What some may not know is that Portugal is a haven for music lovers, especially in the summer! The Portuguese summer is teeming with sites to explore and things to do, like the beautiful golden beaches or the incredible green hills. But! If you’re more of a “listener” than a hiker, then I’ve got some great suggestions for you!
For those more into jazz, EDP Cool Jazz is a must! During July, Cascais holds this magnificent seven-day festival in the beautiful Marechal Carmona park and the adjacent racecourse. Over the years, the festival has counted with the presence of many big names in the world of jazz (and its many variants). That has made this festival a household name, even if it’s not as popular with the younger audience as some others in Lisbon or Porto.
Cascais is known as the wealthy counterpart to Lisbon. It’s located to the west of Lisbon- after the mouth of the river Tejo, hence, the called “Linha de Cascais” is full of beaches and marinas. And near the Cascais Marina is where EDP Cool Jazz is held. In a spacious park called Marechal Carmona, built in the peak of romanticism, thus looking very lavish and diverse, counting with a noticeable population of chickens and ducks. Besides the park, some of the main concerts are also held at the horse racecourse right next to it, its grassy field and stone stands are perfect for the venue. And if you get there early, you’ll be treated with jazz concerts by smaller bands in the open park, a much more intimate affair to be honest.
This part is tricky, and, in my opinion, is one of the festival’s shortcomings. To get there from Lisbon is easy, the above mentioned "|Linha de Cascais," takes you from Cais do Sodré to Cascais itself, and since it isn’t a huge city, you can pretty much walk there (takes you about 10min). The problem is getting back since by the time the concerts end, the train has already closed, and to my knowledge at those hours there aren’t other public transports available, so your only option is a taxi or other chauffeur services.
In here lies my other problem with EDP Cool Jazz, their lineup is excellent, but they don’t have a full festival pass, only day tickets can be bought, which are kind of pricy. But you’ll probably find a specific day that interests you most, since they have been trying to expand on the many variants in jazz, and even some other genres. You can either see a more soothing, vocal jazz like Norah Jones, or something soulful like Gregory Porter. But they also have modern jazz acts like BadBadNotGood or Snarky Puppy, a lot more rhythmic and groovy. And if you’re still not too convinced they’ve even surprised audiences with concerts from new wave artists like Nouvelle Vague and electronic classics like Kraftwerk. One thing that may or not bother you, is that EDP Cool Jazz divides its audiences depending on what type of ticket you buy; the more expensive ones grant you access closer to the stage but in a sitting area, while the other tickets aren’t sitted but are farther from the stage. I recommend checking which day you want to go and see if those bands are more suited to a sitting experience or standing up.
So feel free to experience the many music festivals Portugal has to offer like this one; for more tips on other festivals check some of my other articles, or read the "Music Festivals in Portugal" one by my fellow editor Vasco.
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