Meet the Psytrance Conquerors in PORTUGAL

The complete story about Trance in Portugal!

Author: Artur Silva
Date: May 5, 2005
Views: 3260

Meet the Psytrance Conquerors in PORTUGAL

Portugal is a crossover between Europe, Africa, Latins and the Atlantic, between 1st world lifestyle and traditional ways of life; a place with beaches, nature and wounderful and wild spots for psychedelic experiences. Is psy-trance a part of portuguese culture? Well, we don’t know but the History of this country has a lot of trips to the unknown…


1096: Afonso VI from Castela gave a piece of land on the northwest of Iberian Peninsula to a french (D. Henrique), due to his support to expell the muslims out of the Peninsula.

1143: Treaty Of Zamora. That piece of land became independent from the Kingdom of Castela (nowadays a part of Spain). A new country is born: Portugal.

1249: Definitive expulsion of the muslims from portuguese territory (their influence remains today everywhere)

1415: Beginning of portuguese sea findings. They landed on Ceuta, Madeira, Azores, Cape Vert, Guine, Sierra Leoa, Tanger, Sao Tome, Calecut, Angola, Mozambique, Goa... Unfortunetely it was associated with opression of other cultures due to catholic ideals and an ideology of ethnocentrism.

1500: Landing on Brazil

1543: Portuguese in Japan

1820: Liberalist Revolution

1910: End of Monarchy and beginning of a Republican political system

1926: Beginning of Fascism

1962: Goa become independent from Portugal after 5 centuries of colonisation.

1974: Democratic revolution that put an end to fascism and gave independence to the african colonies

1994: First Psychedelic party in Portugal!


Portugal has a population of 10.5 million people and around 3 million emigrants living worldwide. Portuguese people is very gentle and warm, and while old people loves their glass of wine the youngsters are cool party animals!!


  • Urban Mood: The 2 biggest cities are Lisboa and Porto. Both have plenty to give, but every city of Portugal has its history and character to discover. Don’t hesitate to walk around…
  • Natural Places:North: Some highlights are Gerês, Moledo, Luso, the boat trips along Douro river starting in Oporto. This city has a special atmosphere it’s the only city of the country that was never conquered by foreigners along the history, which shows the strong culture of the inhabitants of Oporto. We can also check Serra da Estrela (near the city of Guarda) or all natural parks in Portugal because they have an exotic wilderness and ilimited visions…
  • South: Near Lisboa you have the mystical village of Sintra and its natural park, which is a place connected with exoteric practices since the Eneolitico. Also excellent are Guincho beach, Árrabida, the whole region Alentejo and Ericeira (for surfing).
  • Lisboa is seductive and amazing and has nice weather 9 months annualy. It’s a mix of arabic, european, romanic and portuguese aesthetics and is completely turned to its river: Tagus. The best way to know Lisbon is by foot and you’ll find its incredibely light, colours and its hills where on the top of it the young enjoy to meet, drink and smoke. Always with their eyes into the Atlantic and the river…
  • Best beaches: In the north water is cold but the surrounding are more urban, so we suggest you to go through the southwest, to the a region called Alentejo.
  • From Porto Covo to Sagres you’ll find great beaches, pitoresc villages and excellent fish. Please make a car trip along and we assure you that you’ll be amazed..
  • Hot Places to Watch: Lisboa, Porto, Aveiro, Évora, Coimbra, Sintra, Gerês, islands of Madeira and Azores, Southwest beaches.


Great fish and seafood, but if you are vegan or vegetarian this is not a good place place for you: there isn’t a big market of this type of food, despite the large number of consumers. If you are in Lisboa check a restaurant called Oriente (situated in the neighborhood of Chiado).


