Portrait in Portugal

Author: Artur Soares da Silva
Date: Jul 16, 2008
Views: 2422

Portugal has been a key figure in the trance scene. Recently its fame of having the best European open-air festival season is stronger than ever. While Nordics can feed us all with an industrial amount of music production, in Europe’s West Coast the main concern is partying in tolerant atmosphere.

Boom Festival is the paradigm of a psychedelic festival, every two years since 1997 it brings to Portugal thousands of people from the worldwide community. Furthermore in 2007 Portugal revealed Freedom Festival as other type of trance festival produced in this country. With an attendance of 12 000 it was simply the biggest psy-trance festival in Europe in 2007 beating Sonica in Italy and the historical VooV (VuuV) in Germany.
And if we consider that both Boom and Freedom will happen every two years, we can conclude that all trance punters will be heading to Europe’s West Coast annually to attend to summer festivals. What reasons can explain that this country of ten million inhabitants (with five million emigrants living abroad) has such a strong reputation in this scene?


We can explain it with three different reasons. The first and obvious reason is the weather. For instance the beautiful and exotic Portuguese capital Lisbon has an annual average temperature of 18° Celsius and 2700 hours of sun exposure annually. In the psy-trance subculture the open-air factor is essential and Portugal have a pleasant weather all year long. This leads to people coming to Portugal not only to attend to festivals but also to enjoy holidays on a sunny, cheap and exotic climate.


Secondly, this is a country built on the influences of Europe, Africa, Brazil, Muslim and Iberian influences. These multicultural inputs are deeply rooted in the DNA of the people and in the art, architecture and culture. The consequence is a country that is a sum of its past influences so you don’t feel that European standardized mood while being here. Time is slower, people are lazier, there is more chaos, its not a full formatted place…


Thirdly is the quality of the events, mainly Boom Festival. Based on the psy-trance scene it has evolved ever since and is now a platform for different art forms, activists, freaks, lecturers, visionaries, party animals, tribes, artists, neo-mystics, to name just a few. Boom became an intercultural (and intersubcultural), intergenerational and multidisciplinary event feeding up the global psychedelic scene of new concepts. Moreover its independent ethos (not accepting corporate sponsorships) is an activist role model to the general trance scene.


These three lines of explanation can give an overview on this country reputation in the worldwide scene. Here it all started in 1994. Almost 15 years later there are parties on a weekly basis, labels, DJs (watch out for DJ Anestetic) and renowned producers (Menog being on top), media exposure, the scene is widespread - the trance subculture is a part of the Portuguese social tissue and one of the main music forces.


And some people don’t even enjoy the music anymore but still like the spirit of the scene, which lead us to a noble conclusion: trance movement here is also rooted on a symbolic level within Portuguese society spreading values such as freedom and contact with nature. But above all this is and always be a place for partying, for festivals, for having fun in Europe’s sunny West Coast.

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Artur Soares da Silva
Journalist and owner of boxer called Enky.

Author: iguanna / Date: 29.08.2008 13:58:53

Everything is great in this post, but as Portuguese i vant agrre with
"..., people are lazier,..."!!!
Man we are not lazier, thats what it seems inside the boom festival, because you are so close to nature, and close to that spirit that you describe, so you pay more attention to things and situations itself.You become much more relaxed, and in synthony with life.

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