A city festival on the origins of the cosmos? There's only one way to start – and that's with a BANG! Spend the launch weekend exploring the gorgeous Park Abbey like a cosmonaut, enthralled by the video mapping, light installations, and soundscapes, eager to learn more. Like in space, you’ll feel like a giant and a mere speck, at once – reminded that you’re forever part of an even greater whole. Thrum to the earth-shattering beats of our drumline at the Biggest Bang, vibe to the stellar strains of polyphonic music, and gaze at the stars at a sparkling Star Party.
- FRI 15.10 from 5 p.m. to 12 p.m.
- SAT 16.10 from 13:30 p.m. to 12 p.m.
- SUN 17.10 from 15 p.m. to 12 p.m.
As soon as darkness falls – around 7:30 p.m. – the light trail shimmers to life.
Launch weekend admission is free!
Discover the abbey from a different, darker angle. Stroll through a mysteriously illuminated setting, spurred on by the curiosity of a true space voyager. Everywhere you turn, there are striking images, inexplicable lights, and enigmatic sounds to captivate your senses. Transported to the farthest reaches of the artistic light universe, you’ll feel like a giant and a mere speck, reminded of how you are forever part of an even greater whole. A torch is a must on this mysterious adventure.
- Daily from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
- Trail departure: Mariapoort (the first gate on the Geldenaaksebaan side)
- Trail length: 1.5 km
- Solid footwear is required and we recommend a small pocket torch.
Artists Nele Fack, With Other Words, Bram Lattré, 88888, Tamar Frank, Niels Bloneel (AMyn), Staf&stiel, Studio Sandy and tBEDRIJF ft. Marjolijn van Heemstra
Production VDB PA, Beam Inc., Staf&stiel, Studio Sandy and 30CC
Thanks to EAP, Stad Leuven, Vrienden van de Abdij and Wonen en Werken
THE BIGGEST BANG
Saturday is the big day, and we’re opening with a bang! The beats of countless Leuven percussion ensembles will shatter the stars from the heavens at Park Abbey in concerts spread across the Neerhof. After that, it’s time to team up and polish your ‘drum sticks’ for a cosmic composition directed by Jo Zanders and Tom Permentier. That’s right. We need your help! Collect your best home, garden, and kitchen ‘drums’ and play with two hundred seasoned percussionists – including the Big Bang Band, assembled specially for the launch – in a musical sensation sure to be remembered for ages to come.
- SAT 16.10
- Drum bands: from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
A banging performance by DROM, Three Been Wèh (aka Fabotastix), SLAC Drumband, Barabanda, De Madammen from Ipanema, Moltov and Baguette.
- The Biggest Bang: from 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
- Location: Neerhof
ALAMIRE FOUNDATION – PARK COLLEGIUM
Park Collegium is reviving a fantastic musical heritage. With bits and pieces gleaned from various compositions in the Mechelen Choirbook, they’ve composed an all-new polyphonic mass – a piece never heard before. This madrigal music from the Flemish Renaissance comes straight from the antique pages of the Mechelen Choirbook. This melodic masterpiece is the master calligrapher Petrus Alamire’s sole manuscript, preserved in Leuven for over 500 years.
Park Collegium explores the polyphonic music of the 15th and 16th centuries as a living laboratory at the intersection of artistic practice and scientific study.
The internationally renowned Alamire Foundation is a pioneer in the study of music from the Low Countries. The Foundation unites musicians and scholars in the study of polyphony and the Gregorian tradition and brings this music to life through Park Collegium’s own house ensemble.
- Daily at 6 p.m., 8 p.m., and 10 p.m. (30 min.)
- Location: Park Abbey Church
Peer through a telescope to search the galaxy for new stars and brand-new worlds. It’s the perfect occasion to discover the cosmos in a down-to-earth way. Around 15 telescopes are available for you to journey to the moon’s craters, Venus, and other celestial bodies with your feet firmly on the ground. And don’t forget the constellations and the North Star! The ‘party’ is ongoing and free of charge for everyone aged six and up. Be sure to dress warmly to keep out the evening chill.
- Daily from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
- Location: Parkweg
- The Star Party only takes place in clear weather.
Abbey carillonneur Luc Rombouts invites you to transcend to a higher plane with his heavenly carillon concerts every day. Travel the celestial bodies, carried along by the music’s pull: ‘Here Comes the Sun’, ‘Moonlight Shadow’, ‘Life on Mars’ …
- Daily from 5:30 p.m. to 5:50 p.m.
