Newsletter – April 2015 | Portuguese festivals

Summer is finally coming, and Portugal is getting ready to welcome thousands of visitors. We’ve told you about 570 miles of Atlantic coastline, our new stylish, locally owned hotels and the vibrant nightlife. But what’s a summer without music festivals?

As you are about to find out, Portugal offers perfect conditions for visitors who want to top their beach/cultural/historical vacations with some great music. The country’s geography and well-developed transportation infrastructure make it easier for guests to add one or two festivals to their plans. And there’s plenty to add! From jazz to rock, dance, classical, reggae… you name it. We got it, and with top bands and performers.

In this newsletter, we provide you with a selection of some of the most popular music festivals in Portugal, but there are many more. Not all line-ups have been closed, but the following list will give you an idea of just how dynamic the music scene is becoming there.

In our next newsletter, we will tell you all about the unique traditional summer fests and celebrations.

As always, we are more than happy to provide you additional information!

Rock on!


Pre-summer | May & June


Indouro Fest | region: Porto & Norte | dates: May 2-3

Headliners: Clinic, British Sea Power, Toy, Yuck, Lola Colt

Inaugural year. So the bands are not international cults, but the location is something else. The festival is held at the Monastery of Pilar dos Mouros and Morro Garden, boasting the most amazing view of Porto, the Douro River and its iconic bridges. The line-up is mostly made of pop and rock indie bands.


Estoril Jazz – Jazz on a Summer day| region: Lisbon | dates: May 9-17

Headliners: Roseanna Vitro, Kenny Werner, Sean Jones, Ricardo Toscano, Opus 5

On its 34th edition, the festival takes place at the historic Casino do Estoril. The casino served as a meeting point for both the Allies and Axis spies during WWII (Portugal was a neutral country) and the town itself became a safe haven for the European royals who found exile there. Today, Estoril is considered one of the rich suburbs of Lisbon. Luxurious homes, great cafes and restaurants, plus the Tamariz beach with great nightlife in the summer.


NOS Primavera Sounds | region: Porto Norte | dates: June 4-6

Headliners: Interpol, Caribou, Damien Rice, Banda do Mar

Price range: 70-105 for a 3-day ticket

Primavera Sounds started in Barcelona in 2001, and came to Porto in 2012 (Best European Destination of 2014). The venue is the city’s urban park (‘Parque da Cidade’), which is the biggest of its kind in the country – a beautiful open-air site by the sea, with great public transportation to the city center.


Summer | June – September

Sintra Festival | region: Lisbon | dates: June 20-July 11

Headliners: the venues!

The village of Sintra is classified as World Heritage. Famous for its palaces, hilltop castle and picturesque town center, this festival has secured the most amazing sites. It is certainly a privilege to watch a dance/classical music performance in places like the National Palace of Queluz, the Quinta do Ramalhão Palace or the monastery at the Penha Longa Resort. On its 49th edition, the festival’s theme this year is the “Universality of Romanticism”.


Sumol Summer Fest | region: Lisbon | dates: July 2-4

Headliners: Buraka Som Sistema, Rudimental Live, Richie Campbell, Tove Lo

Nothing but good vibes at Sumol Summer Fest. In fact, the festival’s motto is “Music, surfing, beach and friends”. It takes place in the charming fishing town of Ericeira (25 miles away from Lisbon), which has become the surfing mecca of Portugal and probably the best surfing spot in Europe. Visitors can stay at a camping site boasting amazing views over the famous surfing beach Ribeira D’Ilhas, with free shuttles to the venue.

Festival Musa Cascais | region: Lisbon | dates: July 2-4

Headliners: Groundation, Steel Pulse, more TBD

A nice reggae festival in Carcavelos, a popular beach town, 12 miles away from Lisbon. Great surfing too!


EDP Cool Jazz | region: Lisbon | dates: July 1-30

Headliners: Mark Knopfler, Lionel Richie, Caetano Veloso & Gilberto Gil

Hot summer nights, beautiful parks and excellent music. The Cool Jazz festival is hosted in two beautiful venues in the seaside town of Oeiras (10 miles from Lisbon): the new Parque dos Poetas (“Poets’ Park”) and the gardens of Marquês do Pombal, which dates back to the 18th century. This town offers a great variety of traditional restaurants and beaches.


NOS Alive | region: Lisbon | dates: July 9-11

Headliners: Muse, Alt J, The Prodigy, Mumford&Sons, Metronomy, Disclosure, Future Islands, Ben Harper, James Blake

NOS Alive only started in 2007 but it’s already the shining star of the music scene in Portugal; it was considered one of Europe’s best festival by international media like The Guardian, Times, Mixmag and NME. The venue is an open-air riverside lot, on the Algés maritime promenade. The city center is 8 minutes away and the beaches of Carcavelos are only a 15-minute ride. The festival features an urban art space, where new artists can use recycled materials.


