I’ve made articles on the biggest music festivals all around the country, from the warm electronic Meo Sudoeste, Lisbon’s very own Super Bock Super Rock and the huge NOS Alive, and the northern indies Primavera Sound and Paredes de Coura. This series was dedicated to those kinds of festivals, the largest ones! But. I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to write you about a festival very close to me: my hometown’s Festival F.
This festival is located in Faro, where I was born, so I it’s a setting I am very familiar to. F started about four years ago as just a small music event inside the wall of the old castle, in Vila Adentro (old town Faro), and in every consequent year it has grown larger and larger, hosting not just music but theater, comedy, discussions and many other events. It’s tagline is The last of the big summer festival, due to it being held at the beginning of September, and even though it’s not as grand as NOS Alive or Meo Sudoeste, it has really gained a lot of traction, with its ever growing line-up and a beautiful venue.
F is of Fun.
Faro is the capital of Algarve, the southern region of Portugal, well known for being a great vacation destination. In Faro, near the docks and the downtown area, is Vila Adentro, a piece of history preserved inside the remnants of the old castle's walls, here is where the festival takes place, which I find kind of ludicrous (in a good way), because no other festival is held in such a location, even though it is a bummer when the narrow old streets fill with people between concerts! The festival’s first edition was only held in the main square in Vila Adentro, Praça Afonso III, but it has expanded to almost very corner of the old town, like the Sé, the Museum, the local Musicians Association, even a bit to the outside of it, on the Largo de São Francisco, with a view of the gorgeous Ria Formosa.
Entrance to the venue, near the Sé (cathedral).
The festival doesn’t have an official camping site, which is kind of a let down, yet it is normal in most festivals located in cities. But being a city in Algarve, Faro has a lot of different options on hotels, hostels and other places of the sort. Faro isn’t hard to reach, since a lot of different transportations (buses, trains and highways) can lead you there, and the festival it self isn’t hard if you don’t go there by car, well it’s not hard to get there, just hard to park. But there are buses that regularly take passengers to the festival during it’s three day duration.
Main stage at Festival F.
There are both things I like about the festival’s lineup and things I dislike. I really enjoy the fact that this festival is purely composed of portuguese artists! Just portuguese! And only this year was the first where they repeated some of those artists, that is very rare on festival of this scale! I of course also enjoy the fact that such a big cultural event is taking place on Faro, it really is great to see to many of its residents take the night off to enjoy the music. And you’ll have a lot to enjoy! Since F has brought to it’s line-up really great musicians like Dead Combo, Manel Cruz, Ana Moura and Salvador Sobral!
Salvador Sobral at Festival F.
But the plethora of things to see also has to due with what I dislike. Festival F is a very family oriented festival, so for that I understand the need to have a myriad of events, but the festival has too much to offer (which may seem like a strange complaint). This year the festival held seven stages! That’s more than NOS Alive! With music, comedy, discussions, street performances, workshops, exhibitions, and more. And on a festival held in tight streets, having too many things to see can be overwhelming. So my advice is to avoid the more crowded moments (like after a concert ends) to move around. But don’t be discouraged, you won’t regret the Fun you’ll have with Festival F.
Street performance at Festival F.
All of the pictures were courtesy of the official Festival F Facebook page.
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