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For a year now, Astrid De Sterck has been music programmer at Ancienne Belgique. She listens carefully and searches for potential in music and bands, trying to respond to the demands of the city. Located in Brussels, she calls it a complicated and beautiful city where the complexity of the everyday problems of the city are reflected in the cultural events. With a new project coming up called ‘Braindance’, Astrid wants to focus more on electronic music at Ancienne Belgique. The name is obvious and clear: she wants to make your brain dance like never before. With a lack of venues nowadays in Brussels, she’s willing to try and create new opportunities at Ancienne Belgique for the younger generations, as demonstrated in April when the Toestand organisation was allowed to take over AB as a sign of protest.
Photo by Jill Verhaeghe
I believe you learn the most from seeing a lot of different things in a lot of different places
What’s your speciality?
Music. I don’t write or play, but I listen.
How do people know you?
Most people know me from concerts. I go to a lot in Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent, and visit many festivals. I think it’s very important to always keep your eyes and ears open for new things. I believe you learn the most from seeing a lot of different things in a lot of different places.
Do you have a concert coming up?
Yes, I have a couple of upcoming concerts in June. Pitou and Jay Som are playing 5 June, and together with All Eyes On Hip Hop, I’m promoting J.I.D. & Earthgang on 6 June. In summer we’re closed to the public because people prefer going to festivals. But this year we’re making an exception for Patti Smith (looking forward to that one!).
From my internship at Beursschouwburg on I knew this was what I wanted to do in life
Do you think it’s important to have a good social entourage?
I don’t feel like being part of a real ‘crew’. I have a lot of colleagues of course, and I feel part of a strong team. A good social entourage is one of the most important things to develop yourself in your work. I learned a lot from my colleagues, because they’re very open and encouraging. But it’s also very interesting to talk to other promoters and organisers. We’re all colleagues in a way, and we can learn a lot from each others’ experiences.
Who has most influenced you in life?
It’s difficult to point out one person whose influenced me. I’ve always felt like situations and important moments made me who I am today. One of those moments was when I started my internship in Beursschouwburg, one of my favourite places in Brussels. That was my first professional experience. From that moment on I knew this was what I wanted to do in life.
Do you feel the need to conform to those around you?
As a programmer you always need to conform to the public in a certain way. You’re responding to a demand of the city, like we did with the Brussels hip hop scene.
Is there anyone in your scene who needs more attention?
Yes. At the moment there aren’t enough places/locations to organise events like Recylart used to. It’s very important to create new opportunities. Last month Toestand took over AB for one day, to make a statement.