Brussel’s Annual Cactus Festival: One Stage, Over 20 Indie Bands

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What’s the epitome of traveling for music? Music festivals. Europe is one of the best places in the world for indie music festivals. The ones in the UK are legendary and get plenty of attention, but many of the smaller European countries are also great places to find some great music acts. And that’s how I ended up in Belgium.

Belgium may not be the first place you think of when you think “music festival,” but with their Flanders is a Festival campaign this summer, they’re certainly trying to get on the map. As they should! Flanders is hosting over 280 festivals this summer—everything from techno legends to local, indie fests. I took the opportunity to visit Brussels and see the annual Cactus Festival—a three day festival, one stage and over 20 international indie bands.

About the Cactus Festival

The annual indie music festival takes place in Bruges (Brugge) in the Minnewaterpark. Most festival-goers are Belgian locals but the music acts are international. In fact, there were only a handful of Belgian bands playing at the 2012 Cactus Festival. I discovered several new bands and because the festival grounds were small and centrally located, getting around Bruges during the festival was easy. The music festival is all outside, so even though it rained while I was there, the Cactus Festival powered through and the crowd just became more and more lively despite the weather.

I particularly enjoyed the Cactus Festival because it’s run by a local non-profit organization, Cactus Music, that also promotes education and other worthy causes in and around Flanders.

There were a handful of bands I was interested in seeing at the festival–bands such as Shantel, the Ting Tings and Razorlight.

Disclosure: my visit to Belgium was in partnership with Flanders Tourism.

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