Brosella Folk & Jazz: History

Music is, and has always been, a dynamic force within culture. It links and unlocks different societies and stimulates growth and personal development.

If we assume the fact that within music, tradition plays an important role, as it is something that lives and constantly changes, than it is also an essential condition for progress. Folk pre-eminently, but also other music genres such as Jazz, have very old traditions. By passing through the complete history, they grew up to contemporary versions. Brosella Folk & Jazz wants to honor the traditions as well as the contemporary interpretations of the artists of today. We want to share our happiness with an open-minded audience.

From the very start, the organizers of Brosella have been searching for contemporary developments, versions and interpretations of various traditions in the Folk field. Later they also explored all possible expressions and improvisations in the Jazz. The aim is to work beyond the borders of each genre. Brosella Folk & Jazz wants to present music which is free of dogmatic restrictions and stereotypes.

Brosella always was a pioneer in these matters and offered a platform to this type of concerts long before terms like Fusion, Cross-over, New Age or World Music came into fashion. Over the years the festival has built a reputation of quality, trust and confidence, acknowledged by the public, the politicians and the media.


Brosella Folk was created in 1977, on the initiative of the City of Brussels. Its purpose was to insufflate new live into an open air amphitheatre which was designed for the World Fair of 1932 by the landscape architect Jules Buyssens. But after the World Expo of 1958 it had been deserted. From the very start, Brosella proposes a weekend of cosy delight. The fabulous location guarantees a unique atmosphere and excellent acoustics. The festival presents an astounding and high quality program with vigilantly selected artists among which both notorieties and exceptional discoveries.

In 1981, Brosella was elected host location for the EBU Folk festival (European Broadcasting Union). The participating radio stations were responsible of the choice of the artists as well as the financial consequences. This gave us the opportunity to try a Brosella Jazz day the next weekend .

In 1982 than, Brosella opted for the formula as we know it now: one weekend where one day is dedicated to Folk and the other to Jazz. This way Brosella Folk & Jazz brought together two music styles which were never before (and now still seldom) jointly offered in one festival.

The festival is enhanced with “Brosella for the kids” which includes theatre, music, workshops, animations … An extensive program for the youngsters as well as for the “young at heart”.

Over the years Brosella Folk & Jazz presented a long list of premières. Many famous folk or/and jazz musicians played at Brosella. From The Chieftains, Planxty, Ladysmith Black Mambaso, A.J. Croce, Chico Freeman, Elvin Jones and Billy Cobham, to Toshiko Akiyoshi, Doudou N’Diaye Rose, David Sanchez, Juan-Jose Mosalini, Lew Tabackin, David Grisman, Maria Schneider, Paul Bley and many more. Brosella also presented the top of the Belgian artists amongst whom André Bialek, Philip Catherine, Philippe Lafontaine, Etienne Verschueren, Rum, Wannes Van de Velde, Willy Donni, Charles Loos, Steve Houben, Bruno Castellucci, Felix Simtaine, Urban Trad, Ishtar and many more. Toots Thielemans accepted more than twenty years ago to be the godfather of Brosella.

Over the years Brosella Folk & Jazz developed into a main player in the musical landscape of Brussels and Belgium. It persists to occupy an important place amongst the numerous events in Brussels. The festival plays a valuable role in the prominence of the Brussels Region in Europe and abroad. Brosella Folk and Jazz is credited with a rising recognition and appreciation in the folk and jazz worlds, from both fans and artists worldwide.

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