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Optimus Alive: a festival to be told

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IMG_5133LISBON BECAME A big party last weekend as the 8th edition of the Optimus Alive festival took place on the 10th, 11th and 12th July. More than a hundred international and national performances were enjoyed by nearly 55,000 people that took the festival up from all over the world.

Stepping off the train the floor started to vibrate: we were in Optimus Alive festivalThe sun was heating the road while thousands of good looking young people flowed through the check-in control by the Tagus river, in Alges district. There, on top of the line of guards that checked no one was holding anything to commit a crime, it was the first stage. A small palco that literally faced the crowd since the festival began until it was over.

Once inside, three enormous stages – Stage Nos, Nos Clubbing and Stage Heineken – were the most visited places; other events as Jardim Caixa Comedy Stage weren’t that successful. However, the atmosphere was relaxed under a colourful sky that blurred between the lines of the sound during the sunset and made you feel that everybody there was a passionate music lover.

IMG_5144The first day started with some ups and downs. After a disappointing Imagine Dragons and a quiet Interpol, the much anticipated Artic Monkeys appeared offering the brilliant show that everyone was expecting. However, no doubt the surprise of the night that persuaded a non-stop dancing public was the stunning Parov Stelar. They were, for many fans, one of the best bands of the festival.

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The War on Drugs playing at stage Heineken.

But this had just started. The Last Internationale opened the second day, followed by the supreme Black Keys, Buraka Sound Sistema and ending with a colossal show performed by the Canadian band Caribou.

Although Portuguese people were complaining about the organisation of the festival, the general view that can be given is not that bad. Charging stations for cellphones, special access service for disabled people and pregnant women, cloakroom to keep safe your stuff or 2,000 seats in an open-air food area were some of the services available.

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Sbtrkt at stage Heineken in the second day of Optimus Alive festival.

What is considered the best edition of this festival came towards the end by the hands of The War On Drugs, the national band Paus – with its unique drum players sitting in front of each other- and the DJ Nicolas Jaar among others. And then she came, and broke the ceiling hypnotizing the crowd that couldn’t believe their ears: she was Nina Kravis, the queen of electronic music.

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The band Daughter playing at Stage Heineken the last day of Optimus Alive festival.

The next edition in 2015 will be celebrated from the 9th to the 11th July and will be held in the same place. Rumours and speculation are already deciphering the line-up for 2015 NOS Alive – which will change its name next year-. Some of these guesses include Sam Smith, Kings of Leon or The Black Keys. But nothing is confirmed yet.

Words and pictures by Ana Escaso.

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