Evolution - The festival


The programme of the 1957 ‘Week of Music’ festival listed seven evening performances spread over a period of fifteen days. The following five seasons were held across the second and third weeks in August, expanded to eight concerts.  

From 1963, the audience had grown to the point where repeat performances were introduced to meet demand, the same concert played on consecutive nights, and the festival expanded to three weeks, giving thirteen performances. 

The success of the festival led to a request being made, and agreed, for the use of the Church of St. Sebastian as a performance space, to accommodate some well-known ensembles. From 1964, a few events were tried out at this new venue, and over time, the festival was able to bring some larger vocal and orchestral ensembles to the programme.  

1970 saw the inception of morning performances, with the specific aim of introducing an educational element to the festival. More of these very popular concerts later.  

Conceived as a way of including a local audience, a Performers’ Mass is held on a Sunday in August during the festival and has gained a loyal following. These services have been a very important way of bringing music to those who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to attend the main concerts. This tradition is maintained to this day, thanks to the artists who come to the festival, and the Mass is always a very popular event. 

And so that music can be heard by an audience that is unable through age to come to any events, the Festival always schedules one concert each season to be held in the town's main care home. 

Since 1976, as a result of recommendations of the Ministry of Culture of the French Community of Belgium, a day in the festival has been set aside for performances by local amateur music societies, giving them the space to demonstrate the strength of the local music scene. The festival is also keen to support and promote the region’s young musicians, and acknowledges the tremendous support that it receives from the local music Academy and its teaching staff, who stand behind the achievements of these aspiring artists.  

Finally, it should be noted that this season, the Festival celebrates the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Festival de Wallonie.