About us

Via Lactea vzw is a non-commercial and transborder management and event agency for artists who are active in the scene of contemporary and alternative world music. In 2000, Via Lactea was founded as a small booking agency for very specific acts within the alternative world music scene
(mestizo). Thanks to the support of cross-border cultural programs such as Interreg IVC and the EU’s Culture Programme, and a neatly outlined long-term approach, Via Lactea has now become an innovative and solid management and event agency which is respected in Flanders and beyond.

Via Lactea is:
Piet Decoster / Managing Director / piet[at]vialactea.be
Trui Dewaele / Managing Director / trui[at]vialactea.be
Daan De Bruyne / Booking Agent / daan[at]vialactea.be
Thijs Vandewalle / Production & Booking Agent / thijs[at]vialactea.be

Our four specific artistic objectives are:

1. For Via Lactea vzw to be a creative platform for artistically innovative and transborder musical productions within the world music scene: musicians are asked to work creatively around specific social themes and issues. Exploring the role of borders and whether or not these borders play a role in defining one’s cultural identity, and the possible necessity of this definition. Looking at how and why the degree to which currently existing cultural differences between regions (language, religion, …) are problematized, when in fact these differences can be very stimulating and fascinating artistically. Our basic point of departure, however, remains the artistic framework of the musician: there is a cultural exchange between the different traditional musical styles the artists are familiar with (e.g. rumba, sevda, tarantella, brass or accordion). This exchange has to lead to an artistically fascinating, accessible and contemporary collaboration. Examples are Orchestre International du Vetex, Balkan Banquets, Mafiasko Taxi, …

2. For Via Lactea vzw to be a small-scale, non-commercial and transborder management agency and advisory office for musicians who are active in the specific field of world music: Orchestre International du Vetex, Amparo Sanchez/Amparanoia, Mafiasko Taxi, … The artists and musicians who participate in our musical productions are coached and monitored on a long-term basis, within an international context. The artists are carefully monitored throughout the entire artistic process and during the production phase (inventing and initiating the production, artistic preparations and the recording of CDs, production, distribution, publishing, inventing a concert strategy, …). Additionally, we also provide customized services for guidance with administrative issues (such as artist status, copyright, VAT, …) with which our artists are confronted. Because of the international context, we spend much attention to the human aspect of management. In this sense, Via Lactea wants to distinguish itself from other commercial management agencies: the added value resulting from the transborder artistic experience, together with the attention for a solid processual approach (with attention for the different participating musicians) supersedes a purely outcome-driven approach.

3. For Via Lactea vzw to be a small-scale label for alternative world music. With our noncommercial label, we want to give the artists at Via Lactea a cross-border distribution channel, together with the opportunity to bring their music to the attention of a wide public.

4. For Via Lactea vzw to be a non-commercial booking agency for alternative and transborder world music. We make sure that lesser known artists operating in the world music scene (La Troba Kung-Fu, La Kinky Beat, Ojos de Brujo, Spook & the Guay, …) are brought to the attention of festivals, cultural centres and clubs in Flanders and beyond. Crucial is a clear artistic direction (alternative world music and style-transcending world music) and the fact that Via Lactea wants to introduce these artists into the Flemish musicscape. These four specific artistic objectives are the result of the specific transborder context in which our organization was founded in the South West Flemish town called Avelgem: Via Lactea operates in the fascinating ‘Euro-metropole’ Kortrijk-Doornik-Rijsel which, as a meeting place between southern, Latin influences on the one hand, and Anglo-Saxon influences on the other, occupies a unique place within a European cultural perspective. Concretely: with contemporary world music, Via Lactea wants to convince both artists and public to look beyond their own region, and to find artistic challenges abroad.
Also in Flanders, world music is still too often considered to be rather regressive and traditional. When thinking about world music, we often think about names such as Youssou N’Dour, Buena Vista Social Club, … Without wanting to undermine the artistic merits of these artists, Via Lactea has always wanted to be a platform for contemporary and lesser known artists in the world music scene, who transcend different musical styles. At the same time, we invite these same artists to collaborate in new artistic projects within the context we have outlined above.

During the past ten years, this is how Via Lactea vzw has succeeded in adopting a specific position within the Flemish cultural scene: a small-scale but well-founded management and event agency for transborder and alternative world music artists. Thanks to Via Lactea, many bands have already found a way into the Flemish cultural scene. A number of our artists (e.g. Orchestre International du Vetex, Amparo Sanchez) have even won international approval.

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