The BPM Festival 2018 Portugal – Improved and Refined
While traveling to Faro, Portugal last year, our conversations and thoughts were filled with speculation and intrigue. Having traveled extensively throughout Europe, we know the “lay of the land” so to say, and were excited to see how The BPM Festival would re-create the magical experience that we all knew and love. The primary question wasn’t if BPM would deliver, but how? As our aircraft touched down in 2018, we had a baseline (bassline :)) for our expectations, and were curious as to how the festival would expand upon the previous year’s experience.
Exiting the Faro terminal, we quickly learned there was an ongoing taxi strike in the region. Thankfully, for us and many other festival attendees, the Algarve region of Portugal is Uber friendly, and rides are extremely affordable. Our driver was hospitable enough to provide an iPad, with SoundCloud and a LTE connection for the journey to Portimao. Speaking with various drivers throughout the festival, we came to learn that many of them were from the surrounding areas. Recognizing the opportunity, due to the taxi strike, these drivers were staying in Portimao specifically for The BPM Festival. Combined with the shuttle buses that BPM provided throughout the event, transportation in and around Portimao was seamless, and unaffected by the strike.
Having survived the previous year, we were aware of the possible day drinking landmines that scatter Portimao. We were able to navigate the town deliberately avoiding them (for a few hours at least) while we investigated the festival venues and determined the location of Villa Mariazinha, this year’s replacement for Cloque. Superficially, there didn’t seem to be significant changes to the venues, but over the years we’ve learned not to judge a book by it’s cover. It didn’t take long to find out that a local brewery had started producing and distributing craft beers in the area, a necessity which was illusive last year. It took even shorter to find a wine bar at the port, with a drink menu that satisfies wine and craft beer lovers.
Day parties were hosted at NoSoloAgua and Blanco Beach, two expansive, neighboring beach clubs which were carried over from last year. Our journey into sound began at Blanco Beach, for Paradise. Immediately after entering the venue, it was clear that significant improvements had been made since the previous year. The VIP section was modified for efficiency/additional space, restaurant area was expanded and the audio and visual production was ramped up. NoSoloAgua, where we very thoroughly enjoyed All Day I Dream, exhibited similar differences from 2017. Most notably, the NoSoloAgua venue had been expanded to include all of the beach alongside the dancefloor. This change vastly improved the flow of the club, and provided extra room for party goers to dance or relax.
Night parties revolved around Centro de Congressos again, a massive multi-room convention center, just minutes from downtown Portimao; with satellite venues, Katedral and Villa Mariazinha, hosting more intimate parties closer to the town center. Entering the Congressos venue complex, and venue itself this year was a breeze, as all of the kinks from the previous year seem to have been straightened out. The layout inside the venue was fine tuned as well and coupled with the impressive sound, decor and visuals that The BPM Festival is known for. We enjoyed every second we spent at Congressos, but No. 19 and YA’AH MUUL are still replaying in our heads to this day.
Although The BPM Festival Portugal 2018 may not have grown significantly in terms of number of venues, the quality of what each venue offered improved this year as the festival continues to evolve. This year’s event successfully hosted over 250 hours of music, spanning 4 days and nights, for Techno Tourists coming from 75 countries spanning all corners of the globe. We look forward to experiencing the next chapter of BPM, in 2019.