Party don't stop: Belgium's Ghent festival still draws the crowds

GHENT, Belgium (Reuters) - Despite of a wave of militant attacks in Belgium and elsewhere in Europe in recent years, the city of Ghent continues to host one of Europe’s most popular urban music and culture festivals.

Known locally as the Gentse Feesten, the Belgian city will see over a hundred thousand people gather on the biggest nights of the festival’s 10-day run, filling the city’s squares and streets until late in the evening.

In total, the festival is expected to draw over a million people from Belgium and around the world to Ghent, which also boasts splendid renaissance architecture, canals and medieval churches.

With a range of music venues and bars, the city goes through a daily routine of partying into the night followed by a big clean-up, before it all kicks off again the next day.

“Good music, great atmosphere, really lovely people. It is perfect,” said Daan Uytterlinde, 23, a student from Antwerp who visited for three days with a group of friends.

Despite fears that tourists would be put off visiting countries that have suffered Islamic State inspired attacks, figures from local transport company De Lijn point to an increase in visitor numbers to Ghent this year.

“On every stage you can listen to different kinds of music. You can choose between jazz, pop, rock, Latin I think it’s awesome,” said Maria-Julia Lopez, a 21 year-old Italian and Spanish Literature student from Spain.

The festival period includes Belgium’s national holiday on July 21 and ends on the evening of July 23.

Editing by Toby Chopra