While holidaying in Madeira, we couldn’t resist dipping into a day at this festival. It runs over 4 days in all, Friday & Saturday on consecutive weekends in July, from early evening and into the wee hours on each night.
Most striking about the audience was the youthfulness. It was crammed with many young teenagers, presumably mostly local. Wonderful to see them having such a good time in a safe, well organised environment. In all other respects it was the usual festival vibe with beers reasonably priced at €5 for a large beer. The location made it unique, with a vista of the wonderful mountainous resort of Funchal behind the main stage.
Having been given a wristband following ticket scanning, I was able immediately to put money onto the wristband-chip from my credit card. I’ve only seen this done at festivals abroad (going back 6-7 years) and have always been surprised this highly efficient process isn’t adopted at UK festivals.
The line up was entirely Portuguese artists, so great fun watching a bunch of artists completely new to us. Each of the sets was an hour long so, plenty to get our teeth into.
Joao Borsch - sporting a wedding dress. First song solo, then took to the drums as band sauntered on. The outfit made for a curious drumming spectacle. Songs veered between crashing drums and showtime-style songs (think Lemon Twigs) A few songs into the set, they did a song with a dance-loop with the band standing down except for bass player – the spoken vocal gave it a like Yard Act feel
Van Zee - highly accomplished Portuguese rapper, playing his hometown gig. Songs all in Portuguese, as was the to and fro chanting with the enthusiastic crowd, interspersed curiously with a response from VZ “that’s how we roll”. Happy/smiley performance; happy/smiley crowd !
Bárbara Bandeira - the Caroline Polachek of Portugal. Had the whole arena in the palm of her hand with her pop-infused balladry. Best show of the night
Jovem Dionisio- most interesting band of the night. From the first couple of numbers we were expecting an indie guitar set but they moved into a more abrasive style which, while whilst intriguing seemed to lack a little direction. Left us thinking that a position earlier in the bill may have been more appropriate.