Welcome to Internationaal Folklorefestival Westerlo

About our festival

Shortly after the foundation back in 1956, folk art group Die Spelewei vzw organized the first local harvest festival. This event was soon getting bigger and it became the Internationaal Folklorefestival of Westerlo. As such, it is one of the oldest folk dance festivals of Belgium.

In front of the late-19th century castle, the festival is organized every year midst August. Five amateur folk art groups from all over the world take part in this festival to show their culture through traditional dances and music.

Participating dancers and musicians stay in host families. The families became very special for the festival because their hospitality is praised by the participating groups over and over again. In return, these families have a wonderful time with their guests during six days. The visiting groups get a unique chance to experience the Flemish way of life. That is why the folklore festival of Westerlo always is an event never to be forgotten by the participating groups and host families.

Internationaal Folklorefestival Westerlo is a member of CIOFF and IOV. These memberships can be seen as quality labels for our festival.


Interested groups can use our application document. Please download it, fill it in and send it back to us by e-mail to festival@diespelewei.be. We will contact you in less than a month.


In 2016, the festival is programmed from Friday 12 August to Wednesday 17 August.

The core program consists of 3 shows. All groups perform on Saturday evening, Sunday afternoon and Tuesday afternoon. But our festival is much more than these stage performances. We have a complete program, full of interactions, to make it an unforgettable experience.

Preliminary program

Friday all day Welcome! The visiting groups arrive
evening All groups and host families gather for some informal dances and a drink
Saturday morning /
Participants spend time with their host families; for example, to make a short excursion
late afternoon Musicians do the sound check
evening Evening show
Sunday afternoon Afternoon show
Monday afternoon Fun for all... in the International Games of Westerlo
evening We offer a buffet dinner for participants, host families and volunteers
night Workshops to learn each other's dances
Tuesday afternoon Afternoon show for seniors
night Disco party for the active; chat cafť for the relaxed
Wednesday all day It's over... all visitors leave

During the 3 shows, the public can have a look in the merchandising goods of the interested participating groups. Also, children can play traditional games, go to the bouncy, or have their faces painted.


Westerlo is a village of 24,000 inhabitants in the province of Antwerp, in the region of Flanders (the Dutch-speaking community of Belgium). It is located 50 km from Antwerp and 60 km from Brussels.

The weekend shows take place in the nice front yard of the beautiful town hall of Westerlo, a castle that used to be the residence of the countess Jeanne de Merode.

The show for seniors is in an indoor hall. In case of bad weather, the shows of Saturday and/or Sunday will be hosted in the indoor hall as well.

Artistic requirements

All folk dance performances must be to live music and with traditional costumes.

Groups prepare a performance of 20 to 25 minutes. Each group will perform at every show. Performance material should be varied as much as possible.

Practical information for participating groups

Outdoor setting

The weekend shows take place on a temporary outdoor stage in front yard of the town hall / castle. All facilities such as stage lighting, a side stage for musicians with microphones and separate dressing rooms for each participating group are provided. Also there is a concession area and emergency first-aid area.

The dance stage has a surface of 8 x 7,30 meters. Next to it, the musicians have a stage of 6 x 2,50 meters.

Indoor setting

The third show is in the indoor hall. It has facility services such as stage lighting, a front stage for musicians with microphones and dressing rooms for each participating group.

Rules and regulations

You can request our conditions for participation by email

Application form

You can use our application document. Please download it, fill it in and send it back by e-mail to festival@diespelewei.be

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Leuke filmpjes van voor, tijdens en na het festival... via het Festivalkanaal op YouTube!