This festival has made it again.
We just had the most unbelievable blast in our neighboring country Portugal attending the 24th edition of Vodafone Paredes de Coura Festival 2016.
As we roamed from Thursday to Sunday around the Coura river, getting barely any sleep at night and enjoying everything this fest offers to its almost 25000 festival-goers, we experienced for the 6th time in a row why we keep coming back over and over and why this specific one festival will be always topping every list of festivals we put together. Period.
But enough with this next level praise nonsense – that can seriously keep going for a while – and let’s get back to talk about why we have only sweet words about Paredes de Coura festival. Should we? J
THIS IS THE ONLY REASON WHY WE ARE FULLY BOOKED THE 3rd WEEK OF AUGUST TILL WE DIE:
PAREDES DE COURA IS THE BEST FESTIVAL IN THE WORLD
1. HIGH PROBABILITIES OF UNCOVERING GREAT NEW SOUNDS AND BANDS
Music taste is something not everyone enjoys. However, luckily for everyone attending Paredes de Coura festival, the curators and whoever puts the line up together have a bit of it.
You only need to research which bands played there already to appreciate this universal truth. From PJ Harvey to Suede, from Motörhead to the Sex Pistols and a really long list of big names, the festival has brought international talent to a tiny village of Portugal since its beginning and it keeps doing so. For the records, here are the bands and DJs we were lucky to catch this 24th edition.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 18th
As we entered the festival grounds, we were welcomed by this band. It sounded pretty neat but unluckily we couldn’t stay longer as the main stage was about to bring up a bigger fish.
THE OH SEES
First gig we got to see at the main stage, and an agitated one for that matter. Crowdsurfing and lots of frantic jumping. Fun.
As it happens, again we missed most of these guys concert, but on our way to the food court, we could snap this one. One needs to get some food sometimes J.
Main headliner, this blast from the past band didn’t disappoint its audience. A pretty quiet act that brought some hits only the older in the crowd knew by heart. Full house with about 24000 people for them.
This Montreal band brought us back the psychedelic rock this same festival taught us to love. After all, only 3 LPs in, it looks like these guys know what they are doing.
As much as we’d like to talk great things about ‘Enchufada 10 anos’, the last session at the after hours stage, Rastronaut and Branko DJ left the party people who populate this palco Vodafone.Fm somehow cold, in a non stop act that saw them playing with everyone’s mood and energy as rpms would keep changing every 3 minutes till 5AM.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 19th
Named the best NY psych band, we are pretty sure they could have sounded better.
KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD
How on earth we had never heard about this band before? The first one that truly connected with the audience on this third day of Paredes de Coura. Still picturing the charismatic singer swallowing the mic. Brutal.
While juggling between the two stages of this festival, sometimes we need to sacrifice some great acts. This was once again the case of Jacco Gardner and the accompanying band.
Talk about a memorable and epic start. These guys jumped in the mainstream culture wagon as the original ‘Game of Thrones’ soundtrack filled the atmosphere right before their appearance. From then on, this band that had already visited Paredes de Coura back in 2013, gave us an hour of hits that the front row crowds smartly used to fly as if there was no tomorrow.
CAGE THE ELEPHANT
Yet another great gig during this night that was full of them. The headliners Cage the Elephant got their fans alive, sharing the reigning energy as Lincoln Parish and Brad Shultz fell into the pit a few times to mix with their over excited audience.
Another veteran band at this festival – they shared the 2013 edition with The Vaccines among many others – Moullinex put everyone to dance in the after hours stage, getting us all ready for what was coming up next. Cool.
Without any visual content to go along, you gotta believe us The Vaccines DJ set was a great ending for this 3rd day. Or at least the first part of the session, where lots of great tunes were played one after the other. Then, a little revival vale tudo second part followed. I guess they were looking to please everyone. In any case, some songs could have been left behind because at some point it just felt like a regular club in our small village any given Saturday. Meh.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 20th
Night owls over here, sometimes – specially if the night before wasn’t extra long – we like to check some daylight gigs from time to time. This was the case of Capitao Fausto. And here are some of the snaps we took while there.
Although we didn’t particularly dig their music, it seemed like the Portuguese crowd knew all their songs perfectly and it became clear that the majority of the audience loved them.
PORTUGAL. THE MAN
Originary from Alaska, this band sounds great. Nothing new as they have been around for a while but truly loved to see them play. Also, what are the chances of having the festival’s country and the band name match?
