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.
After a year’s hiatus (three, actually – thank you covid) to attend the shitshow that was last year’s first weekend in Barcelona, we’re now back to regular programming. A lot has changed since last time we were at Primavera Sound Porto, including the name: there’s no naming sponsor anymore, which will probably confuse people who, for some reason unknown to us, used to call this festival by its sponsor’s name.
The festival grounds are also changing for the 10th edition: capacity has increased to 45k, there’s a new main stage (Porto stage), the old main stage is now called Vodafone (still side-by-side with the Super Bock stage, with alternating shows), and the good old ATP stage (known as Binance last year) is gone, replaced by the Plenitude stage somewhere else. There are also more bands than before (up to 5 bands per stage per day), and, exceptionally, there’s an extra festival day on Wednesday, just so Kendrick Lamar can pay us a visit.
Be sure to download our printable timetables (PDF and XLS). Make sure you keep them on your phone for easy and offline access, too. Below you can find our picks for this year – there’s a lot of guitars there, sorry about that.
- Hugo Lima / NOS Primavera Sound
It’s starting to be too common: no matter how warm and sunny it is in the week leading up to the festival, NOS Primavera Sound (NPS) is doomed to be ruined by at least one day of rain. The first day did not look promising after the announcement of the passage of depression Miguel (no, not the rnb star who performed there a couple of years ago) through the north of Portugal. Flights were cancelled, Ama Lou and Peggy Gou could not reach Porto in time to perform, strong winds and rain showers threatened to turn Parque da Cidade into a muddy mess, the gates were opened almost an hour later than it was scheduled.
One of the worst nightmares of a music festival – especially one that boasts as one of its highlights the stunning greenery of the park where its grounds are located – is having twelve hours of non-stop rain as its headliner. Saturday, June 9th, the third and last day of a sold-out NOS Primavera Sound, was blessed with a late autumnal weather that might have ruined the day for some, but ultimately enhanced the experience for most. We’re talking about the stoic vast majority of festival goers who endured the most annoying of elements for what it seemed like forever to witness a rare local apparition of the biggest headliner of the circuit, one of the least divisive big acts of the scene, the constant top performer while most big names go through phases.
It’s that time of the year again! The seventh edition of the Porto edition of the Primavera Sound festival brings along the seventh edition of our printable timetables you all know and love, and, with it, our seventh preview of the lineup.
Meanwhile, we have also published our usual headliner-free Primavera Spotify playlist (check the end of the post) so you can check out some of the smaller names on the lineup that deserve our seal of approval. We tried to achieve a balance between local artists, songwriters, indie pop/rock, electronica and stuff you cannot really fit in a single basket. Some have been around for a while (Shellac, Wolf Parade, The Twilight Sad…), others are quickly establishing themselves as household names on their genres (Waxahatchee, Thundercat, Amen Dunes…) while others are still giving their first steps on festival lineups (DJ Lycox, Jay Som, Fogo Fogo…). All aboard.
Thursday, June 7th
First day usually means people are not coming to the festival early because they’re either working or being a tourist in downtown Porto and we obviously cannot blame anyone who decides to do something else in the limited time they have in such a beautiful town you don’t see every day. But, as we will see, this year, some of the most interesting acts play fairly early, starting with Fogo Fogo (SEAT stage, 17:30) paying homage to Cape Verdean funaná, followed by the unique songwriting of Waxahatchee (NOS stage, 18:20) and the classic indie rock of the Scottish band The Twilight Sad (SEAT, 19:15). Later on, after headliners Father John Misty and Lorde, Lisbon dance outfit Moullinex (Super Bock stage, 23:20) opens the dance floor of a very energetic last third of the day.
Friday, June 8th
Again, there’s way too much stuff to see right from the start: local stoner mammoths Black Bombaim (Super Bock, 17:00) give way to one of the finest songwriters on the festival this year. Amen Dunes (SEAT, 18:00) is back with an unmissable new record, and while you’re still cherishing what you’ve just seen, Zeal & Ardor (Super Bock, 18:50) will provide a challenge even for those who thought they’ve seen it all. There’s nothing wrong with mixing gospel and blues with noisy metal. Then, even though the overlapping acts are strong, don’t even think about missing the reason why we all sign up for this, the annual celebration of SHELLAC OF NORTH AMERICA (Super Bock, 21:00). Then, as the night starts to cool off, you can be sure you won’t feel cold dancing to the sweet kuduro-ish tunes of DJ Lycox (Bits stage, 23:00) in the new electronic stage of the festival, before immersing yourself in the world of Thundercat (Pitchfork stage, 23:30), the coolest and grooviest bass guitar player around.
Saturday, June 9th
You don’t need to understand Portuguese to appreciate the pop melodies of Luís Severo (SEAT, 17:00). Then stick around for Aussie indie rockers (with a touch of twang) Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever (SEAT, 18:00), the nightmare of anyone that makes printable festival timetables and has to adjust column sizes to adapt to long band names. Young songwriters Vagabon (Pitchfork, 19:00) and Jay Som (Pitchfork, 22:00) also make their first appearance in Portugal and are not to be missed, but the latter has a mountain to climb, playing at the same time headliner Nick Cave takes the stage and at the same time Wolf Parade (SEAT, 21:45) finally play their debut show in the peninsula, thirteen years after the seminal Apologies to the Queen Mary. It’s a tough call, but we’re sorry, Nick. And good luck trying to choose between The War on Drugs and Nils Frahm later on. We’ll just leave you with a small playlist with a few songs you should listen to.