BIG BANG history

BIG BANG is a vibrant music festival for young audiences. For them, several large cultural centres in Europe transform themselves into an adventurous musical labyrinth. On its exploration, the young audience is confronted with and treated to a colourful musical programme of concerts, installations and workshops. During BIG BANG, musicians from various genres and styles search for the best way to present their music to children. But BIG BANG is not just a festival for, but also with children. For each edition, a professional musician will enter into a dialogue with young instrumentalists or singers and share the stage with them.

The festival builds on the legacy and achievements of the children's music festival OORSMEER, founded by Wouter Van Looy in 1995. With OORSMEER, a place was created for an artistic music programme for children, in which contemporary music forms were given a place. The first edition in Vooruit Arts Centre in Ghent immediately proved the success of the original festival formula, which was quickly followed. OORSMEER found its way to many cities in Europe, including Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges, Hasselt (Belgium), Utrecht, 's Hertogenbosch, Amersfoort, Leeuwarden (Netherlands), Lille, Angers (France), Zurich, Bern, Winterthur (Switzerland). 

With BIG BANG, OORSMEER started a new chapter in 2010. Zonzo Compagnie, the organisation behind OORSMEER, gathered six enthusiastic European partners around it and renamed the festival the international BIG BANG - European music festival for a young and adventurous audience. With the support of the European Union, the structural cooperation between different cultural houses from different regions in Europe became a fact. Since 2010, BIG BANG has taken place annually in Brussels (BOZAR), Lisbon (Centro Cultural de Belém), Stavanger (Stavanger Konserthus) and Lille (Opéra de Lille). Since 2014, BIG BANG has also travelled to Antwerp (deSingel) and since 2015 to Athens (Onassis Cultural Centre), Hamburg (KinderKinder) and Seville (Instituto de la Cultura y las Artes de Sevilla). In 2015, BIG BANG Festival was awarded the EFFE label, and was awarded the prestigious EFFE award. In 2017 the festival will also take place in Enschede (Wilminktheater). Click here for more info on the past festivals. 

In 2018, the project receives support again through the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, this time for 4 years. Zonzo Compagnie can continue to build on the BIG BANG story with loyal partners BOZAR (Brussels, BE), Muziekcentrum De Bijloke (Ghent, BE), deSingel Internationale Kunstcampus (Antwerp, BE), Centro Cultural de Belém (Lisbon, PT), Instituto de la Cultura y las Artes de Sevilla (ES), Οnassis Stegi (Athens, GR), Opéra de Lille (FR), Wilminktheater & Muziekcentrum Enschede (NL) and new partners The Ark (Dublin, IE), Eesti Kontsert (Tallinn, EE), City of Reykjavík (IS), Opéra de Rouen (FR) and AAP Media (Antwerp, BE). In 2019, the festival crossed the ocean for the first time for a Canadian edition at the Centre National des Arts/National Arts Centre (Ottawa, CA). In the coming years, Opéra de Rennes (FR), Stormen Concert Hall (NO), Abbaye de Neumünster (LU) and Borne Kulturhus Ama'r (DK) will also jump on the BIG BANG train.

For the programming of each festival edition, Zonzo Compagnie works closely with the local culture houses. The original festival concept of OORSMEER has been preserved, inspired and challenged by the European partners. In the wake of the festival, they meet to exchange ideas and projects and set up co-productions. An inspiring interaction in function of a common mission: to make the riches of the music world accessible to children in an adventurous way.