Although the bass almost deafen our photographer, we must recognize that those pumping speakers – and the band’s energetic and very beautiful singer Lauren Mayberry – were responsible of having the packed hill upside down and dancing.
It felt great to finally have been able to enjoy Chvrches after a couple of failed attempts at the Scottish Hogmanay held in Edinburgh in 2013 and their Paredes de Coura gig in 2014 (a year where we could only attend half of the festival)!
LUST FOR YOUTH
The after hours started with this Danish synth pop band that got us in the mood and ready to dance till late.
MATIAS AGUAYO COMEME DJ SET
From minimal to electronic cumbia beats, Matias finally showed us why he is a pioneer (he sang while mixing during about half of his session). Global sounds and multiple influences, this guy didn’t let us breathe during his almost 3 hour session as staying put was simply not an option.
Ultimately, that is how tunes like ‘Run away from the sun’, ‘Sucu Tucu’ and ‘Estoy bien’ still resonate in our heads.
Sharing it one of them here so you get the point.
Come back soon to Paredes, Matias!
First of all, can someone please tell us who was djing during the closing? We would love to put a name here!
Anyway, it was great to see someone going up there when Matias Aguayo ended his session to keep everyone happy and dancing for almost a couple more hours.
It felt somehow painful as we knew the end was approaching quickly but really fun and although not many stayed till the end, we can promise you whoever did so enjoyed it so much.
Thanks, thanks, thanks Paredes de Coura! Yet another flawless closing.
2. A GOOD SERVING OF CROWD SURFING, STAGE DIVING AND GOING CRAZY
Not the largest, nor the smallest. Not the craziest or the dullest, Vodafone Paredes de Coura excels in providing fun to its attendees without risking anything else. And the younger crowds are well aware.
There is not a single act from 8pm to past midnight where you can’t see a few energized people flying over their colleagues during the fastest paced songs as they reach the safety guardians in front of the crowd. Over and over, till the end.
3. EASY COURA RIVER EXPLORATIONS
What if we told you THE BEST spot in Coura valley is right at the core of the festival?
Coura river is that stunning. And we don’t mean the place where everybody gathers by the two bridges – that take festival-goers from the camping area to the stages – but if you start walking along the water, you might find some really pretty areas with falls, rapids and even a sand beach.
You are welcome.
4. SWEET CHILLING WHILE LISTENING TO JAZZ TUNES
They might or might not be famous – sorry there! We ain’t magicians and can’t be experts in every music out there – but they are just what you need from 2 to 5.30PM. An easy start of another festival day, a much-needed siesta, a lazy river time.
5. DAILY FEASTINGS ON PORTUGUESE FOOD
A traditional Portuguese meal starts with a soup. Its main dish has some fish or meat (usually pork, chicken or beef), rice, fried potatoes and salad. Complimentary bread is usually served and you need to end it with coffee, just a few drops in a tiny cup.
The best part? Its affordability and great taste.
Seriously in love with Portuguese food.
6. ONE WORLD, MULTIPLE CUISINES AND FOOD TRUCKS
With two main food courts (one by the river and another one behind the Vodafone.FM stage inside the festival grounds), there are lots of food choices where to calm your hunger.
7. A CHANCE OF SHOWING OFF YOUR SPECIAL ATTIRE
Something we love about festivals is the way everyone ends up expressing themselves without prejudices, embracing their uniqueness and dressing up as they please.
8. BAKE YOURSELF IN A TENT
It’s a fact. There are not enough shade spots for everyone camping at the festival doorstep. Therefore, if you come late or are in a lazy mood to start looking for a cooler spot, you will end up settling under the toasting sun.
If that happens, we urge you to appreciate it till it gets unbearable – sometimes as soon as 10AM – and then move to a cooler spot by the river.
9. BREAK THE BANK BOOKING A TIPY OR GIPSY CARAVAN
As Nomad (pictured below these lines), there are a few glamping options at Vodafone Paredes de Coura. They ain’t cheap but they look like the most comfy spots on the campsite.
10. MEET FELLOW FESTIVAL GOERS
One of our favorites. Most of the people attending Paredes de Coura share the same passion. And they are mega friendly.
11. LIVE THE VILLAGE LIFE AT PAREDES DE COURA
About pretty much everything and anything you might need during your Festival time is in there.
