Lifestyle & Culture

Dispatches’ Weekly Weekend Event Guide for Europe: 17 August through 20 August 2017

We’re coming down the stretch of the August holiday, which will soon give way to cooler autumn days come September.

Silence has fallen upon Big Ben, its famed bells to remain still (except for important events) for the next four years while repairs are carried out.

Meanwhile, the Dutch are laughing their way through the madness of life one canister at a time; Putin bros it up on holiday in Tuva; and the ghosts of the Confederacy put on a vulgar display of power over the past weekend in the United States.

We know … you want to escape the madness of day-to-day life, if only for a few hours. Well, there are a few open-air film festivals to check out, as well as a celebration of Africa in Vienna, and a couple of big music celebrations in London and Belgium. Let’s go!

Amsterdam – Pluk de Nacht: Spend a few of those waning days of summer enjoying several short and feature Dutch films near Amsterdam’s waterfront during the 2017 edition of Pluk de Nacht.

The film festival — which started yesterday, and is set to end next Saturday — features a wide variety of films shown on the big silver screen of Het Stenen Hoofd, from comedy of all sorts, to documentaries and drama. This year’s selections on the programme include: Requiem; Dark Blue Girl; The Bald Future; and Tiger Girl.

Those who prefer dancing can head over to the nearby disco, while everyone else can enjoy deckchairs (which you have to reserve; €4 each) while watching their favorites. Food and all sorts of beverages round out the package.

Admission is free, but you can support Pluk de Nacht through donations, buying a drink at the bar, or reserving a deckchair.

Barcelona – Mas i Mas Festival: Barcelona is on holiday, and it’s celebrating as it only knows how: with the long-running Mas i Mas Festival, celebrating its 15th edition in 2017.

From now through 3 September, enjoy more than 160 concerts around the heart of Barcelona from jazz, flamenco, techno, hip-hop, classical, gospel, and rock artists such as: DMX Krew; Svreca + Angel Molina; The Voodoo Children Collective; Karime Amaya; and Morgan.

Ticketing and program information for Mas i Mas can be found here.

Barcelona – Mecal Air 2017: Feel like catching a movie? Then you need to check out the Mecal Air 2017 open-air cinema festival.

Every Friday through the first two Fridays in September, head over to the Picnic Zone at El Poble Espanyol for barbecue and a few short films tied to the night’s theme; this Friday’s theme is “The truth is still out there,” for those of you into sci-fi.

Tickets are €6.50 at El Poble Espanyol’s ticket office, €3.50 if you download the Mecal App onto your iPhone or Galaxy S8 and show it off.

Berlin – Tanz im August: From now through 2 September, Berlin hosts its biggest dance festival of the year, Tanz im August. The dance festival is all about the latest trends in contemporary dance. And in keeping with Berlin’s reputation as the coolest city in Europe, there are not only the usual performances and discussions, but tons of parties to attend.

Headliners for 2017 include Pina Bausch and Jirí Kylián’s Nederlands Dans Theater, the most cutting-edge ballet company in Europe, according to the critics. Other performers on the programme include: Serge Aimé Coulibaly; Marcelo Evelin and Demolition Inc.; Mathilde Monnier & La Ribot; and K & C Kekäläinen & Company.

Tickets for any of the shows happening at Tanz im August can be purchased online, as well as at the HAU box office or an hour before performances begin at any of the eight venues participating in the festival.

Brussels – Foire du Midi: Missing your county and state fairs? No worries! The de facto capital of the European Union has what you need with its annual Foire du Midi fun fair.

Through Sunday, the 137th edition of Foire du Midi will have lots of rides, food, an open-air market… over 120 attractions in all.

And the admission? It’s free. You can also print some coupons to use at the fair for a few discounts and freebies.

Frankfurt – Frankfurt Apple Wine Festival: Coming to a close Sunday, celebrate Frankfurt’s most popular beverage with the Apple Wine Festival, which includes lots of entertainment in the Roßmarkt, the center of the city.

There are performances and special events each night of the festival — you can see the entire schedule here — as well as an open-air market, and plenty of apple wine to sample.

A lot of you will be leaving London for Frankfurt’s financial center after Brexit, so this is a good event to put on your calendar for next year.

Greece – Athens & Epidaurus Festival: A theatrical event with drama, dance and music staged at ancient theaters including the 2,000-year-old outdoor Odeon of Herodes Atticus at the base of Acropolis Hill and the theatre of Delphi.

The Athens & Epidaurus Festival concludes Saturday. Ticketing and program information can be found here.

Hasselt – Pukkelpop: Another big music festival for your consideration, this time in Hasselt, Belgium, the home of Pukkelpop.

The “progressive and contemporary” four-day music festival — which started yesterday and ends Saturday — has welcomed the likes of The Sisters of Mercy, The Mission, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Sonic Youth, Eminem and more for over three decades.

The 2017 lineup continues to live up to Pukkelpop’s mission: The Afghan Whigs; Cypress Hill; Editors; The Flaming Lips, Interpol (who are performing the entirety of their debut full-length, Turn On The Bright Lights); and PJ Harvey are among the 165 acts set to perform this year.

