A Bit Of A Circus

Sfinks Festival turned into a bit of a circus when entertainment usually found in the Big Top joined the host of world music artists converging on Belgium over the July 24-26 weekend.

Festival director Patrick de Groote was happy to see 31,000 at the three-day event in Boechout, where weather is often a key factor.

Sfinks attracts people who don’t regularly attend festivals and tend to make up their minds a day or two before the event, which means he never has the comfort of seeing a healthy advance sale.

Nor is the audience likely to be lured by household names, as most of the lineup is little-known acts drawn from all over the globe.

But attendance is boosted by the fact that people from 125 nationalities live in the Antwerp region.

“People tend to come with an open mind and wander around the various stages until they settle on something to enjoy,” de Groote explained.

The festival is also a member of the European Forum of Worldwide Music Festivals and has such a reputation for bringing new acts to the circuit that other EFWMF festivals use it as a showcase event.

This year’s hot act was Peter Nalitch, who is close to being a household name in Russia but doesn’t mean much outside of his national boundaries. The festival music stall sold out his CDs within 20 minutes of his performance.