As the summer and music festivals approach, PDV reviews this year’s highlights featuring Peter Gabriel, Radiohead and Bruce Springsteen as well as top alternative names and many more besides.
When sunnier days arrive and summer approaches, music lovers know the festival season is about to begin. Festivals usually mean hours under the scorching sun, backpacks stuffed with bottles of water and sandwiches, shaky tents, moshing bruises and a satisfied smile after some great concerts. PDV handpicks the top music festivals in Portugal and reviews some of the line-ups:
Optimus Primavera Sound
When: 7,8, 9 and 10 June
Where: Parque da Cidade, Porto
Price: Day pass: €35 Thu; €50 Fri and Sat; 3-day pass €99
Festival goers rejoiced when Barcelona announced it would come to Portugal: Optimus Primavera Sound is the first Portuguese edition of the well-known Barcelona-based festival taking place in Porto’s Parque da Cidade this year. Four stages will receive a line-up that includes acts like britpop outfit Suede, Psychedelic icons Flaming Lips, alternative rock giants Yo La Tengo, and reference bands like Spiritualized and Saint Etienne. Sunday will be the day for several concerts by Portuguese bands split between two of the city best venues: Casa da Música and Hard Club. Tips on how to get to Porto and where to stay are available on the festival’s website. Expect people to flock to Porto not only from Portugal but also from all over Europe. Crucial tip: do not forget your Wayfarers!
Super Bock Super Rock
When: 5, 6, 7 July
Where: Herdade do Cabeço da Flauta, Meco
Price: Daily pass €45; 3-day pass with camping: €80
Super Bock Super Rock is one of the best known festivals in Portugal with a laid-back atmosphere coming from its fresh line-up and the summer breeze wafting from the nearby Meco beach, South of Lisbon. After a day under the sun, enjoy concerts featuring heavyweights like Peter Gabriel, new up and coming artist Lana del Rey, alternative bands The Shins and Battles, and rock outfit Incubus. This will also be Regina Spektor’s second visit to Portugal. Beware of the dust: this festival is known for the huge amounts flying all over the venue despite the organisers’ efforts to keep it down by watering the ground.
Organisers usually provides several special buses and trains to festival-goers coming from Lisbon, but schedules haven’t yet been published. Note that access to the venue clogs up very easily therefore arrive as early as possible or pitch up your tent there.
When: 13, 14, 15 July
Where: Passeio Marítimo de Algés, Oeiras
Price: €53 day pass; €105 for a 3-day pass; Camping: €16 (only for owners of 3-day pass)
Launched in 2007, Optimus Alive 2012 is now one of the most known festivals in Europe. It was hailed one of the best picks in 2008 and 2009 by British music magazine NME because of its cheap tickets, quality line-up and Lisbon’s mild climate, whereas festivals elsewhere in Europe usually mean rain and cold weather. Expect crowds – this is one of the biggest festivals in Portugal – and a varied public. Highlight for electro fans: the festival is known for taking great care in putting together its secondary stage line-up, usually featuring several electropop bands.
This year, Alive welcomes influential British rock band The Stone Roses and The Cure, French electronic music duo Justice, British pop band Florence + the Machine and much-awaited headline act Radiohead, expected to draw in hordes of eager fans.
As this is an urban festival, the venue is easily accessible by train using the Cascais train line that connects Lisbon to Algés. Camping facilities are provided: an additional €16 ticket allows any festival-goer to pitch their tents on a 4-star camping park, connected to the venue via a free bus shuttle that runs between 4pm and 5am.
Cascais Music Festival 2012
When: 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27 and 29 July
Where: Hipódromo Manuel Possolo, Cascais
Price: variable – see website for details
More a series of concerts than a festival, the Cascais Music Festival nevertheless brings together many names that will draw crowds to the city of Cascais, west of Lisbon. British band Keane, glittery trio Scissor Sisters, trip-hop singer Erykah Badu, the singular voice of Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons, and The Smiths icon Morrissey are some of the acts on the program. The Festival offers interesting deals for some gigs, with dinner at renowned local restaurants or even hotel accommodation for one night. More informations at Ticketline.pt.
Marés Vivas TMN 2012
When: 18-21 July
Where: Praia do Cabedelo, Vila Nova de Gaia
Price: €30 daily ticket; €50 4-day pass
Held in Cabedelo Beach in Vila Nova de Gaia, Marés Vivas TMN is a smaller festival with that vibrant summer atmosphere. Unpretentious, the festival offers stunning panoramic views over Porto and the Douro and gigs by British Franz Ferdinand, 90s icons Garbage, or rock legend Billy Idol. There are several ways to get to the venue, with a free shuttle from Vila Nova de Gaia and General Torres train stations and regular bus connections from Casa da Música station on the Porto Metro network.
TMN Sudoeste 2012
When: 1-5 August
Where: Zambujeira do Mar
Price: €50 day pass; €95-5-day pass; €20 per car camping supplement
To many, TMN Sudoeste 2012 means sun, beach and friends. Held near Zambujeira do Mar in the western Alentejo, the festival usually appeals to those looking for a laid-back environment and music. The line-up has something for everyone: reggae musician Ben Harper, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, indie pop sensations Ting Tings and dub collective Thievery Corporation will all be there. Bear in mind however that Sudoeste is now known for the overwhelming number of drunk teenagers wandering around aimlessly. The best way to get there is by bus to Zambujeira do Mar or by train to Funcheira, where a bus connection to the venue is available for €10.
EDP Paredes de Coura 2012
When: 13-17 August
Where: Tabuão River Beach, Paredes de Coura
Price: €43 one day ticket; €83, 4-day pass
One of the most emblematic music festivals in Portugal, EDP Paredes de Coura celebrates its 20th edition with another alternative line-up. Regarded by many as the surviving doyenne of summer festivals, it brings together Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Belgians dEUS, British rock band Kasabian, Portugal’s Dead Combo and Swedish band Whitest Boy Alive among others. Camping is advised, so bring your tent and enjoy the beach along the Tabuão river, where thousands of festival-goers might end up going for a swim if the weather allows. Despite being held in August, Paredes de Coura, is known for its rainy climate.
Rock in Rio Lisboa 2012
When: 25 and 26 May; 1,2,3 June
Where: Parque da Bela Vista, Lisbon
Price: Day pass – €61
Self-proclaimed biggest festival in Portugal Rock in Rio kicks off the festival season with a line-up that caters to fierce metal fans and families alike. Metal fans are expected to invade the festival on the first day as metal giants Mastodon, Brazilian band Sepultura and iconic Metallica take to the stage. Rock band Evanescence will also play on the first day while popular acts like Billy Corgan’s Smashing Pumpkins or pop band Maroon 5, teenage-friendly bands like Linkin Park, The Offspring and Limp Bizkit , living legends like Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams and Lenny Kravitz make up the second day’s eclectic line-up. Besides the main stage Palco Mundo, Rock in Rio also has three smaller stages: Palco Sunset is mainly dedicated to Portugeuse bands, Palco Eletrónica Heineken is for electronic music fans and Palco Rock Street is home to alternative sounds ranging from jazz and rock to street music.
Getting to Rock in Rio is easy as the festival is located in Parque da Bela Vista at the heart of Lisbon. Metro station Bela Vista is the best way to get to the festival and there will be special trains and several buses before and after the festival. A single Metro costs €1.10 in Metro, a single bus ticket €1.75.