We were just in Hasselt last weekend, and the site looks good … and the weather forecast is okay, with just a few showers. Nothing you can’t handle.

Tickets to Pukkelpop 2017 are going fast! Fees range from €99 for a single-day ticket (Saturday tickets are sold out), to €199 for a full festival pass. A 20-piece food/drink voucher pack is €50 per pack.

Helsinki – Helsinki Festival: Coming to the Finnish capital of Helsinki is Finland’s largest arts festival, the Helsinki Festival!

From today through 3 September 2017, you can be one of over 200,000 guests at the festival to check out the many performances all over the city. From dance and cinema, to classical and contemporary music, whatever your passion, you can find it at the Helsinki Festival.

Some events are free. For everything else, tickets can be purchased here.

London – Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House: Ever wanted to watch movies under the stars near the River Thames? You can at the 2017 edition of Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House.

Through this coming Wednesday, enjoy nights of music, food, and film at London’s Somerset House along the Strand. The festival closes Wednesday night with the UK premiere of Patti Cake$. Remaining films on the schedule include: a Saturday night double-bill featuring Jaws and Deliverance; Bhaji on the Beach; and Blow-Up.

Tickets to this year’s Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House are £19.35 to £26.90 (€21.43 to €29.80) per person. Bring your blankies and rain gear, as the show will go on come rain or moonlight.

London – BBC Proms: We’re now entering the final month of The 2017 BBC Proms! If you haven’t been, the summer-long music festival has nothing to do with the proms of your high-school youth, but with the idea of holding classical music concerts — called promenade concerts — against the informal setting of London’s many pleasure gardens.

Tickets for the 123rd edition of The Proms range from £6 for those who don’t mind queuing a few hours before the performance starts, to £100 for a seat with 11 of your friends in one of the Grand Tier Boxes at Royal Albert Hall.

The Proms continue this weekend with Proms 43 through 49. Thursday’s double bill at Royal Albert Hall celebrates Spain and progressive music, while Friday’s performance pulls together the BBC Symphony Chorus and The Bach Choir to perform Mahler’s ‘Resurrection’ Symphony.

Saturday, Sir Simon Rattle leads a lineup of soloists through Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder.

Sunday, you can celebrate Reformation Day with a hat-trick of performances, beginning with an organ recital of Bach’s Little Organ Book. This is followed by a telling of the Passion through Bach, Handel, Mendelssohn, and more by the BBC Singers and the City of London Sinfonia. Finally, John Butt and his Dunedin Consort make their Proms debut with Bach’s St John Passion.

Paris – Paris Plages: If you can’t spend your French holiday in Saint-Tropez, then why not head down to Parc des Rives de Seine instead for some summer fun at the 2017 Paris Plages?

Though the sand won’t be around this year, the park will be open 24/7 through 3 September, and visitors can take a dip in La Villette basin for the first time since Plages began. There will also be 352 deckchairs and 52 palm trees, and all sorts of activities to enjoy.

And the best part? Admission is free.

Šibenik – Otok Obonjan: During the last decade, Croatia has become quite the party destination. We all know about Dubrovnić and its crowds. But there’s an alternative. From now through 3 September, the tiny Croatian island of Otok Obonjan, located off the coast of Šibenik, is the setting for a private-island summer party, limited to 500 people at a time.

This wellness/fun festival has an eclectic six-week program that includes music at a stone amphitheater overlooking the Adriatic Sea, workshops and great food.

There’s an underwater sculpture garden, an island cinema and a woodland well being centre. Imagine Cap-Ferrat at half the price.

It doesn’t look like there’s a hotel, but you can get a two-person luxury tent (with a pool) starting at the equivalent of £60 per person per night, including access to all the activities.

Vienna – Afrika Tage Wien: Africa comes to the Danube Friday through 5 September via the 2017 edition of Afrika Tage Wien!

This long-running festival celebrates the wide variety of cultures in Africa — as well as Vienna’s large African community — through live music, dance, storytelling, workshops, and children’s activities. There will also be a 40,000 m²+ bazaar with arts and crafts, food and drink, a play area for the little ones, and more.

Tickets to Afrika Tage Wien range from €8 for a day ticket purchased before 18:00, to €80 for a full festival pass purchased on opening day; on four days (21 and 28 August, and 4 and 5 September), admission is free, but donations are encouraged.

Vienna – Film Festival Wiener Rathausplatz: If you’re visiting Vienna, head over to City Hall for the 2017 edition of Film Festival Wiener Rathausplatz!

The summer-long film festival features concert and performance films covering classical, opera, dance, musicals, and pop music. A wide range of foods and beverages — like cheese spaetzles, New York flank steaks, tacos, cherry beer, iced coffee, and Arabic tea — will also be served.

This weekend’s film lineup includes: Il Volo – Notte Magica; #klangberlins – Zoo; Rolling Stones: Ladies & Gentlemen; The 48ers Movie Time; #klangberlins – Berliner Natur; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2017 New Year’s concert.

And the best part? Admission is free. The last day of Film Festival Wiener Rathausplatz is 3 September 2017.

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