If you add free shuttle buses and lots of great restaurants and bars, there you have it. A five-minute ride that will make you go back to life before starting again the festival routine.
12. GET LUCKY AND ATTEND AN EXCLUSIVE VODAFONE MUSIC SESSION
Since Vodafone sponsors this festival, the Vodafone Music Sessions have brought some fresh air every big day of the festival.
Just for a few people, we believe you get a message if you have their App installed and – again – get lucky.
As accredited press, on Friday we attended a short concert of Crocodiles at a very unique place 20 min away from the festival area along with less than 100 others.
13. NEAT TO START SOME TRADITIONS
We have a few of these.
It all starts with finding the best place to camp (and this can take some time, believe us). This, for us, used to be a small forest far from the festival grounds till this year the organization decided to ban it as a camping spot and we needed to find another one. That’s how this edition we ended placing our tents by the river, under some cool trees and surrounded by more tents than we’d like to admit. But hey! no one said it was going to be easy.
There’s that and going to Paredes de Coura village every noon for a proper lunch (it won’t set you back more than 10 bucks), spending some time by the fountain at Centro cultural, having a caldo verde before going to bed, etc.
Many to be mentioned here. Plus go there and make some of your own!
14. THERE ARE NO EXCUSES. JUST SHOWER IN STYLE
Two options. Well, tons of them really. But a couple of main ones.
The 24/7 ephemeral wooden showers at the camping site (that come with hair driers. Talk about festival standards!) and the heated 1st world showers of the town’s public pool (1Eur). Till 6PM.
And then there’s the falls at the river, the tiny building by the Jazz stage, the Centro Cultural fountain, etc.
So you have zero excuses and tons of chances of getting clean before partying the night away.
15. SEE ART EXHIBITS AND ATTEND GREAT TALKS
Paredes de Coura Centro Cultural. There’s no greatest place to be when the sun hits hard. From tourist office to be to photography exhibitions gallery, siesta preferred place and one of the best toilets (think plugs, enough space, pristine WCs and much more) in town.
And if you are feeling adventurous, there’s even a fountain outside where some people cools off!
16. PERFECT TO FALL IN LOVE
We have seen a lot of this. And that’s only normal and natural. Great music, stunning location, beautiful people.
17. WHERE DANCING TILL DUSK IS WHAT YOU SHOULD DO
Because after all the big gigs in the main stage (Palco Vodafone) come to an end, there’s an after hours scene going on at Palco Vodafone.Fm till the wee hours. Thursday ended at around 5AM, Friday 5.30AM and Saturday – thank Lord! – past 8AM. Sun was shining when we finally left the festival grounds along with a couple hundred other party people. What’s not to love?
18. GREAT TO KEEP MEETING YOUR FAMILY YEAR AFTER YEAR
It all comes down to a little big family. The ones that you keep seeing every year, even when there’s no time enough to meet everyone. You smile at them, they smile back. And you know you are home.
19. A FESTIVAL THAT MAKES YOU MISS THE GOOD TIMES FROM DAY 1
Getting tipsy with a few bucks, close and personal with the dust in the atmosphere, along with a borderline hygiene.
Finding happy people everywhere you look at, talking to the guys working at every gate, drinking the green soup before falling asleep, arriving to your tent cold but happy AF, waking up a couple of hours later when your neighbors start cooking, the dense crowds populating every gig, the controlled madness, Paredes!
We miss you so much right now we want to cry.
Curious about earlier Paredes de Coura festival editions?
- Paredes de Coura 2013
- Paredes de Coura 2014 uncut chronicle part 1
- Paredes de Coura 2014 uncut chronicle part 2
- Paredes de Coura 2014 aftermovie
- Paredes de Coura 2015 uncut chronicle part 1
- Paredes de Coura 2015 uncut chronicle part 2
What about finding out more about other cool festivals out there?
- The best music festivals in the world
- The best music festivals in Europe
- The best music festivals in Spain
- The best music festivals in Galicia
And finally here are some other music festivals we attended this Summer and how we made it out alive after 6 of them in a couple of months!
- Festival do Millo Verde
- Resurrection Festival
- Reggaeboa Festival
- Son Rias Baixas Festival uncut chronicle
- Festival V de Valares
- SURVIVING A FESTIVAL PACKED SUMMER. 8 GOLDEN RULES