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New Portuguese association Circuito launches

A new association of independent music venues, Circuito, has launched in Portugal.

Circuito, which has 27 members across the country, will function as a “national network for the enhancement, protection and development” of grassroots music venues, aiming to secure further support while the majority are shuttered by coronavirus restrictions.

A recent Circuito campaign, #AovivoOuMorto (#LiveOrDead), aimed to raise awareness of the difficulties the sector is facing and spur the Portuguese government into taking concrete action to protect music venues.

Hundreds of people took to the streets in four Portuguese cities (Lisbon, Oporto, Viseu and Évora) on Saturday (17 October) in support of #AovivoOuMorto, queueing outside closed venues to raise awareness of their plight.

According to Espalha-Factos, the lines in Lisbon and Oporto were each more than a kilometre long.

“The coronavirus crisis accelerated the need for a representative association” in Portugal

Umbrella association Live DMA welcomes the creation of the new body. “The coronavirus crisis undoubtedly accelerated the need for a representative association which advocates for the great cultural, social and economic value of the independent live music scene, which needs to be supported,” it says in a statement.

The Portuguese live music industry is asking for greater financial help from the government, which, in common with its European neighbours, is allowing concerts only with social distancing and a very limited capacity.

Daniel Pires, of the 100-cap. Maus Hábitos in Oporto, says a recent increase in Portugal’s culture budget by nearly 8%, to €563.9 million, is “not enough” to safeguard music venues. “There must be a correction,” he adds.

Other industry associations in Portugal include promoters’ association APEFE, festival body Aporfest and the new Audiovisual Union.


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Hungry for culture: Portugal union stages shows for food

União Audiovisual (Audiovisual Union), an association providing support to Portuguese crew during the coronavirus crisis, is staging a series of concerts to help raise money for food packages for out-of-work live professionals.

The union, formed in the early days of the crisis, delivers food parcels to “audiovisual workers”, including artists, show producers and stage managers, in need. Those needing assistance can apply via a form on the union’s website or the dedicated Facebook group, with food drops available across Portugal, including Lisbon, Oporto, Coimbra, the Algarve and the Azores.

Following a concert by the Legendary Tigerman at Lisbon’s Village Underground in July, the organisation is now staging what is calls its biggest shows to date, organising two days of programming in the city of Évora this week.

The concerts – taking place tonight (24 September) and Saturday (26 September) – feature the Legendary Tigerman, Dead Combo, Duarte and Omiri and are being co-produced with local authorities.

Concert attendees are asked to bring a bag of non-perishable food goods

Tickets are priced at an “affordable” €5, the union tells the Lusa news agency, with all attendees also asked to bring a bag of non-perishable food goods.

Speaking to Lusa, Audiovisual Union’s Manuel Chambel says the organisation’s objective is to “help with food products for professionals in the artistic and audiovisual industries who have seen their work cancelled or postponed”.

“Here in the Alentejo [in south Portugal], we help only one person, but in Lisbon, Oporto, the Algarve and elsewhere, there are many more,” he explains.

With the concerts in Évora, he adds, “we want to do what we do best, which is to produce events that we think are cool” while at the same time “contribute to a noble cause”.


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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Sustained growth for Portuguese festival market

There were 249 music festivals held in Portugal in 2016 – 39 more than in 2015, or an 18% year-on-year increase – according to a new report by Aporfest (the Association of Portuguese Festivals).

Aporfest’s findings, presented at last week’s talkfest festival conference in Lisbon by Ticketea marketing director Ismael García, also reveal ticket sales grew by 300,000 to 2.1 million.

Portugal’s population is approximately 10.5 million, appearing to suggest one in five Portuguese bought a music festival ticket last year. However, according to García, the growth in sales in fact owes much to what Eventbrite calls ‘super fans’ or ‘hardcore festies’, with 30% of respondents saying they had been to two or more festivals in 2016.

The Portuguese festival scene has seen sustained growth in the past three years, growing from 127 events in 2013 to 156 in 2014, 210 in 2015 and 249 in 2016. According to talkfest director Ricardo Bramão, the number of festivals cancelled in 2016 also fell, to 14, a “figure lower than in previous years”.

Rock festivals were the most popular (attended by 25% of all festivalgoers), followed by alternative music (23%), indie (18%), electronic music (9%), pop (8%), jazz (6%), hip hop (4%) and metal (3%).

The most popular events overall were Rock in Rio Lisbon, NOS em D’Bandada, Sudoeste and Nos Alive (see graphic below).

Aporfest top 15 festivals 2016

While steady growth can only be a good thing, Aporfest cautions that the market remains immature and reliant on subsidies from local authorities.

Festivals that last more than three or four consecutive editions are rare, as it is “difficult for events to be able to attract new sponsors and audiences and achieve profitability”, the report reads. “In recent years, the only festivals that have grown steadily are those that are supported or supported by municipalities.” The organisation also expresses its concern the gulf between “the so-called ‘big festivals'” and smaller players is growing, with a majority of Portuguese festivals now having fewer than 1,000 attendees.


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