2022 will go down as a special year for the MED Festival – not only because it marked the return of the event to the streets of Loulé’s historic centre in its usual format after a two-year gap due to the pandemic, but also because the festival celebrated its 18th edition.
And while MED may have missed its crowd, the crowd also missed MED as the attendance numbers between June 30 and July 2 proved. There were moments when the streets of the historic centre were, once again, too small for such a large crowd eager to celebrate a return to normal.
Despite some last-minute changes, the festival’s music line-up featured dozens of acts which present the best of world music. There was also a vast selection of street food, exhibitions, handicraft, lectures, movie screenings and workshops.
It is always unfair to highlight a certain artist in an event known for its quality, but on Thursday night, Ukrainian band GO_A was probably the band that stood out the most with several fans and members of the Ukrainian community in Portugal making a point to attend. This was clear from the number of flags and traditional Ukrainian items displayed in the first row.
Friday night was inviting for a night out and it is no surprise that crowds flocked to attend a performance by Portuguese singer Viviane, who knew how to capitalise on the fact that she was ‘playing for the home team’. Brazilian artist Johnny Hooker was, for many, the revelation of the night with a performance that may have shocked some but attracted many more. The artist – who says he is the son of Madonna and Daivd Bowie but blessed by the “Holy Spirit of Caetano Veloso”, certainly did not leave anyone feeling indifferent.
Maro, Portugal’s most recent representative at the Eurovision Song Contest, performed on the Cerca stage, captivating a crowd which clearly wanted to see and hear her and waited until the end to hear the words ‘Saudade, Saudade’ echoing throughout the venue.
Close to the end of the event, Scúru Fitchádu (self-described on their website as a “furious locomotive of punk aesthetics”) brought the weight of their eclectic sounds to those who wanted to end the night dancing.
By Mário Rodrigo Cunha
Photos: Mário Rodrigo Cunha