Fire Couldn’t Stop Belgian Fest

A fire caused by an electrical fault in a mobile phone charger forced the evacuation of Brussels’ Couleur Café Festival site June 30th, but the event resumed after a three-hour delay.

"The fire brigade got here really quickly and we had already started evacuating the site," Couleur Café representative Nancy Gallant told Pollstar.

The blaze broke out in a storage building containing materials the festival uses to decorate the stages on the Thurn & Taxis site in the Belgian city.

Nearly 25,000 people waiting outside on Picard Street were entertained by the brass bands that normally would have been playing inside, while fire chiefs checked for damage to nearby underground gas pipes.

The fire started at about 5:45 p.m. on the second day and the crowds were back to see the program resume by 9 p.m.

Some hasty rescheduling meant all the acts played except Belgium’s Superlux, which had to be canceled because of a delay in starting the Electroworld Stage, which was closest to the burned storage building, on the third day.

Nobody was hurt and the fire, which destroyed the building’s roof, was put out before it could spread any further. The 18-year-old, three-day world music festival attracted a total of 71,000 visitors.

Among the acts turning up the heat (June 29 to July 1) were The Roots, Sean Paul, Kelis, UB40, Ziggy Marley, Gotan Project and Horace Andy.