The culture of wine is as important as football, which is the biggest social phenomenon in Portugal. So you’ll find a wide spectrum of different wines and as far as our concern you have to check the wines from the regions of Douro, Alentejo, Palmela, Minho and Madeira. Green wine from Minho is a very nice partner for after-partying…



  • Lisboa: The Bairro Alto neighborhood is a must for its incredible pub scene with all urban tribes represented. Every night starts there. There is also a good club circuit for different types of music (house, electro, reggae) with clubs like Lux, Frágil, Kremlin, Paradise Garage. If you want a piece of afro vibes try club B.Leza and club Mussulo. In Portugal people go to pubs from midnight to 4 am and then everyone go to clubs, which are open untill 7-8 am, or to outdoor parties that last untill …the end of the weekend…!
  • North: The Oporto city has an incredible impact on dance music culture with super-clubs like Pacha, Vaticano, Maré Alta or Hard Club. It’s the biggest place for house and drum’n’bass, and has a strong trance culture. Trance people in Oporto are more freaky than their trance-partners from Lisboa.
  • South: The city of Lagos, known for its psy-rock gatherings in the 70s and 80s, is a good place to visit. The rest of Algarve is not nice…

The Trance Scene

The first psy-trance parties started in 1994, by Good Mood, in a time when there was an explosion of house and techno parties in clubs, castles and warehouses. It was the beginning of a new portuguese youth culture suported by dance music.

Untill 1997, the trance scene remained underground but in this year it happened the first Boom Festival showing to the portuguese crowd the global character of the trance movement: travellers, mind expanding culture, free expression, great music... Also in the same year new party promoters entered on the scene (Hipnose Productions) joining Good Mood in the party activity that was based in Lisboa and its surroudings.

Together they built a regular circuit of parties with top artists in great places and untill 2000 the scene was incredible: nice crowd, good music, good places for parties, no problems with authorities. Around 2000 psy-trance became the hype on portuguese dance music which brought all the attentions on it and suddenly everybody was a trancer: from the top-model to the hip hop guy, from actors to thiefs...

It was around this time that the taste of the crowd also changed: people started to prefer a more linear based music, strong, stuppedelly commercial and not deep, humoristic and with fantasy. Today you don’t find a trance crowd that have the will to explore new paths on music, they like the easiest and the strongest (like everywhere, I think…).

Nowadays psy-trance is widespread, you can find psy-crews in every city of the country with DJs, parties and its own vision of the psychedelic movement. It is also an important part of the biggest music festivals (like those where you see Bjork, Herbert, Moby or Chemical Brothers) but despite its strongness, music sales remain low.

OK, Boom Festival is THE Party in Portugal, of course. But weekly you have parties everywhere, some commercial others underground. The vibe is BIG!!


Djs: Dio (psy-music), Diogo (psy-tech trance with prog attitude), Dream Lab Crew (downtempo), Fluxo (melodic full-on), John-E (prog-tech-housey-trance), Menog (full-on), Migas (psy-dark-trance), Miguel Ferro (minimal), Pena (prog-psy-trance), P_Mac (full-on), Paulo (One of the most underground DJs and very unique: he is blind and his gigs are a psy-experience)

Live-Acts: The music production only started massively in 2000, so expect some more years to see a good portuguese music community. Audialize

(full-on-old-skool), Faktor-D (prog-psy-trance), Menog (full-on), Membrana (dark), Suria (full-on), Tjak (Ethno-chill music), Zero Sequence (psy-old-skool), Zoom (prog-psy-0trance)

Image Wizards:Tyart(most creative and experienced décor artist), Pedro Feijão (great optical creator, more related with psychedelic painting and acidic graffiti), Bitnix (crew of VJs that makes visuals for trance parties and also for club scene), Mario Belem (Good graphic designer, check

Labels:Flow Records, Ketuh Records, Crystal Matrix

If you are looking to a alternative shopping you must go to a neighbourhood called Bairro Alto, in Lisboa. Here you’ll find many shops (including Good Mood Bazar and Cine Paraíso) and also an excellent nightlife!


Date: May 5, 2005
Text: Artur Silva
Photos: andre & lisa @,
Taken from: The Trancers Guide to the Galaxy 2004


Doc Sonic informs

Drug use is not criminal in Portugal but there are some rules. You can’t have more than a daily piece of drug to consume which includes cannabis, cocaine, E, LSD (where is it?…)… If you are caught with an excessive amount of these substances you will be presented to a doctor and registered by the police. Beware with cops, if you are foreigner they like to show their authorities and normally they are low culture people. But you can’t be arrested if you are smoking a joint!





Artur Silva

Music Journalist on Dance Club Magazine

Have a Good Time All The Time



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