Les Aralunaires: Arlon, land of musical discoveries

After a postponement and a covid normalized edition on a single website, the UFO of Belgian festivals is back in Arlon! For those new to this little gem of a festival, Les Aralunaires is in a few numbers: 13 Expenditure, 40 Artists, 20 concert venues, 5 evenings, 2 Days with free showcases (Le Lab) and 1 Surprise Appearance!

We assure connoisseurs that the recipe for success of the past is always the same: the program is full of discoveries and eclecticism, but remains open to the general public. We spoke to Aralunaires programmer Sébastien Cuvelier about the festival’s DNA and his beautiful poster.

RTBF Culture: Hello Sébastien, can you remind us of the original concept of Les Aralunaires?

Sebastian Cuvelier: “Since the inception of the Aralunaires, we’ve taken the risk of doing the opposite of what the big festivals do, big headliners playing big stages. The goal here is not to bring the audience into the halls, but to bring the artists to the public! And for that we decided to let artists play ephemeral and unusual concert venues with small measuring devices to create a close and emotional bond between festival-goers and artists.”

RTBF culture: In a church or in a swimming pool, concerts usually take place in surprising places. What are your favorite places this year?

Sébastien Cuvelier, programmer: “On weekends, the concerts take place in private houses during the day. We call it The Lab: it’s a free artist journey in fashion Musical discoveries. Spectators will go from house to house. The artists play in summer houses, in living rooms, in garages… It depends a bit on the group and the place. A concert at home doesn’t happen every day, so it’s quite an unusual concept!

My favorite place is a 19th-century spiral staircase located in an old building that happens to be the Arlon branch of the University of Liège. In this building there is an old wooden and steel staircase and we will put the audience on the stairs and the band will play down there. The idea is to see the group from above. Loudspeakers and lighting will be installed on all floors. It’s a mini-concert because it includes 90 people, but it’s sure to be an unforgettable moment. We’ve done it several times and it’s always been a great success.

At first it was not easy to convince artists to play in unusual places in Arlon. We’re proud to see that in 13 editions, the Aralunaires have gained real legitimacy on the festival map.

RTBF Culture: What is your absolute favorite from this year’s program? Knowing that this is always the trick question to ask the programmer of a festival, who has carefully selected each of the groups represented on the poster…

Sébastien Cuvelier, programmer: “This year there is an English group called “Caroline” that I like a lot. They’re 8 musicians, they’re from London and it’s a pop rock band that makes very unstructured, minimalistic and positive songs. These are artists who have rehearsed and recorded all of their tracks in squats in North East London. When we found out that they were releasing a new album, we immediately wanted to invite them because we felt it fit perfectly into the concept of our festival. We will let them play in an old warehouse of a former furniture store in Arlon. This place will be destroyed soon, the concert will be unique.

You can also see many Belgian artists there: Antoine Wielemans, Judith Kiddo, Marcel, Jean-Paul Groove, Ana Diaz, Slamino, Tukan and many others. More information about the program here!

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