Belgium is a country of high quality festivals, and the 16th anniversary of Afro-Latino Festival in Bree was no exception. Since the last couple of years, the line-up competes with the festival’s big brother, the Antilliaanse Feesten. This year’s edition featured Daddy Yankee, Busy Signal, Farruko, DLG, Kes the Band, Fonseca, Vena (ex-Aventura) and Orquesta SCC (La Excelencia).
Deep down the festival is more Latin and Caribbean than African. That’s okay, considering the fact that contemporary African artists are difficult to book without a network, especially compared to their South American counterparts. And a bit less reliable too.
The festival terrain had 3 stages and a 4th stage for DJ’s and dancing salsa. That’s a lot of space for only 7000 visitors. What striked me was the young crowd with many local people and families. This had an up side and a down side to it. Good was the laid back atmosphere at the festival terrain and the fact that one could easily obtain a front row seat. But, most guests didn’t seem to know any of the songs that were played and the night sometimes lacked the intensity of a real Latin party.
That could also be said from the campsite. Only one booming sound system, not much of drinking rum and no barbecues allowed, but a friendly vibe. In Bree they don’t have the commercial mentality of bigger festivals, no fights, no queuing in front of the shower and no tall security checks.
In conclusion the festival is highly recommended for next year, but unfortunately the organization is having financial problems due to a negative balance twice in a row.