Loulé’s MED Festival has brought home two accolades from the 7th edition of the Iberian Festival Awards, held on Saturday, March 11 in the northern Portuguese town of Maia.
The regional event was hailed the winner in the categories of ‘Best Lusophone and Hispanic Festival’ and ‘Best Touristic Promotion’, bringing its total tally of Iberian Festival Awards over the years to eight.
“We are delighted as, once again, we are winners at these awards. The Iberian Festival Awards are, without a doubt, a barometer of what is best produced in the festival industry, be it in terms of artists, organisers, production, partners, venues and more,” said MED director Carlos Carmo.
“These two awards are the result of another year in which we organised a high-quality MED, which received praise from visitors as well as specialised press and other organisers,” he said, adding that the awards are also thanks to all council workers who get involved to help bring the event to life.
Carmo also thanked APORFEST (Portuguese Association of Music Festivals) and its representatives Ricardo Bramão and Marta Azevedo for “believing in these festivals” and how they help promote the country as a touristic destination.
Indeed, the ‘Best Touristic Promotion’ award has been highlighted by Loulé Council as especially important. The event had already won the award in 2018 and 2020 but only on a national level, having now received the Iberian accolade.
“This event has contributed strongly to attract more tourists to the Algarve and Portugal and is a boost to the local economy,” the council stresses, adding that 40% of visitors are foreigners, most of them Spanish, British and French, and 39% of these foreign visitors chose to travel to the Algarve because of MED.
Its impact on the local economy is also noted, with increases of 50% to 80% in hotel bookings and 50% in restaurant sales during the event.
Meanwhile, the festival’s eclectic line-up of musicians and artists from all over the world – including many from Portuguese-speaking countries and neighbouring Spain – is highlighted by the council as one of the reasons for the festival to win the ‘Best Lusophone and Hispanic Festival’ award.
Earlier this month, organisers had already announced that MED will take place this year between June 29 and July 2, promising “90 hours of music, 66 concerts, 400 musicians, 18 nationalities, 12 stages, 100 craftspeople, four art exhibitions and eight street entertainment groups”.
The musical line-up so far includes: Amadou&Mariam (Mali), Amaro Freitas (Brazil), AYWA (Morocco/France), BandaAdriatica (Italy), Bandua (Portugal), Bateu Matou (Portugal), Bia Ferreira (Brazil), Bulimundo (Cape Verde), Club Makumba (Portugal), Horace Andy (Jamaica), Lavoisier (Portugal), Omar Souleyman (Syria), Onipa (Ghana/UK), Sara Correia (Portugal), Sarah McCoy (USA), Sétima Legião (Portugal) and Pedro Mafama (Portugal).
Aside from music, there will be the usual film screenings, poetry readings, theatre performance, street entertainment, art exhibitions, conferences and street food, while environmental sustainability will remain a key theme.