The Musical Side of Portugal - The Tribe of Zambujeira

André Jesus | Live the World

September 19, 2022

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, I’ve got some great suggestions for you! I’ll be presenting the biggest summer music festivals in Portugal, all the way from the breezy North to the warm south.

MEO Sudoeste

In the heat of the summer, near the sandy beaches of the Alentejo coastline, there’s Meo Sudoeste, what is considered to be the biggest festival in Portugal in terms of electronic and dance music, and also in terms of duration, it technically lasts four days, like most festivals do, but there are concerts and celebrations on the camping site four days before, so, technically is an eight day party! And this partying spirit makes it very popular with the younger crowd.

The dancing crowd, picture copyrighted by Global Imagens.

Where is it?

Meo Sudoeste is located in Zambujeira do Mar, a seaside town in southwestern Alentejo, hence the name Sudoeste. The area is located in a natural park, so all around you’ll find beautiful landscapes and small beaches and rivers, kind of like an oasis amidst the Alentejo summer heat. The venue of the festival isn’t far from the town and the beach of Zambujeira do Mar, so before you enter it to dance the night away, I suggest you take a stroll in the morning to appreciate the local ambiance. The festival venue itself is located in Herdade da Casa Branca, where it has continued to be ever since it’s inception in 1997, a very different time and tone for Meo Sudoeste, since it’s line has changed from a more rock heavy set to a pure electronic celebration.

"Welcome to the Tribe" says the entrace to the venue, picture by Rita Carmo.

How to get there?

The website actually details many different routes and ways to get to Zambujeira do Mar and Herdade da Casa Branca, either from Lisbon, Porto or Algarve, so see where is most convenient to you! When there you will be greeted by the tribal decor the festival adopts so it is very noticeable, the camping site is big, very big, as the crowds have been growing ever since the turn of genres I’ve mentioned. It is important to mention that anyone with the festival pass has access to free parking in the camping site if you traveling by car, but if you still want somewhere diferente to stay, it does offer some alternatives.

Camping at Meo Sudoeste, picture by Rita Carmo.

What to see?

To be honest I have for long not been very enamored with the line up of Sudoeste but that is because I’m not a huge fan of electronic and dance music, but it would be unfair to say it is a bad lineup, Meo Sudoeste knows who its audience are and it delivers on what that audience wants. The tribal imagery isn’t just for show, it embodies what the festival is about: Dancing like it’s a celebration. And if you like names such as: Sia, Skrillex, Steve Aoki or Jamiroquai you will most certainly do it! And even with portuguese artists and DJs which the festival invests a lot in!

Sia at Moe Sudoeste, picture by Ana Marques

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 this one by fellow editor Vasco.

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