20 September 2022

A successful first Trafaria bluegrass festival (update)

Norwegian band Buster Sledge playing at Trafaria
(photo: Maria Lazaro)

Thanks to Andre Dal Lentilhas, the moving spirit of bluegrass in Portugal, for his report on the successful holding of Portugal's first ever international bluegrass festival - Trafaria Bluegrass - Festival by the River. The completely free event was held on 9-11 September in the small fishing village of Trafaria on the south bank of the Tagus, close to the river mouth and Lisbon.

As reported on the BIB on 26 July, the lineup comprised Rawhide (BE), the Often Herd (GB), the Original Five (SE), Buster Sledge (N), and the home team, Stonebones & Bad Spaghetti. Each band played twice on the weekend: once on the main stage in the village square, and again on one of the five side stages in other locations. Photos of the programme are shown on the festival Facebook. Five instrument workshops (guitar, mandolin, dobro, banjo, fiddle) were also held on Saturday and Sunday mornings, and Andre writes: 'Jams were encouraged as a lively and vibrant part of the festival.'

A subsidiary programme was also developed to show Trafaria, its surroundings, and its people to vistors, including storytelling for children, walks around the village, archeological tours, active aging and intergenerational interaction encounters, and recycling workshops.
View from the main stage at an evening concert (photo: Felipe Lima)

Presentations and speeches were made by the president of the organising team, Recreios Desportivos da Trafaria, João Horta; the artistic director, André Dal; and the mayors of Almada city council (Inês de Medeiros) and Trafaria parish council (Sandra Chaíça). Andre writes:

Even though public transportation is sparse and needs to be improved, the festival was a huge success. The small village of Trafaria was crowded during the whole weekend and all stages were packed. The audience felt the vibrant performance of the bands and responded accordingly. Because this was the first ever bluegrass festival to be held in Portugal, the organization's team did not have an idea of the number of people who could join the event.

Nevertheless, local people from the village of Trafaria came in great numbers, as well as from other parts of Portugal and also from abroad, and more than 3,000 people attended enthusiastically to all the concerts. Portuguese and foreign musicians took part in the jams with the bands' musicians, and locals felt the village had a great atmosphere. The side activities were also packed with people trying to discover more about the village. Children and adults were eager to learn more about bluegrass music as well

It is safe to say that due to the success of this first event, the city council of Almada and the parish council of Trafaria will extend their support for next year's edition and hopefully, with the help of local companies, associations, institutions, EBMA, and private people as was this year.

BIB editor's note: Why does it not surprise us that Rawhide took part in forging a new musical genre, 'Fadograss', together with the Portuguese singer Ana Margarida?

Update 21 Sept.: The full text of Andre's report, together with two videos and more photographs from the Festival, can now be seen on Bluegrass Today.
Andre (banjo) with his band Stonebones & Bad Spaghetti
(photo: Maria Lazaro)

© Richard Hawkins

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At 10:01 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the report Richard. It was truly a fantastic experience to play for the Portuguese crowds.


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