President Marcelo spent over an hour and a half yesterday listening to why representatives of Portugal’s festivals and events sector feel they have been unfairly discriminated against by a government that has solidly refused to hear them out.
A new meeting has been set for two weeks time, giving Marcelo time to deal with the various complaints and (hopefully) achieve some solutions.
The thrust of the meeting was that this is a sector that has been essentially cut-off from earning any money for 16 months.
Practically all the summer’s ‘staple’ festivals (Alive, Rock in Rio, Super Bock Super Rock, Primavera Sound, Boom, Lisb-ON, Amplifest, Rolling Loud, Summer Fest to name just a few) have had to be postponed for a second year running due to ‘demands’ issued in response to the pandemic.
Organisers feel the demands are ‘unfounded’ and discriminatory – in that no other sector has been quite so penalised.
Worse, the results of recent test events have not been made public. These took place in Lisbon, Coimbra and Porto (click here) and by all accounts they ‘went very well and didn’t result in a single case of infection’ from the virus.
Yet only last week, the Council of Ministers/ DGS announced new restrictions, meaning no events can take place without ‘on-the-spot testing’ which will fall under the responsibility (for this include cost) of promoters.
Hopes are that tomorrow’s Council of Ministers might reduce some of the uncertainties surrounding public gatherings. But for now, the only ‘major summer festival’ still programmed is the teen extravaganza “Meo Sudoeste”, near Zambujeira do Mar, in August.