For the third summer in a row, legendary techno club Fuse has decided to leave its headquarters in the Marolles for a day-time outdoor music bash. Crossroads 2019 takes place on Sunday, 30 June, under a motorway in Anderlecht, and we spoke to Fuse boss Olivier Ramoudt about the carefully curated line-up, marrying concrete with greenery, going eco-friendly, and more.
Why the decision to leave the darkness of the club and throw a festival under the sun?
Because we love nature at least as much as concrete and we want to offer the Brussels crowd a nice alternative to the long summer festivals. And also because three years ago we finally found this fantastic spot that checks all our boxes: rough and natural at the same time. It’s exactly what we were looking for for a techno festival.
What’s the concept?
A friendly gathering of like-minded people loving electronic music. Enjoying techno in the daylight, sharing some good times and smiles with friends in an unusual and very nice location that’s easily accessible for everyone.
How did you find the location?
Actually a friend of the club said: you should go and have a look there… and then it was love at first sight. It was very difficult to obtain the permits. You have to remember that back in 2016, when we did the first edition, Brussels was still recovering from the terrorist attacks a couple of months before that. So the police wasn’t exactly waiting for an event with a lot of people under a set of bridges….. But in the end, with some added security measures, we were given a go.
What’s the setup like?
The idea here was to find a way to really make concrete meet grass. Concrete is kind of the symbol of underground clubs, industrial music, … It’s something that doesn’t move and that is rough. But we wanted this concrete, which is a big part of our DNA, meet the grass, a symbol of ecology, respect, love, family, … Everything at the festival is made of recycled objects and materials. We want to be as eco-friendly as possible, which is why we banned many materials and found solutions for lots of little improvements that make the festival stand out. What we wanted was to have all of these aspects of our DNA in one place: underground music and atmosphere meeting an eco-friendly and respectful festival.
Belgium’s music festival calendar is extremely packed for such a small country – why did you want to add another one to the list?
Quite simply because there’s nothing quite like Crossroads on the calendar yet. It’s an inner city festival you can easily go to by tram, taxi, bicycle, on foot…. and we feel that musically there’s so much out there which is just not being lined up in the same context anywhere else. We’re a boutique festival with attention to detail and a ticket price that won’t break your bank account.
What do you think it adds to the Belgian festival landscape?
It’s a festival curated with care and made with love. We want our audience to enjoy artists they know but also to discover lesser known artists who we are convinced are worth it. It’s also a festival that happens in Brussels, while most summer festivals take place quite far away from our hometown. There’s no similar offer in the Belgian landscape so we feel there was a spot to make xrds a reality.
You wrote in your promo “Guaranteed no fireworks, 100% focus on what is really essential”. What’s essential for you?
The recipe is easy, and it’s the same one that started the story of Fuse. Talented and authentic artists with a strong identity, a very good sound system, and efficient and smiling bar staff for everyone to enjoy a good moment with their friends. We want to put the audience at the center of our attention, for example by giving out free fruits and water. We also believe in the importance of respecting nature and making this festival as green as we can.
How would you describe the general direction of the line-up? What’s your personal highlight and why?
It’s a quality line-up with artists worth discovering if you don’t know them yet. Simply said, just trust us 🙂 We wanted a balance between local talents and international artists as well as between established and emerging or under-the-radar ones. Brice, the curator, says this: As a booker I shouldn’t answer this but my personal advice would be: dare to check out what Cuthead has under his sleeve. The guy is a pure genius and will take you from hip-hop to house music with a strong influence of US grooves.
It’s the third edition – have you adapted certain things? Has something changed?
Staying as close as possible to the main credo of the festival: “curated with care, made with love”. Changing and improving all the time of course, more toilets, a better sound…
Do you have an escape plan for when it rains?
We chose this particular location because of the two massive bridges we’ll be partying underneath. It’s the perfect solution: you’re covered from the sun if it’s too hot, and from the rain as well if we’re unlucky with the weather.
Crossroads 2019, 30 June 2019, 13-22h00
Avenue Marius Renard, 1070 Brussels, Belgium