The Guards’ Room
Since there never were any formal Guards within the Principality of Stavelot-Malmedy, it may well be that this impressive space acquired the name more because of its rather grand-sounding quality than for reasons of historical accuracy!
Created as a part of a huge reconstruction of the abbey complex begun in 1714, the room was completed and dedicated by Prince Abbot Jacques de Hubin in 1778. The impressive vaulting which runs under the length of the Monks’ Refectory are supported by Romanesque quatrefoil columns which originated either in the crypt of the original Abbey or one of its chapels. The purpose for the use of this vaulted space remains a mystery. During its renovation in 1982, one of two wells found beneath the flooring, was excavated to a depth of six metres and subsequently restored. These wells drew their water from the nearby River Amblève.
The Guards’ Room is the perfect venue for the social event that takes place after each concert, in which both artists and audience mix. These gatherings act almost as if to prolong the concert experience itself, in a very relaxed fashion; the public are welcomed by the festival staff to a bar with a gourmet food offering, all in the easy-going and friendly spirit that has imbued the Festival since its inception.