2023 was a landmark year for Primavera Sound Porto: the tenth coming of the festival was also its first without their lifelong naming sponsor, the first four-day long edition at Porto’s Parque da Cidade, and a new main stage and festival grounds’ layout were tested for the first time. Ditching the gorgeous, secluded meadow where the ATP stage once sounded like sacrilege. But the new layout, including previously fenced off areas of the park that are closer to the sea, undoubtedly makes things smoother in a festival that started to feel too crowded, as per last year’s experience. We could do without the smell near the new main stage, but let’s blame the weather for that.
This year we’re going full Aquarium Drunkard (AKA the only music year end list worth reading). Except, these are just one person’s choices (unlike Bolachas Now Playing, which is a team effort). And he’s only doing this because it’s a slow week at his real work. Meaning, “going full Aquarium Drunkard” is, really, just adopting the format: a list of 100 un-ordered records bound together in groups of 4. Plus a short tweet about each of them. There are a few Spotify playlists at the end of the post, plus Bandcamp links to those records whenever available.
Sometimes it’s hard to be objective and unbiased when writing about a festival that is such a big part of your life. Except for two (very) unremarkable lineups that made me stay home, since I was old enough to go to college all my summers involved a trip to Paredes de Coura (and a painful trip back, too). When you’re a kid, they say you’ll eventually get older and boring, in a process they call “becoming an adult”. This usually comes with amazing perks such as ceasing to listen to any new music whatsoever, stopping seeing your (also ageing) friends, having great conversations about changing diapers with your remaining friends (yes, the other couple with kids you always go vacationing with to some shitty beach full of other couples with kids and the odd mother-in-law). Obviously, a multi-day, non-kid friendly, rural music festival such as Festival Paredes de Coura seems like one of those things that are amongst the first to drop from your newfound “adult life”. Except you don’t have to be that person; and is there anything better to remind you of that than going there and finding all your friends in the same place, same month, year after year, all over again? (Well, other than imagining the smell of those diapers.)