Almost a festival!

Trip Start Nov 27, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Belgium  , Flanders,
Sunday, August 5, 2012

We accidentally arrived in Belgium at the time and place of the folk version of Glastonbury music festival. Dranouter's event is smaller but it is listed as one of Europe's major festivals. It started in 1976 in the schoolyard and photos show an audience of 20 not today's 20,000! We parked up in the field where we could sleep overnight, according to one of the parking crew who also told us that a day ticket was either 15 or 50 Euros. Her English was excellent but not clear on the numbers. At the ticket gate, a mile or so outside the village, it was 65 Euros each. A bit steep for us, so we found a nearby field to have a picnic lunch and listen hoping to catch The Levellers or Red Hot Chili Peppers (both in the small print of the performers!) or The Waterboys (headlining). Although advertised as folk, it had quite a mix of music,and we wandered off when Chubby Checker (do the twist) covers started.

So we've no photos of the acts of the massive festival neither. We enjoyed the party atmosphere in the little village of Dranouter, bought a couple of beers from a bar that had the feel of a National Front pub in England, and went to sit outside the bakerij (bakery) where a few musicians had gathered and were playing what we presume is regional traditional music and instruments. We recognised a sort of bagpipes and an accordion or similar instruments, but not the thing sort of shaped like an oversized mandolin, held like a steel guitar on the lap, tuned like a guitar at the head, played with a crank handle/winder and a button/lever board on the neck. Its sound was new to us too. Vids included!


It did start to rain a bit so we ended up in the village adjacent to the field we were parked in. An Irish bar with live music. Guitars, uke and mandolin with an accordion (or similar) played various old tunes. We started talking with the Irish guy who was just visiting and the Irish bar was owned by a Belgium man. We wonder just how exact the Belgians are about not wild camping - the Irish guy had been visiting for years and had roughly pitched his tent on the verge of the road just after the last house on the way out of the village.


And we still haven't found a water supply. Laura has managed to get 8 litres in total by asking in scout huts and bars etc. With very little water in the van, we're drinking beer.
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Julie Reeman on

The funny instrument is a Hurdy-Gurdy (Lute form) or Luth as they are known in this part of France. There is the world's biggest Hurdy-gurdy fair ( Foire or Fete de Luthiers ) at Chateau d'Ars ( formerly in the mediaeval town of Saint Chartiers) just North of La Chatre!!!!!

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