On Tuesday 30 January AB will receive the Sector Lifetime Achievement Award at the Music Industry Awards in the Paleis 12 arena. Through this award the VRT and Kunstenpunt pay tribute to a person or organisation that has played a significant part in supporting and developing the Flemish music sector.
Dirk De Clippeleir, Managing Director of the AB: “This MIA is given in honour of the AB team as a whole, and the many hundreds of people who have worked for the AB in the past. It is they who have made AB into what it is now: an internationally acclaimed musical house, in which talented young individuals are given the opportunity to grow and music lovers are free to explore the best of a variety of musical genres.”
How it all started
The Ancienne Belgique, as we know it today, occupies a historical spot in the heart of Brussels, on Anspach Avenue. After an initial flush of growth in the 50s and 60s, when it hosted all the greats of French and Belgian song, the Ancienne Belgique was reinvented, in 1979, as a Flemish Culture House. It acquired its present look after a series of major structural alterations in the 90s, after which it went on to become one of Europe’s best known concert halls.
300,000 concertgoers per annum
The concert club is a concert hall, hangout place and recording studio all in one. The in-house recording studio is a fantastic asset: it allows music from the concert hall to be beamed around the world by radio, TV or internet. The three musical cornerstones of the AB are concerts, live streams and AB Sessions. In recent years this has also come to include an immersive, educational aspect, in the form of lectures, artist talks, workshops and listening sessions in the AB Salon.
In 2008 the AB became the first pop and rock temple to count itself among the small and select group of ‘Cultural Institutions of the Flemish Community'.
The AB attracts a good 300,000 concertgoers a year, making it one of the world’s busiest concert halls.
Big names and budding artists
The AB doesn’t confine its interest to the big names, but gives opportunities to budding artists in a variety of genres and puts its heart and soul into the Flemish music culture in Brussels. Beside its interest in pop & rock, the AB turns its attention to electronic music, Dutch-speaking pop, jazz, world music, and so on.
From Edith Piaf to Underworld, from Will Tura to The Ramones, from Zap Mama to Bram Vermeulen, from Aznavour to Arbeid Adelt!, from Kanye West to Oscar And The Wolf: most of the big names have performed here.
The AB also organises annual music festivals such as BRDCST, Boterhammen in het Park and Feeërieën in Warande Park, Brussels.
The AB’s international allure has grown in the last three years thanks to the AB-initiated Liveurope platform, a group of 14 European concert halls which put European grants to work to provide extra performance opportunities for talented young European artists.