JOURNAL La vida es un Carnival…

A curated selection of Lisbon’s best summer festivals.


La vida es un Carnival…

A curated selection of Lisbon’s best summer festivals.

In Lisbon, Spring is a flighty guest. One week, it feels like full summer, with balmy nights and long red flaming sunsets that set an air of magic and many, many reasons to stay far from your bed, and the next week? That sharp Atlantic wind is back, whipping around street corners and leaving you thankful to have brought that jacket out after all.   Hand-in-hand with the lingering summer evenings, purple-tipped jacaranda trees and pavements of petals come the promise of parties – lots of them.  Lisbon is booming as a cultural epicentre, with contemporary art shows like Arco drawing the city’s many artists and musicians out of their ateliers to connect and show off work dreamt up during winter’s hibernation. Lisboetas love to party, so if you are touching down in town this summer, one of the best ways to tap into the local scene is by joining them in celebrating: music, love, life, Lisbon.

Here is a curated selection of our favourite summer festivals in Lisbon for 2018:

OutFest – 26th & 27th May 2018 

It’s the up-market surf town of Cascais 30 minutes along the coast from Lisbon that plays host to the 10th edition of weekend music festival OutFest, revered for its good-vibes and evolutionary line-up. This year’s edition, held in Parque Marcela Carmona, combines avant-garde electro DJs such as Tiger & Woods with innovative techno duo Heartbreakerz and Jazzanova kings like Alex Barak. Expect the city’s creative crew to be dancing barefoot to sunset disco, funk and soul alongside Cascais’ laid-back surfers and yogis.

OutJazz – May – September 2018

Running every Sunday for Lisbon’s summer season (May-September), this free music festival hops around the city’s parks and invites much lolling on the grass before dark falls and the dance floor gets going. Don’t be baffled by the name, although Jazz is a component, many musicians veer more towards spinning electro, or delighting the crowd with mixes of soul and funk. Of the 5 locations, Parque Eduardo VII and Estrela, the respective destinations for the festival in July and August, are two of the best. If you find yourself at a loss of where to go on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Lisbon, OutJazz is always a good option.

Festival do Santo Antonio – June 2018

Sardine time! The whole month of June sees the tiny, winding streets of Alfama come alive in celebration of the city’s patron saint. In typical Lisbon style, this means long communal tables set under coloured bunting, with local grannies manning the grills to serve up tasty portion of sardines, sausages and bucket-loads of vino verde. On most nights, live music and impromptu sound systems keep the party going across town, with Bica, Santa Catarina and Mouraria being particular focal points for younger party people. To catch the traditional processions where locals dress in elaborate costumes, aim to visit around the 12th & 13th of June.

Gulbenkian Musica May – September 2018

The gardens of one of Lisbon’s leading cultural institutions, the art museum Gulbenkian, draws together serious jazz lovers and some of the world’s leading contemporary jazz musicians come August, with the entire month’s programming dedicated to the American Jazz musician John Zorn. Year-round, check-out their weekly schedule of film screenings and live concerts from local and international talents within the classical and experimental genres.

Brunch Electronik: 29th July – 16th September 2018

Day-time party people listen up! From July 29th through to mid-September, Brunch Electronik is back, hosting fun-day Sundays in the park in Ajuda. Kids are welcome and the festival attracts a good vibe tribe of locals, visitors and international expats. Although 2018 line-up is yet to be announced, the first events kick off with Berlin DJ Paul Kalkbrenner and South Africa’s rising star Black Coffee, who channels fresh and future-focused Afropolitan beats. And if last year’s line up is anything to go by? Lisbon is in for a treat.

Superbock Superrock: 19-22nd July 2018

Some of the biggest contemporary names in music, from The XX to Justice, Travis Scott and Benjamin Clement headline at this 3-day urban festival held in Lisbon’s Parque Das Nações, which draws a youthful crowd from across Europe ready for epic sessions of stomping. A big plus point? Compared to most festivals, you get to sleep in a bed and fuel up in Lisbon’s many great restaurants.

Lis-Bon – 31st August -2nd September

The coolest party in the capital? This three-day party is set in an almost secret sound garden in the city’s most emblematic park, Parque Eduardo, and has a reputation for uniting leading names in the contemporary dance, house and electro scene, from Nicholas Jaar to Todd Terje and Dixon. Plane tickets at the ready…