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LIVE REVIEW: Cirque Magique, Belgium

Monika Kruse, Damian Lazarus and stilt-walkers galore!

2017 Aug 15     
2 Bit Thugs

This three-day, circus-themed festival aims to bring a little bit of magic into the lives of those that attend…

We all yearn to discover a place in which magic transcends reality, and iDJ recently discovered just such a place in the form of Belgium's Cirque Magique, which has now been running for three years. This themed festival aims to create a magical setting in which every person is invited to explore their inner circus artist, regardless of gender, age or life philosophy.

Cirque Magique is located in Legedem, in West Flanders. The launch of the festival in 2015 was a tremendous success, with the first edition attended by 4,000 visitors. The atmosphere was described by many as ‘extraordinary’ and the festival was awarded a Red Bull Elektropedia Award as the Best Breakthrough Festival. The third edition took place on 4-6 August, and tried hard to maintain its reputation of a festival that "captures the audience with magic".

Uniquely decorated stages and a whirlwind of visual effects (delivered by South Africa’s Artescape collective together with Hexa Structures, Opsys Deco, Gipsy Deluxe and Papaya Project) were accompanied by eletronic beats supplied by a compelling line-up of 57 national and international DJs, while in every corner of the festival you could spot circus freaks, fire breathers, balloon makers, costumed stilt walkers, acrobatic performers and magicians, all provided by Circodans.

This year's festival motto was ‘Together In Orbit’, and the festival’s stages were set up to represent ‘an orb surrounding its entity’. This concept was translated on four stages: the mysterious Imaginarium, the theatrical Circodrome, the romantic Luna Volante, and Arcadia, a stage which set the camping grounds on fire the first two nights. And with a huge roundabout right in the centre of the festival grounds, many festival-goers were indeed "together in orbit"!

The music on offer ranged from acid house (Imaginarium) to hypnotic techno (Circodrome) to uncut retro classics (Luna Volante). Music freaks were attracted by an impressive 17 international heavyweights including Adriatique, Stephan Bodzin, Matthew Dear, Andhim, Agents of Time and Nico Morano, who all rocked the main Imaginarium stage, with the banging closing set delivered by Damian Lazarus.

The Arcadia Stage held up an arsenal of hard-hitting beats presented by local talents such as JoyHauser, DeeJames and Sheridan. At Circodrome, a sophisticated array of refined sounds was laid down by Belgium's biggest techno star du jour Charlotte de Witte [pictured above], German producer Johannes Heil, Marko de la Rocca and Rebekah. Meanwhile, classic house reigned over on the Luna Volante stage, where we were teleported back to the 90s by Jan Van Biesen, Super Flu, Yves Deruyter, Zino, DJ Ghost and Bolle.

But the most captivating and mesmerising performance of them all was the stomping Lunva Volante closing set from Monika Kruse [pictured below], who sent the crowd into a frenzy with her irresistible beats. With a huge smile on her face she said, “I give love to my audience and they give it back. LOVE - it’s the best thing in the world. My aim is to help people forget whatever is going on in their life and have a little holiday - just get lost in my music.”

Special mention should also be made of the toilets, which had their own DJ booth, manned by Renée Opsedee. Filled with toys and looking absurd at first glance, the dancing/toilet space allowed festival-goers to have a little boogie while waiting in the line - the usual impatient frowns turning instantly into cheeky smiles!

Cirque Magique encouraged the crowd to enjoy the festival interactively, by getting involved in the many performances and workshops, and following the 'together in orbit' philosophy, the circus acts were presented as if ‘in orbit’ around the festival. However, on the Sunday the circus suddenly changed into a family attraction for under-12s, which left many festival-goers disgruntled - and several stages half-empty as they began to drift away.

Other complaints we heard concerned high parking fees, what some saw as a heavy-handed police presence, "severe and unpleasant" searches on the main gate, and a lack of rubbish disposal facilities in the arenas, which meant we ended up dancing amid piles of trash. These are fairly typical of the kind of teething problems that festivals face as they get bigger, but Cirque Magique will need to address them if it wants people to keep coming back to "be the magic".

Words: Agnes Klos Pics: Gino Van Herp





Tags: Cirque Magique, Belgium, festival, Monika Kruse, Damian Lazarus, Charlotte De Witte, Adriatique, Stephan Bodzin, Matthew Dear, Andhim, Agents of Time, Nico Morano