyoty, Subtronics.
  • Friday: Chase & Status Live, Skepta, NIA Archives, Mezerg, Ezra Collective, and Amelie Lens’s curated stage.
  • Saturday: BICEP, DJ Gigola, and KOKOROKO.
  • Sunday: Mochakk, Oscar and the Wolf, Four Tet, MARICAS, DJ Heartstring.

Remember to not over-plan and leave room for surprise and discovery. Balance is key. Hydrate but do not over-do it. Prepare for the weather conditions, and use sunscreen (yes you need it if even if it’s cloudy). Remember that it’s okay to take a break. Eat well. Eat fruit. Be present. No means no. Be nice to strangers. Let go of too many expectations and embrace the magic the festival has to offer.

See you at Dour Festival

Dour Festival truly has something for everyone. Which is why we are going! Join us from July 17-21 for five days and nights of love and alternative sounds at Dour Festival. Click here for more information and tickets.

Written by Alexandra Krstic

Alexandra, originally from Cyprus and now residing in Belgium, has a background in English Literature and Educational Sciences. She currently works as an online tutor and project coordinator. In 2021, Alexandra co-founded the literary blog "This Unreal Country" and previously interviewed artists for Jmart Space (UK) in 2018. Outside of work, she enjoys learning how to DJ, playing at house parties, and exploring her favorite music genres, including fast-beat techno and psytrance. Always chasing the next festival or party, she truly lives for the next gig.

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