The audience may find the Portuguese music scene average. Its NOT. Lisbon has potential for a BIG music event!

Music  has a special interest to us.

Besides being huge music lovers, both of us have worked in and with the music industry for many years.

Annette has worked with the Danish Music Award as Marketing Director at IFPI and internationally as VP Marketing for Carlsberg globally where she initiated the brewery’s international music sponsor strategy.

Thomas has produced albums, been an active music sponsor, advised artists, worked with international music festivals, sponsorship consultant, arranged concerts etc as marketing Director at Tuborg Denmark, General Manager at EMI Records, member of the board for Copenhagen Jazzfestival and as volunteer in various grass root projects.

The feature on the Portuguese Festival scene in Pollstar Pro Friday made me reflect on the issue.




Music Industry media Pollstar Pro: The status quo in Portugal

PollstarPro-logo.jpgThe European music audience may find the Portuguese entertainment scene hunky-dory, as Gideon Gottfried write is his article in Pollstar Pro.

From a promoter’s point of view, it’s a bit different.

“Over the last years main artists have included Portugal in their tours, and a lot of brands/companies support a lot of the big events. Tourism has provided international audiences as well.”

The audience benefited from a large number of cheap and even free festivals staged by the government. This poses a problem for promoters who cannot compete with government money. And if they lowered ticket prices they would, of course, not be able to cover all their costs. The fact that Portugal has high marketing costs, a lot of bureaucracy and expensive licenses exacerbates the problem.

“For that reason, promoters are dependent on governmental funds and/or sponsors,” Bramão said. Others simply organized events with a non-professional attitude, which limited future growth and development of the sector.

He emphasizes, however, that “things are changing in Portugal and there is a lot of potential of growth and sustainable development of the entertainment business.

”Many festivals, especially the smaller ones, only survived because of government funds. There are some programs for events that have a great impact on tourism or in the communities, events that help the development and economy of a small region for example.”

Read Gideon Gottfried’s interview with founder & president of Aporfest (Portugal Music Festival Association) Ricardo Bramão in PollstarPro on 14 October 2016


To us Lisbon is cornucopia of music in all genres, in all formats and everywhere.

All these events are not music events – but there is music in all of them…



We didn’t realise we had missed music so much until we started going to concerts and festivals again after 7 years in Asia. The European music audience may find the Portuguese entertainment scene hunky-dory, but after 2 years in Lisbon we have a different point of view – like the local promoters have.

Lisbon has a thriving music underground scene with new and vibrant indoor and out door venues, interesting and blooming genres influenced by Portugal’s colonial past, from vibrant labels and a lot of new exiting media. Every week we get introduced to new artists and interesting communities within all genres.

So we see a lot opportunities: Fado has a huge potential musically, but also as a promotion tool for Lisbon – it just needs to get rid off all its dust and a little rejuvenating – as Fado Redux does. The Afro influenced DJ genre – aka The Ghetto Sound of Lisbon – headed by DJ Marfox and Principe Records is unique and already happening in our hood – just check out the scene in our local venue: Damas in Graça. It’s just a matter of time before the genre breaks internationally. 



1,100 concerts in 10 days on 100 venues spread over Copenhagen and an audience of >250,000 makes Copenhagen Jazz Festival one of the biggest music events in Europe. With Lisbon’s climate, all its parks, squares, Miradouros and other outdoor places the city has potential to host an even bigger festival. Both the music and audience is already here. 

What Lisbon needs is an international music event that covers the whole city

All the elements Lisbon needs to give the city’s music profile an edges are already there.

Lisbon has so many small existing super festivals & events that just need a platform to get exposure from. Like an event that involves all Freguesias, one that includes all venues and takes advantage of all the parks, squares, roof tops, Miradouros & other outdoor venues we have everywhere. And one that involves and includes all music related stakeholders such as Designers, media, writers, critics, fashion, artists…. Like Copenhagen International Jazzfestival or SBSW in Austin  … like a musical counterpart to the Santo Antonio Festival or the upcoming Web Summit.

The time is right. The audience is here, the infrastructure is here, the sponsors are here – and must important: The talent and creativity is here.

The only thing missing is someone to take the lead. A super Start-Up opportunity for the right person(-s).


Thomas, 15 October 2016



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