Discovering Lisboa’s electronic music scene in 2017.

It happened randomly, as it always does: I moved in The Netherlands to create network and study, I hopped into dutch party lifestyle and I fell in love with a portuguese girl.

Suddenly, at the beginning of 2017, I have to schedule monthly trips to Lisbon in order to see Her. So I think: if Portugal is home to one of the biggest psytrance/goa festivals in the world – BOOM Festival – then maybe I should investigate about the techno/electronic scene in there…

…and fortunately I find out one of the most growing festivals happening on the spring season in the heart of Lisbon: Lisboa Dance Festival (10th-11th March) – Second Edition – with headline big names like Marcel Dettman, Dekmantel Soundsystem and Moullinex.

The whole process of booking the flights, filling forms for press accreditation and travelling to get there happens really fast and effectively. And just like that I’m arriving in Lisbon for the first day of Lisboa Dance Festival (10th March), that takes place in a recently rebuilt industrial area – LX Factory – just outside the city center. The vibes sent by the amount of street art and warehouses allied to the local commerce stores and restaurants creates the perfect urban environment to attract the upcoming electronic music artists and labels worldwide.

As I go in deeper through this location, I finally get the opportunity to interview the production manager herself: Karla Campos. I have only few minutes to speak to her, since Dekmantel Soundsystem are already getting ready to go on stage. Karla explains me that the main idea was created when she was visiting Amsterdam for ADE. Her ultimate objective when producing the festival in Lisbon is to develop something like the latter, a huge event where electronic music conquers the entire capital for a few days.
Exibitions and parties in every kind of  venue, clubs and spaces, but featuring an element of market and conferences more dedicated to professionals on the field of producing and mixing records. After thanking Karla for her time and congratulating about the festival’s organization, I move along to enjoy the show itself!

There are 4 stages: Fábrila XL (mainstage); Carlsberg stage; Clube Antena 3 stage and KIA Rio – a b2b exclusive room. I have the chance to check out all of them and besides the really cool and chill moods of the second and third ones, I detect a certain underground vibe coming from the last one. Located on the dorm, it’s a stage you can access by going up a few stairs. These purple and pink lights alongside the skateboard boho decorations brings me to a state of inner peace that is completed by the music of Rita Maia b2b DJ Satelite…

On the second day of the festival (11th March), I already know my way inside LX Factory. I go straight to the main stage to assist the performance of Hunee, the artist voted as one of the best sets of ADE 2016.
Filled up with the right energy and the best company, I rush to take a bus to the center of Lisbon. Inner Balance Label Night #1 in MUSICBOX Lisboa is just starting when we arrive – at least, guestlist. And we get in.

My friend Domenico Rosa, an italian producer and dj whom I truly admire, is performing at this party with Keumel (FR) and Jorge Caiado (PT) and he kindly invited me to show up.

Set in the heart of Lisbon, under an old bridge that crosses a pink street, MUSICBOX is a small cellar room with the right capacity of people to organize an intimate though unforgettable party. The artists playing are the best choice for our mood following the festival + bus trip: a house mix with some stains of techno are echoing on the velvet black walls of the club.

At the end of the event, around 6:30am – another remarkable thing about this city is that their usual night out is supposed to last until beyond sunrise, always – I get the chance to meet the organizer of the party, Jorge Caiado, proud founder of the music labels Madluv Records and InnerBalance, furthermore owner of Lisbon’s well known record shop Carpet & Snares Records.
He let me know about a music festival that he was organizing in May, in LX factory as well, with 24 different music label’s showcases (Wow!), talks and workshops: Lisboa Electronica!

Going straight to the point, I spend 2 months travelling around Europe because of my businesses, managing to celebrate my birthday in Berlin at Berghain. I get back home few days to The Netherlands and  I finally return excited to Lisbon.
Just in time for the first day (exclusive to people with the 2-day pass) of the festival Lisboa Eletrónica:

11th May at Ministerium Club is a day of conference and workshops. This turn I have much more time to assist these really interesting conferences and talks. The speakers involved are all remarkable characters in the music label + production + organization of events’s industries. I present my new craft beer, establishing a few relevant contacts for my network.

The first day of concerts of Lisboa Eletrónica, which takes place in LX Factory, is dedicated to networking and discovering. I start to enjoy the party in Bloop Recordingss showcase: really positive vibes and their own cut to make us feeling the moment. I find out they’ve been hitting the scene for 10 years but gonna go further, I’m pretty curious!
Anyway, who got me as a real clubber knows that I am a very good observer. Sound system, light system, consolle, room size, dance floor, decorations etc, all of this is being analysed while I’m dancing and moving around the local: I’m studying this scene, I’m living this scene, I’m loving this scene.

However, it’s on the last day of the festival that I really take the time to enjoy myself as a raw appreciator of techno music: ZIP burning the open air stage from 21h till midnight. Boom! Everybody is there for the music. I can feel it on their movements, their faces, the smiles and genuine comfort dancing all over the place. There’s nothing better for a real clubber than to find other real clubbers. From Germany to Paris, passing through Italy and Brazil, the festival is filled with international presence.
A very portuguese vibe comes from the location and the hot weather. The musical and cultural influences from all around the world are the best topping to complete this underground atmosphere of union, love and electronic dance.

Definitely a festival I want to visit again next year, thank you Jorge for your kindness, as well as everyone involved in the organization of both festivals and the magical party I mentioned.

I truly believe that Lisbon holds all the potential to become a real and important reference on the electronic music scene worldwide.

Keep an eye on this city guys, trust me.