ESCAPADES is a musical reintegration project in which (ex-)prisoners, people in psychological care or in drug-related rehab homes work together on a concert series.

The project was founded by the non-profit organization Music Projects For Brussels +. In collaboration with C.R.I.T. (l'Équipe ASBL), Service Laïque d'Aide aux Justiciable, the linking place Club 55 and the prisons of Haren, Ittre and Oudenaarde, 'escapadists' produce, based on maximum self-reliance and with respect for democratic basic principles, surprising and high-quality classical concerts at La Tricoterie. Third year running !!!

Breaking down barriers, building bridges

ESCAPADES initially arose from the twofold desire to break open the often closed classical music world by organizing concerts bottom-up on the one hand and giving an audience a taste of an art form with which it is unfamiliar on the other.

Classical music can be (and remain!) socially relevant if it is willing to democratize a bit as a 'high cultural asset': “The idea that classical music should be made accessible is a misconception. The music in itself is open to everyone, we humans sometimes make it inaccessible,” says Patrick De Clerck, the driving force behind Music Projects for Brussels, who now receives support from the many private and public institutions in Brussels.

Eight years ago, ESCAPADES ventured into its first edition: a series of 20 concerts in prisons, psychiatric and rehab centers. For the 2.0 edition, an explicit search was made for a possibility to play a supporting role in the return of detainees and psychiatric patients to society: organizing concerts in 'the outside world', autonomously and bottom-up. For many, the ESCAPADES concert series serves as a bridge, a foothold in the fragile time after their release or reintegration.

Often it is possible to find paid internships in eg. Bozar (Belgian Biggest Concert hall amongst others), but also simply having contacts in the outside world and structuring the often formless time that escapadists have after, for example detention, turns out to be very valuable.

The ESCAPADES trajectory: the reintegrative power of classical music. Anyone who commits ( about 30 to 40 in detention, 10 in care) to an ESCAPADE signs up for a process that spans several months. Starting from a healing-to-wellbeing idea, we experiment with developing an inclusive, self-organized concert series. Every journey starts with the basics: listening. In weekly sessions, the escapadists get the chance to make a small musical journey of discovery. Together they listen – sometimes for the first time – to the music of Bach, Haydn, Cage or even Goeyvarts and Fafchamps. Ideas are exchanged about the pieces of music and the performers and it is decided which works will make it into the final concert program and which soloists will be allowed to perform them. Which is remarkable; escapadists and true connoisseurs often share the same predilections. “Even without prior knowledge, people just feel what is good and which musicians or composers have the quality of being authentic.”Once the program has taken shape, a new step follows that gives escapadists insight into the 'backstage' and teaches them to manage. Agreements must be made, budgets respected and contracts drawn up. Escapists do all that themselves. Everyone has their own unique qualities and is encouraged to use them to put together an unforgettable concert evening.

Koen, ex-prisoner from Vorst prison, took part in the very first ESCAPADES and is now helping to support the new trajectories. “The trajectory appealed to me because it really colors outside the lines of the regular reintegration projects. It brings people together to listen, speak and offer advice on a topic they would not otherwise come into contact with. It gives them the opportunity to escape from everyday life for a while.”

Frédéric also looks back on ESCAPADES with a warm heart. After his stay in a psychiatric center, he came into contact with the trajectory thanks to C.R.I.T.: “I was already interested in classical music and it was recommended to me by C.R.I.T., this was the ideal opportunity to get to know this world close by. I chose the music with the others, and on the day of the concert I helped unload the van and set everything up on stage. It was very exciting to visit the Brussels Conservatory, to see how the musicians are preparing and being busy backstage!”.

And then there was time to harvest: concerts from September to June

After months of hard work it is ready; the ESCAPADES concert series that treats the audience to concise (+-60 minutes) but also surprising, varied and accessible concerts.

We start September 24, and end May 26. Themes will be: Angel/Demon, Barock, Orgasmatic, Dance Dance Dance, Adieu, Magritte, Lubimov, Contrasts, River and Love. 


 50 detainees, 200 patients from mental health or drug-related homes. 2% recidivism after an Escapades trajectory. 1 person, no new act, failed to understand a rule.

9 years Escapists

The first real live edition was a series of 14 public concerts in 2022 and 2023, thanks to increasing support.

For the 2022-2023 season we are planning 14 concerts outside the walls. 1 concert per track in the institutions.

In 2023 ESCAPADES rolled out in Flanders and Wallonia, approximately 20 sessions with a group of detainees will take place in the prison, with 1 concert in the prison, and the same concert in a cultural space near the prison. BV: prison of Bruges and Stadsschouwburg or Concertgebouw.