Barcelona and Brussels were competing to hold this festival held every four
years. On 30 October, the Sing Out Brussels! choir’s bid, supported by
Sing Out Brussels! is an LGBTQI+ choir created in 2018, with international
ambitions. “We see ourselves as the singing ambassadors of the Brussels
LGBTQI+ community, both in Belgium and abroad”, explain Marina Belotti and
Christophe Cordier, who are responsible for the Various Voices 2026 project. “So, for a year and a half, we prepared our bid to host this festival, which brings together around one hundred choirs and almost 4,000 choristers from all over Europe, but also North America, Asia and Oceania”.
visit.brussels supported the bid as part of its Support Programme.
“Indeed, Brussels, the capital of a country that is at the forefront of LGBTQI+ rights, has always been open to diversity”, say Frédérick Boutry, responsible for LGBTQI+ tourism strategy and Margaux Huvelle, Meeting Expert. “In addition to
illustrating the values of openness that the Brussels-Capital Region promotes,
this festival, with over 10,000 overnight stays in Brussels, will have an extremely
positive impact on Brussels’ tourism sector, which is very good news”.
The festival’s slogan is “Let your heart be heard”. “By singing together in the
capital of the European Union, we will send a strong message and clear signal to the countries where our community faces repeated attacks”, explain Marina
Belotti and Christophe Cordier. The highlight of the festival will be the “Let Your
Heart Be Heard” evening, in the European Quarter. That evening, all the
participating choirs will perform a piece composed for the occasion. The festival,
organised over five days in June 2026, will be open to the city and its population. Furthermore, in addition to concerts planned in venues, free events will take place in the open air, in particular on the Grand-Place, as well as in the capital’s streets and parks.
The members of LEGATO, the European Association of LGBTQI+ Choirs, and its
Board decided between the candidate cities via an online vote. Sing Out Brussels! gotthe results on Saturday. Brussels, therefore, follows in the
footsteps of London, Dublin and Munich, which hosted the previous editions. The next festival will take place in Bologna, in June 2023 (postponed by a year due to the coronavirus crisis).
“For 18 months, the pandemic has silenced choirs and cultural life. Brussels’
tourism sector has also suffered enormously. This project, which aims to bring
together the LGBTQI+ community and the population of Brussels around
mutually-held values, helps us look to the future and gives us a lot of hope”,
conclude the heads of the Sing Out Brussels! choir.