It all started about eight years ago, on an average Friday night at the Oosthoek youth club in Dilbeek. Three friends were playing some music on a calm Balkan Music Night. That small gig was a huge success and after that, we never stopped playing together. Our band has grown considerably, too: we now have nine members. We’re called BOROKOV and we play energetic Balkan and Kletzmer music to liven up any party.
2018 looked to be a calm year for our band. We hadn’t planned any major gigs – until we received an unexpected e-mail asking if we were available on 29 and 30 June, signed by Couleur Café. We’ve played many stages before, but never a festival this size. Needless to say we were all looking forward to this new experience.
Fast forward to the big day of our performance at Couleur Café. We were scheduled to play in the Secret Bar, a secret, Eastern Europe-themed bar where festival visitors could party to Balkan music and drink shots of vodka. The Secret Bar was cosy and small – the ideal setting for a good party. We were to perform three times on the first day of the festival.
When we started playing our first set, only a few people were watching. We hadn’t expected much of an audience due to the mysterious location and the fact that it was still early, but then more people started to come in. Even the BRUZZ reporters showed up to take some pictures. Our first set was a success, and the atmosphere was just unbelievable.
About 1.5 hour later, we began our second set. This time, our audience was significantly larger. We couldn’t tell if they came for the band or the location, but we clearly recognised some faces from our earlier performance. They wanted more! The Secret Bar went wild and the energy level didn’t go down for a second during the entire show.
At 11pm, it was time for our last set. The crowd of festival goers was packed so tightly that we could hardly make our way through the masses to set up our instruments. And again, we saw some familiar faces. Yes, some people came to see all three shows and cheer along to our Balkan tunes.
As soon as the first note trumpeted through the speakers, the cheering almost overpowered our drummer and our wind instruments together. This promised to be an exhausting set. And that’s exactly what it was: alcohol flowed copiously and there were more T-shirts on the floor than on people. The climax? Everyone went crazy when we played the summer smash hit ‘Bella Ciao’. But unfortunately, the party came to an untimely end: security told us the audience was getting too excited and things were getting dangerous. Despite the abrupt end to our third and last party, it was absolutely worth it. This was a festival adventure to remember.
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