Waking Life, Portugal’s most secretive electronic music festival

3 minutes to read

Waking Life is a five days arts and music festival, hidden away in the dry lands of Crato, Portugal. Mythical and secretive, this 24-hours day and night non-stop rave came to life with a first and successful edition in 2017. Set around a lake with enough sunshine, mystery and shade, the quiet location makes this intimate electronic music festival unique.

My own exploration with creative writing and electronic music started exactly one year ago with the first edition of Waking Life. It is the very first story I ever wrote: Waking Life - Chapter 1 - The Birth of a new Community. No wonder I feel the call today to dedicate a page on Itinari about the festival that gave me the final push and confidence to explore my own creative journey.

A mythical place where the boundaries of time and space are limitless. A place with hidden realities waiting to be unveiled, in the endless plains and mountains, in the water that entertains and cures, in the great open spaces in the midst of nature. - Waking Life.

The Making

Waking Life is a safe haven once imagined by infamous Belgian music collective Roots of Minimal, and their on-going music label Moodfamily. Waking Life is a 5-day arts and music festival which came to life with a first successful edition in 2017, and has been confirmed to take place every year for the next five to ten years.

The festival collaborates with Giegling, one of the most prominent, creative and innovative music collectives out there! Think Vril, Konstantin, Kettenkarussel, Atecq,... and their equivalents in Live visuals, stage production and lighting. The collective's multi-disciplinary talents are impressive. Giegling also has very dedicated followers, willing to travel over distant lands and deep oceans to attend any special and secretive Giegling party. If only there was a space shuttle to Planet Giegling... I would be on board too.

The Family

Keeping a festival small, intimate and familiar is key to give dancers a memorable experience. It allows new connections to be made and for dancers as much as the artists and the crew to feel at home right away. I have attended many (many) raves, festivals and club nights, but the settings of Waking Life are just unique: the festival is limited to 2,000 people and set in the most exotic country of Western Europe, Portugal. It also curates a selective and refined line-up combined with a sense of freedom and community.

The Feeling

The sun started peeking over the distant eastern horizon for the first hours of the morning, casting golden shadows of nocturnal dancers on the ground. I made my way through the sand, waking up to deep hypnotic sounds. I contemplated this place that was gonna be my home for the next few days. I was happy... The location was stunning, the details and fantasies took me away to quiet skys”
The sun set over the lake in reddish hues, and the shadows that fell brought the night to life. We were embracing the music as our sole reality. Robag Wruhme played his first track on the last sunset of Waking Life. When the deepest colors were changing, I turned to the Wakers, we had tears in our eyes, and joyful smiles at our highest high. It was emotional, the connection was unique. We were left complete, whole, not alone.

© Original texts by Isabel Elwood at stillekraft.

The Music

Waking Life and Giegling are fine selectors, trend-setters and explorers. They are known for scouting artists and spotting talents early on. The seemingly newcomers are the A-listers of tomorrow. For the more in-depth music specialists, the line-up of Waking Life is pure quality straight from festival heaven.

With three stages playing non-stop music for five days, there is room for DJs to explore extended sets and for LIVE performers to touch hidden realities. There is something for everyone at all times of day and night, and for every mood and every feel. The music genres are on the electronic-music spectrum, including soft ambient beats, experimental hybrid sets, Romanian micro-house, hypnotic techno, deep house and anything between, beyond, harder and darker.

Name dropping of last year's edition and the next: Nthng, Ben UFO, Konstantin, Vril, Rhadoo, Luigi Tozzi, Sebastian Mullaert, Stimming, Robag Wruhme, Izabel, Cio d'Or, Rrose, Leafer Legov & so much more.

© All pictures by Isabel Elwood via stillekraft.

The author

Isabel Elwood

Isabel Elwood

I am Isabel, Yoga Lover and Techno Schmetterling. I am passionate by everything that touches art and the soul ... as well as electronic music, which I write about.

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