Ancienne Belgique Celebrates ‘Best Year Ever’

Ancienne Belgique
– Ancienne Belgique
A look into the packed main auditorium
In the heart of the Belgian capital of Brussels lies Ancienne Belgique, the leader of Pollstar’s Top Magna Charta Club charts with 118,018 tickets sold, according to Pollstar Boxoffice reports.
The venue has operated under various names and guises since the beginning of the 20th century. Today, Ancienne Belgique, often know simply as AB, features a 2,000-capacity auditorium, which can be configured to serve a range of artists and events.
“We like to inspire our audience and be an opinion leader rather than just a regular concert hall,” the venue’s artistic director Kurt Overbergh told Pollstar. His philosophy shows in his programming, which includes event series, public Q&As with artists, “adventurous music” festival BRDCST and more.
The lineup for this year’s BRDCST, scheduled for April 4-7, includes The Comet Is Coming feat. Shabaka Hutchings, K Á R Y Y N, Charlotte Adigéry, Steve Gunn and Black Midi.
“2018 was our best year ever,” Overbergh said. “We surpassed 300,000 paying visitors, the highest number since our 40 years of being around. AB organized over 400 shows last year, aside from hosting content from our external promoters and friends, like Live Nation, Greenhouse Talent, Peter Verstraelen Agency, Nada, etc.”
Located within walking distance of Brussels’ public transportation, AB is easily accessible. The club offers a warm interior as well as superb sound and lighting. Its in-house team of promoters prides itself on working closely
with artists.
Kurt Overbergh
– Kurt Overbergh
Artistic director of Ancienne Belgique

According to Overbergh, many projects that resulted in international album releases were born at AB, including José James’ Yesterday I Had The Blues  Records), Echo Collective’s Echo Collective Plays Amnesiac (K7!), and The Colorist & Emiliana Torrini’s self-titled effort (Rough Trade Records).

One of Overbergh’s favorite gigs at the venue was last year’s concert by then-70-year-old Turkish protest singer Selda Bağcan. “We sold 1,000 tickets and introduced her to a whole new audience in Belgium,” said Overbergh.  “Apart from that, we were able to reach out to the Turkish community. We had received a request from a woman named Selda, who told us that her father had named her after the singer, so we arranged a meeting.”
The concert vaulted Bağcan onto Overbergh’s list of favorite live acts of all time – which also includes Radiohead, Patti Smith and Nick Cave. “Before the whole music industry took shape, live music was already around and no matter how the music business will evolve, live music will remain the purest form of how music can touch people. Apart from going to church, it will ever remain a unique way of bringing people together and become ‘one’,” Overbergh said.