Super Bock, Super Flop

Around 120,000 festival-goers flocked to the 10th Super Bock Super Rock anniversary, which took place at the Parque do Tejo in Lisbon over a three day period last week. But not only was this year’s event the biggest ever, it was also the most disorganised. The Resident reporter NIKKI HALL was there.

According to Música no Coração promoter and event organiser, Álvaro Covões, an estimated six million euros was invested in one of the biggest and best line-ups the Super Rock festival has ever had. Fans were thrilled when artists such as Linkin Park, Nelly Furtado, the Pixies and Lenny Kravitz were booked for three days of pure entertainment. Security was tight and partygoers were frisked at the entrance and were asked to leave all sharp objects and any alcohol at the entrance. Some were not impressed. “When I went to Rock in Rio they only took the cap off my bottle and let me go in all the same,” said one. On top of the visible police presence, an extra 100 undercover PSP officers were thought to have patrolled the event to ensure public safety.

The performances

The first two days of the event featured great performances by the likes of Linkin Park, Korn, Muse, Da Weasel, Nelly Furtado, Avril Lavigne and N.E.R.D., but the best was yet to come. On the last day, Lenny Kravitz, Massive Attack and Fatboy Slim attracted more than 50,000 spectators, selling the event out completely.

Rocker Kravitz opened the night with Where Are We Going? the first single from his new album Baptism, then the brilliant, It Ain’t Over Until It’s Over, Always On The Run and finally American Woman. His two-hour performance, although good, seemed to drag a little, with spectators left playing their air guitars for 15 minutes at a time.

Massive Attack gave a highly impressive visual concert, featuring lots of songs from their album, 100th Window. However, the all time great, Teardrop, was, sadly, badly performed because the singer had a cold. Despite these vocal problems, the band gave an excellent and relaxing performance.

The highlight of the night was when Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim, turned the event into a club. All that was visible for miles was the crowd jumping up and down, blowing their whistles and thoroughly enjoying the pumping music as the sun rose from the sea.

The queues!

There were about 45 food stalls with three staff on each one to meet the needs of 50,000 hungry and thirsty people on the last day of the event. The queues were unbelievable – two for each snack bar, one (which took approximately 45 minutes) to pay for food and receive a coupon, and another to swap the coupon for food (another 30 minutes). If spectators wanted a drink to go with their dinner, they had to queue for another hour. It was about this time that people started to complain and compare the event to Rock in Rio.

Ironically for the festival which is named after the well-known beer, most stalls had run dry by around 12.30am, just as the festival was getting going.

When the festival finished, at around 5.30am, partygoers were asked to leave and some were even escorted outside the venue… to more queues for buses, taxis and trains. Only 12 buses were allocated to the event and taxis were a rare sight. At 7.30am, hundreds of people were still outside the venue, waiting for transport back home.

Hospital, not festival

One Algarve resident experienced a very different night. Richard Pringle and David Roberts travelled to the Super Bock festival to enjoy Fatboy Slim, due on stage at 3am. After entering the festival and finding huge queues for food, and no beer available, the two fans decided to leave. “We wanted to come back at 3am, but the security guard said that if we left the site, we could not re-enter,” explained Richard. Ironically, the two describe sitting at a stall just outside the site sipping a beer and listening to the bands play as “definitely the highlight of the evening!”

At about 1am, the two Englishmen decided to visit the bars in the Bairro Alto district. At first all was well. They sat chatting to some Portuguese men in a small bar, and eventually agreed to go to another bar with them. But as they stepped into a small alley it became obvious that their new friends’ intentions were not to drink, but to rob them. The last thing Richard remembers before being attacked is asking what was wrong. Then he was hit in the face, kicked as he fell to the floor and left unconscious as his ‘friends’ rifled through his pockets and took off his watch. He woke up to find a woman looking down on him, reassuring him that she had called an ambulance. Richard’s next memory is of waking up in hospital with three stitches in his lip, and no sign of David.

In fact, David had been bundled into the back of a police van and taken to the local police station, allegedly to identify his friend. When he discovered that Richard was nowhere to be seen, he asked to leave and wandered around the unfamiliar streets in his bloodstained clothing until dawn.

Luckily, Richard was able to make a phone call from the hospital and soon the British Consul was in action, reuniting the two friends.

Back in the Algarve with no permanent damage, Richard and David have only one thing to say: “We’re not kids, and we weren’t even drunk. I would just say that the back streets of Lisbon can be dangerous if you run into the wrong crowd, so keep your wits about you and beware of ‘new friends’ who want to show you around.”