LIBRARY OF VOICES – CAPPELLA PRATENSIS
The ambient soundscape that greets you in the beautifully restored Library of Voices at the Norbertuspoort (Norbertine Gate) soothes the soul. The voices of Cappella Pratensis resurrect the 16th-century Gregorian chant of Antifonarium Tsgrooten (Antiphonarium of Tongerlo). Antonius Tsgrooten was the abbot of Tongerlo who commissioned this musical masterpiece in 1522. And it wasn’t until the seventeenth century that his illuminated manuscript fell out of fashion. All in all, it’s a testimony to the eternal youth of Gregorian chants.
The Library of Voices is a contemporary rendezvous point, where books, digital images, and sound intersect, waiting to be discovered with cutting-edge technology.
- Daily from 5 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. (15 min.), starts every half hour
- Location: Norbertuspoort
- Only accommodates 15
Immerse yourself in the wondrous world of stars and planets in Volksterrenwacht Urania’s planetariums, where you’ll also learn more about Georges Lemaître. Voyage through the starry sky in a planetarium programme brought to life by an expert guide. The first three time slots in the large dome are uniquely designed for families with children.
- Daily from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
- Location: Neerhof
- Large dome: presentation (30 min.)
- Only accommodates 40
- Small dome: Continuous Georges Lemaître presentation (15 min.)
- Only accommodates 20
TO INFINITY AND BEYOND – A KIDS’ INSTALLATION
What could be better than introducing the next generation to the world of science, space, and art? Enter the BANG installation, where kids can run wild and discover!
A spaceship makes an emergency crash landing on earth – in Park Abbey. Needing repairs, the ship sends out an SOS for help. Who’s ready to lend a hand? ZANDZAND is on a quest for children brimming with kid power, imagination, and creativity. The ship depends on it to return to its voyage of space exploration. Equip the toolkit of your imagination and lend a hand on Saturday and Sunday.
- SAT 16.10 from 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
- SUN 17.10 from 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
PARCUM EXHIBITION OPENING
Park Abbey is an exceptionally well-preserved 12th-century heritage site on the outskirts of Leuven, surrounded by lush green nature. And it sets the stage for your visit to PARCUM’s exhibition An Eternal Gaze. The exhibition invites you to explore our origins – how we got here – from the lens of religion and spiritual experience.
Opening: Friday, 15 October at 6:30 p.m. (until 10 p.m.)
On Saturday and Sunday: open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
During KNAL START!, you pay only half the price. You can order your ticket in advance.
Musa Horti has been associated with Park Abbey for over 25 years, where it rehearses every Sunday evening. 33 dedicated singers make up this vocal ensemble, directed by Peter Dejans since its establishment in November of 1989. Their mission is to actively seek out rarely performed, elite music from all eras – especially contemporary choral pieces – driven by a fervent and insatiable desire to tread new, unexplored ground.
American saxophonist Don-Paul Kahl will be joining the ensemble especially for the occasion. Set in the majestic Park Abbey Church by moonlight, it promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime dynamic artistic experience.
- SAT 16.10 -> SUN 17.10, at 6:45 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. (60 min.)
- Location: Park Abbey Church
BAR & FOOD TRUCK
And of course, you can enjoy some delicious drinks and bites on-site.
Don't miss out on the KNAL! beer, created for the festival by the abbey brewery Braxatorium Parcensis.
- FRI 15.10: 17.00 - 23.00 h
- SAT 16.10: 13.30 - 23.00 h
- SUN 17.10: 15.00 - 23.00 h
- Location: Tiendenschuur
FOOD TRUCK ALFALFA
- FRI 15.10: 17.00 - 22.00 h
- SAT 16.10: 13.30 - 22.00 h
- SUN 17.10: 15.00 - 22.00 h
- Location: Neerhof
There will also be a bar and food stand on site.
- Entrance via Geldenaaksebaan.
- At the abbey, there's a bicycle parking lot and a (small) disabled parking lot. However, access to the abbey site is difficult if you're wheelchair-bound.
- The bus stop 'Heverlee Abdij van Park' is less than 100 meters from the entrance.
- Plenty of standard parking is available in the Philipssite underground car park.
Most activities are free of charge and open to all. You only need a ticket for the expo 'Eye to Infinity'. During this opening weekend, you pay half the price.
Abdij van Park (Park Abbey) 7
+ 32 (0)16 27 44 80