Sunday, July 23, 2023

Unifant Festival- Travanchina, Portugal July 21-22nd, 2023

Unifant Festival is a local non-profit organization who have been putting on a small music festival for the last 6 years (not festival in 2020-21) but were back this year with a full 1 1/2 program.  I have been doing some volunteer work the last months to help the festival and all working at the festival are volunteers. The bands also all play for one meal and one drinks ticket (per person) and if you are further than 50km away, you get gas money as well. 

Anyway, we arrived around 17 on Friday and the festival site looked fantastic. There is a large dome with a small stage and sound booth as the main area. The large eating place down below the dome is where most people can be found or at the bar, which has a small DJ booth next to it. They also make pizzas.  No cash is exchanged and everything done via 10€ tickets and most drinks were 1-2€ (each tick on the card was 0.5€).  This is all very well organized. 

This is very much a family festival with lots of activities for kids and lots of them around. 

The opening ceremony started at 18 and about 50 people were there. It was lead by Suze Elliot, a local spiritualist.  She said a lot of nice words and created a great positive atmosphere. There were alot of small drums, shakers so people could get into the tribal spirit.  

1830, the local hard rock band, The Precipice, lead by Belgian singer-guitarist, Rudy.  They are a tight 3 piece playing all original songs with lyrics that provoke and make you think about the world we live in…  Sadly, they played to about 10 people, as most everyone left for the bar or food area.  They played 1 hr.. I had seen them a year ago and they had a few new songs, They still have no recorded output but Stephen, the drummer, said next year they plan to record the songs properly.

Set List: Don't wait for Judgement Day, Freedom of Life, Sleepwalkers, What If, Flush, The Lock, 2020-2021, Plug Out, ?, Stand tall for Who, Hold the Wine, The Precipice
The Precipice

A local DJ, Aaron Vansant, played some melodic electronic music for the next hr or so.  Aaron, I recognized him from the local seeds shop in Oliveria do Hospital. Super nice guy.  He also performed for nearly no people but you could hear the music over the entire site. I guess there were about 80 people about, including all the voluneers and lots of kids!! 

I Spy, a local band lead by Andy Shades (famous around these parts), were back. They played last year at the one day event.  Rob, the drummer, really seem to have improved a lot and he and Gino were tight. They were plagued by a lot of monitor issues on the stage and Andy was so fed up, he nearly quit the gig and left but thankfully he did not..  Again, not many people attending or dancing. Pity.. 

Set List: Jam. Rising, Drop in the Ocean, Trust that Feeling, Abort, Bottletops, Leaf of Faith. Wild Embrace, Breathe it In, Said and Done, Paga Kiss, Now Here, Monsters, One Step Away, NO Business

I Spy

Later in the evening there was Acetate (UK), based in Portugal now, Bernas and Organick (one of the main organizers).  I heard that Organick was great and played from 130 to 4 in the morning.  

July 22nd

The group that I play in with Dr Weaver, Doctors of Space, we were the first band on and we arrived at 11:10 and set up went pretty smooth but it was hot!!!! MOst of the stage was shaded but where it was not, it was hot and it was hard to see the digital displays on some of our gear.  We had a good sound on stage, at least I felt I could hear all well.  I was told it was massive and cool out front as well. We started right at 12 and played til 13.  The audience ranged from 1-10 people.  It is really strange to not really have any people at the stage. We had fun and played 6 tracks (all improvised).  It was a like an old school drum and bass set really to appeal more to this electronic music crowd, even though none of them showed up to the gig.   We had a lot of positive feedback from people all over the camp site which was good but it does not give you any energy and support when only a few people are at the stage. It is a bit demoralizing… It was worse for the next guy.

Doctors of Space

Luis Olivera, a super nice guy from Penalva da Alva, had a huge pedal board set up and played some originals and some cover songs for an hour on both acoustic and electric guitar.  Sadly, he also played for almost no people. He was a very nice guy. We enjoyed his set from the eating area but it was not that loud. 

Luis Olivera

Next was a Capoeira Workshop, a special type of dance and exercize workshop that they have every here. There were 30 or so people getting into it. 

Acetate was on next but we did not catch his act.  He was going to do a totally different set than the night before.  I had a nice chat with him. Cool guy… Another Shamanic Workshop was planned after that and then just music with Mae Bird, Persy, Yellowstone, Emo Dee lite, Fliptrix, Geometri, Quietman and DC. A lot of DJs and one rapper. 

I think it was a good success but less people than they had planned. There were only 100 tickets to be sold but I do not think there were even 100 people (not during the day) and this includes all the volunteers. I guess 50 or less tickets were sold.  

It is a great family festival and I would highly recommend it..


Casafloresta- Casa da Cultura, Seia, PT June 17th, 2023

This was a very interesting event in the Culture House in Seia. I was invited by the Suse (the sound woman, who also worked on my music studio).  It was a combination of film, piano, guitar, accordion, 10 string viola guitar, some voice and sound samples. The music was very dissonant at times and experimental and QUIET.  I was very irritated but the lady in front of me who was on her phone half the concert with this huge bright white rectangle screen lighting up the area. Stupid..

Anyway, the woman playing the piano was amazing and creative and reached inside and made strange noises and bowed strings, and just played so cool… The guy who accompanied her mainly on the computer samples and acoustic guitar, he also played anything but normal guitar.  Repetitive picked patterns mixed with use of the body of the guitar. It was pretty interesting but very slow to evolve. I do not think I have the patience to play this kind of music and neither to most listeners!!! 

They played about 50mins and then there was a open discussion about the project that brings art and nature together.. It was lead by the woman, Corinna Lawrenz, who created this concept. I think… I did not stay for the discussion.  I do not have any pictures.