Watou - Kunstzomer 2020 - Gedicht van Peter Verhelst op het Watouplein

Watou Arts Festival from 3 July to 5 September

The City of Poperinge is enthusiastically and hopefully looking forward to the 40th edition of the Watou Arts Festival in 2021. Lovers of visual arts, poetry and open spaces are once again welcome in the border village and its unique environment from Saturday, 3 July, to Sunday, 5 September.

Photo: Michaël Depestele

What we are experiencing now is that we are looking at the summer of 2021 with a special intensity and imagination. (Benedicte Goesaert)

Alternative in 2020

The City of Poperinge took on the organization of the Watou Arts Festival in 2020. The artistic management of the festival has been entrusted to a unique trio of curators: Benedicte Goesaert (art liaison), Chantal Pattyn (net manager and presenter Klara) and Peter Verhelst (author).

The 2020 edition was forced to get postponed by a year, but was given an alternative interpretation: the ‘Watou Poems Trail 2020’. The cycling route in and around Watou and Poperinge led the public through 15 poems, selected by Peter Verhelst; each of which was given a specific place in the scenery. The poetry collection ‘Watou 2020, poems’ was also published in collaboration with publishing house Borgerhoff & Lamberigts.

Looking forward to the summer with hope

The City of Poperinge and the curators are now looking forward to the summer of 2021. The preparations for the 40th edition of the Watou Arts Festival are in full swing. The start and end date of the festival have been set for Saturday, 3 July, and Sunday, 5 September.

I especially hope that we can share it with as many people as possible, with as many artists as possible. (Chantal Pattyn)

The world will not be completely free of the corona virus this summer. The organization therefore takes eventual measures into account and will adjust the practical operation of the festival accordingly. For example, there will be a restriction on the number of visitors per day and per part of the day, and also per location. The route itself has a larger distribution with a nice variety between various locations. The festival co-workers will raise awareness among the visitors to respect the guidelines.

The Watou Arts Festival furnishes a special dialogue between visual art, poetry, scenery and locations, which are full of character, every summer. The organization aims for an inspiring, connecting and relaxing 40th edition. The city and the curators will consult with the village of Watou and the Poperinge community to realize this. The festival can also count on the support of generous sponsors and partners.

Very curious how people will take all their time to look, to feel, to think, to look again, to read. (Peter Verhelst)

Experimental section

The City of Poperinge was awarded a subsidy by the Flemish Government last year for the research project “Watou 3.0 – Back to the community”. The city is looking for a vision for the future of the festival as from 2022 and onwards, under the curatorship of Koen Vanmechelen. The experimental phase of the research project will start in the summer of 2021. More information in this regard will follow very soon.

[post published on Monday 18.01.2021]

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