Being blindfolded and asked to shoot an arrow at the map of the world is how I would describe my voyage to Portugal and then Spain this June. I had a vision of what this year was going to consist of and the central theme was music festival’ing. My pal Mateo and I had the same idea as everyone else this side of the equator this summer, and decided to make the pilgrimage down to Coachella. I take it selling out before I could gasp in disbelief as a sign that the back up plan was going to have to be a better idea anyways. Mateo came up with the backup plan a couple weeks after our set back; fly to Portugal for a three day music festival and explore Spain while we’re over there. I had no knowledge of anything that was over on the Western shores of Europe so naturally I accepted without hesitation. We managed to fit in two countries, four cities, countless mojitos and a shameful amount of plane rides into 14 days.
Porto was our only glimpse of Portugal and it exceeded anything my imagination could muster up. This city has one of the strongest vibes I’ve ever felt, it was almost Gorge worthy. It felt like someone else’s mom adopting me for five days and tucked me in each night. It may have had something to do with the local babes partnering up with Primavera Sound music festival to show foreigners around the city during the day and riding with us to City Park where the shows were. Since the sets didn’t start until 5 PM we had plenty of time to explore Porto’s uneven hilly streets, piles of brick where buildings once stood, and beautifully manicured store fronts, all with the commentary of our new local friends who would make sure we were constantly hydrated. And by hydrated I mean you can drink in the streets of Porto, which is reason eleven why this city does it right.
To reach the venue where the festival was held you had to travel alongside the river until it meets the sea. As soon as you arrive you are greeted by waves so powerful they make your knees weak and this gigantic piece of net art. It’s made out of fishing wire and in the breeze it quivers and billows like a jellyfish. This net is reason number one why I am coming back to Portugal. Day One of the festival was less about the bands I didn’t bother researching and more about the two euro sangria. I don’t think I’ve spent less money and eaten more delicious food and tasty drinks on any adventure ever. I envy the people of Europe who can fly here for twenty dollars and bring that same amount of money for a weekend of indulgence.
Day Two of the festival was less about the sangria and more about the Lips. We saw the Flaming Lips throw up more confetti than I have ever witnessed up until that day. I don’t even remember what the set sounded like but I have very vivid memories of balloons, confetti, man in a balloon on top of the crowd, and hypnotic swirly lights. The band I was most excited about seeing this whole festival was the Black Lips. I was about to go off about how the festival was so unorganized and not on top of the whole toilet paper in the bathrooms situation but I only have the Black Lips’ tomfoolery to blame. Two songs in and whole rolls of brand new, perfectly usable toilet paper are being thrown into the crowd. There was a dire TP shortage and I may have let out a single tear of irony as I watched hundreds of rolls of two ply get shredded and thrown to the ground. It was a little like watching seventeen tankers full of fresh water crash, overturn and spill out into the most arid region of Africa. You’re lucky I can hold it in pretty well Black Lips!