Super Bock Super Rock | region: Lisbon | dates: July 16-18

Headliners: Sting, Blur, Florence & the Machine, Milky Chance, Noel Gallagher

This is one of the most iconic festivals in Portugal. This year is the 20th edition and Super Bock Super Rock is moving back to Parque das Nações, a renovated riverside area of Lisbon, built from scratch for the World Exhibition of 1998. There are many attractions in this part town, such as the popular Oceanarium, the Casino of Lisbon, restaurants, bars and a shopping mall. It’s only a 10-minute subway ride to Lisbon International Airport.

MEO Marés Vivas Festival  | region: Porto e Norte | dates: July 16-18

Headliners: Lenny Kravitz, John Legend, Jamie Cullum, John Newman, Ana Moura

It started in 1999 and has made a name for itself with a great diversity of lineups every year. The venue is located on the bank of the Douro River and is easily accessible from downtown Porto. It has been called a low cost festival: you can get a 3-day pass for $65.


FMM Sines World Music Festival | region: Alentejo | dates: July 17 – 25

Headliners: Ana Tijoux, Soema Montenegro, Toumani & Sidiki Diabaté

This charming town in the beautiful coast of the Alentejo region is actually Vasco da Gama’s birthplace, the famous Portuguese navigator that sailed to India for the first time in the late 15th century. This non-commercial festival was born in 1999, aiming to show the musical diversity worldwide as way to honor the intercultural contacts made by the Portuguese sailor during his travels. The most iconic venue is the city castle. Since its beginning, the festival has had more than 800.000 visitors.


Óbidos International Piano Week | region: Centro, Leiria | dates: August 2 – 14

Headliners: Paul Badura-Skoda, Boris Berman, Artur Pizarro, Jun Kanno

One of the most charming medieval towns of Portugal. Just being there is a whole time-traveling experience. Visitors may listen to world-class musicians and students may actually take lessons with them.

MEO Sudoeste Festival | region: Alentejo | dates: August 5 – 9

Headliners: Hardwell, Steve Aoki, Calvin Harris, Lil Jon

Since 1997, Sudoeste (Southwest) has been of the biggest summer festivals in Portugal. It takes place in the fishing town of Zambujeira do Mar, in the beautiful coastline of the Alentejo. Like all big fests, there are several stages; but, year after year, it seems like the organization is making this more of a dance festival. Access to the camping park in the venue is included in the global pass.

Freedom Festival | region: Alentejo | dates: August 11 – 16

Headliners: several DJs

Here’s the official description: “During 6 magical days, the Portuguese hot Summer will become the scenario for this ritual of ascension, where thousands of hearts will join together to create a festival full-filled with Love, Union, Peace and Psychedelic Music.” Great location; woods, a lake and even a Tipi hotel.

Neopop | region: Porto e Norte, Minho | dates: August 12 – 15

Headliners: Sven Vath, Dixon, Martinez Brothers

Great dancing festival in the northern town of Viana do Castelo. The intro video on the website speaks for itself!

Bons Sons | region: Centro | dates: August 13 – 16 August

Headliners: Salto, Oco, Nice Weather for Ducks

Set in the Templar city – Tomar – this festival has been around since 2006. It claims to be the biggest Portuguese music festival. The true magic of this event, however, is the dynamics between the visitors and its 1.000 locals. The Aldeia de Cem Soldos is a very typical Portuguese village with very strong traditions. The locals are eager to engage and invite visitors to their homes.

Maré de Agosto | region: Azores | dates: August 21 – 23

Headliners: Matisyahu, The Black Mamba, Mariza, Selah Sue

It all started with a jam session in 1984, as if often does. Three years later, the festival was on at the Formosa beach, in the Azorean island of Santa Maria. A great program for tourists vising the Portuguese archipelago.

Forte Festival | region: Alentejo | dates: August 27 – 29

Headliners: Paul Kalkbrenner, Front 242, Ben Klock, Ellen Alien

Dance music meets the castle of Montemor-o-Velho, a national heritage site. Please Google this castle and imagine thousands of people dancing the night away there, against a video-mapping backdrop!

Festal do Avante | region: Lisbon, Setúbal | dates: August 4 – 6 September

Headliners: TBD

This festival has been around since 1976. The Portuguese Communist Party organizes it and it’s a mix of music, art, cuisine and political debates. There are 5 stages and a massive camping ground. Hundreds of thousands attend. This is a true festival case study.

Need more? Just log on to


Miguel Carvalho

Portuguese National Tourist Office

866 Second Avenue, 8th Floor – New York, NY 10017

V: +646 723 0213

Jayme H. Simoes

Louis Karno & Company Communications, LLC

V: 603 2245566 x19


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Newsletter – April 2015 | Portuguese festivals