As a festival known for commercial music and a young crowd, MEO Sudoeste certainly lived up to its reputation. But, with atmospheric fog, a couple of surprise showstoppers, and an audience so hyped they ran from the entrances in a stampede worthy of the discovery channel, it was worth the journey south from our Lisbon home.
Here are some of the highlights of MEO Sudoeste 2019 (i.e. our personal favorites), some cool aspects of the arena itself, and a couple of improvements that could be made.
First, a shout out to Mynda Guevara, who opened the festival-proper on the Santa Casa stage to little fanfare. Our first taste of Sudoeste, and a damn good one. This 22-year old rapper from Cova da Moura recently featured in the documentary “Mulheres do meu País” and brought the same firey passion expressed there to this southern stage. Kudos.
A not-so-unexpected highlight was Post Malone, who put on a helluva show, bringing the audience along for the ride. As one of the headliners, this isn’t much of a surprise, but unlike some of the other acts hitting the main stage (I’m looking at you, Anitta), he showed some real talent.
Another artist who we had an eye on and proved to be every bit as good as predicted was Chong Kwong, giving an absolutely kickass show on the medium-sized LG stage. If you get a chance, catch one of her live shows, if you don’t, just listen.
Speaking of extremely high-energy female performers, Blaya absolutely killed it on the main stage the first day. With multiple costume changes, a whole troupe of dancers, and a very powerful voice, she showed how a show should be done.
Another great performance from the smallest of the stages (Santa Casa) was Phoenix RDC, who played an incredibly good set, had the audience absolutely pumped, and did it all in one of the best outfits of the festival.
Who Headlined MEO Sudoeste 2019?
That’s our run down, but much like the festival itself, you’re probably only here for the headliners and mainstage-mavericks.
How Was the Camping at MEO Sudoeste 2019?
We were lucky enough to be put up by Santa Casa, who were running a little campsite within the main camping area. It was an oasis of calm in an otherwise chaotic array of tents, tarps, and lurid signs. However, even within this better-than-most area, there was one pretty serious problem: no water.
This was an issue that was actually present throughout the whole festival since there were zero water points to fill up bottles. This would be forgivable and put down us unfeasible due to infrastructure if it wasn’t for the fact that the only water you could get onsite was in tiny plastic bottles (33cl) and cost €1,50! At best this is a pain in the ass, at worst it is straight-up dangerous.
How Was the Festival Site at MEO Sudoeste 2019?
The site itself was made up of three stages — the main MEO stage, the medium-sized LG stage, and the smallest Santa Casa stage — and a bunch of the festivals’ sponsored. Something new to us, there were a bunch of activities organized by marketeers, with everything from MEO-sponsered twister to Pringle-branded face painting. And you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone without some kind of branded gear (hats, bags, weird cardboard microphones). We got free Ucal, so there’s that. The one branded offering that stood out from the rest was definitely Pedras’ rather unique body-marbling station, run by a Lisbon-based company, which gave lots of people a badass UV makeover.
As well as the food stands and sponsors, the site had a couple of fairground rides, foosball tables, and those “measure-my-strength” machines to keep the crowds occupied. These neon-lit machines were especially cool when the coastal fog descended, so respect if that was the organizers’ intention.
All photos by Patricia Imbarus unless otherwise stated.