Freekuency Festival - 5-8 April 2018
We arrived at the Freekuency festival site on a beautiful sunny day as others were arriving and setting up. We had spent the previous weekend, which had been Easter weekend in Evora, a nearby town, busking. We had done quite well there, an owner of a wine bar had invited us to play one of the evenings and although he couldn't pay us any cash he fed us well and we drunk as much wine as we could handle! Evora is well worth a visit if you are ever in the area.
There had been rain previously but the clouds were clearing and it was blue sky and sunshine on our arrival. We parked our collection of vans on some higher ground after seeing a lorry in some lover ground already stuck in mud! Our friend made a time lapse video of the lorry getting dug out which you can watch HERE if you are interested, it's a good watch.
Our band, Undying Heads, were the first live band to play on the Thursday evening in the Funky Beatz Bar marquee. That was great for us as we could enjoy the rest of the festival without thinking we needed to keep relatively sane and sober for a performance!
Freekuency had grown immensely since my last visit in 2011, many more big marquees and stuff going on as well as thousands of more people. There was also a huge amount of trucks, busses and vans from all over Europe parked up, Freekuency is one of the, (maybe the) biggest free festivals in Europe. Travellers, hippies, freaks and alternative people come from far and wide to attend. Many come in live-in vehicles but also many fly into Lisbon or other airports and make their way there as well as car loads of party goers from mainly Portugal and Spain.
On Friday daytime we had sunshine and blue skies. We took the instruments and wandered the festival playing a few songs to each group of people we came across. This went down well and we made lots of new friends. Late that afternoon the rain came back and drenched the festival site. It became very muddy and people still arriving were getting vehicles stuck in the mud. Some cars were abandoned stuck in the lanes thus blocking the way for emergency vehicles. A special moment was the double rainbow that appeared early evening.
On Saturday and Sunday we enjoyed walking around in the mud looking at the array of different live-in vehicles. We met up with loads of friends from far and wide. We sat in friends vans putting the world to rights and talking shite! I can't tell you what music we saw in those two days because we really didn't see that much, we spent most of our time there socialising away from the marquees. We were in the marquees late at night but that was after quite a few beers so I have a very hazy memory of what we saw!
By the Monday morning we were watching with horror people trying to leave but getting stuck time and time again. We decided that we should try sooner rather than later to leave as the more people that tried, the more churned up the tracks became. We were confidant that as we had been on many muddy festival fields in the UK and Ireland over the years we had a bit of experience of driving in the conditions under foot. Luckily we managed to get off site without getting stuck and stopped in a nearby village for a cold beer before setting back to our base in Portugal to get ready for Total Resistance in 2 weeks time.
Freekuency festival did not go ahead in 2019, the organisers decided to have a year off to try and work out how they could manage such a big event with such a small crew. They called out for more volunteers as the festival had grown so much it needed a much bigger crew. At the end of 2019 they announced that the planned 2020 festival would not take place due to 'personal circumstances'. With hindsight it would not have been able to go ahead anyway due to the Corona virus crisis. Who knows what 2021 will bring?
You can keep up to date with events from the Freekuency crew at their Facebook page HERE.
Below are a selection of photographs from the festival.