Soon....Koen & Christel

The title of the photo here is a little misleading. It really should be titled United States to Belgium. The couple pictured have become an integral aspect of touring musicians in Western Europe. Koen Vandenhoudt and his wife Christel reside in Antwerpen and for the better part of 2 decades have opened up their homes, their venues, connections and funding to countless numbers of musicians (not only from the states but around the world). Traveling to the small town of Hasselt (about 40 minutes from their home residence of Antwerpen), Koen is part of a smalll team that directs and programs music, film and general performing arts for kunstencentrum BELGIE (kunstencentrum meaning art center). Amongst musicians it is notorious for being one of the most hospitable and artistically friendly environments in Europe. On the the other side, Christel works to coordinate budgets, logistics and human resources for all the cultural centers in the city Antwerp (I think at least 9 of them). I personally have been able to perform in Hasselt with The Exploding Star Orchestra and Loose Assembly. I also have been inspired by both Koen and Christel’s commitment to being very hands on in the production and hospitality of the performers and showcases they present and support. Of course over time they have endeared themselves to a who’s who of contemporary music. Although they have worked with many artists from around the world there seems to be a great relationship and affinity for Chicago related folks. Some of these relationships extend to the likes of musicians such as

Jeremy Jacobson, Matt Lux, John Herdon, Fred Anderson, Jeff Parker, Ken Vandermark, Jeb Bishop, Hamid Drake, Rob Mazurek, David Grubs, Dave Rempis, Corey Wilkes, Fred Lonberg Holm, Kevin Drum, Josephine Foster, Sam Prekop, Chad Taylor, Matana Roberts, Noel Kopersmith, Doug McCombs, Dan Bitney, Kent Kessler, Tim Daisy, Town & Country at large

This is just a small example of their relationship with Chicago folks, which doesn’t even include so many more (I think they even do an annual Fat Cat records fest).

Anyway, a few years ago they started keeping a guest book of musicians who they’ve hosted at their home in Antwerp. Although we did not play in Haselt Koen did connect us with the afternoon show at Café Vertigo in Antwerp.  Both Him and Christel also did a great job getting the word out for this early (4pm) show. We had a great time playing and of course being in the company of very committed and inspiring hosts.  I’ve included some photos of photos and wishes from their guest book; you may recognize some of the people.

Christel and Koen, thanks again hopefully we’ll be able to show you the same in Chicago!


Here are SOME of the Chicgao based folks that are represented in the guest book (pitcutres of pictures and pictures of words).

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