Just because it’s September doesn’t mean that it isn’t summer somewhere in the world. This weekend, I’m chasing festival season to the sunny shores of Lisbon and the Nova Batida Festival. This recent edition to the Portuguese festival scene brings an eclectic mix of artists to the LX Factory for three nights of music, art and culture.
Day #105 of 100: Festival #16 of 15
Bonus festival! The premise of 100 Nights of Summer is not only that I hit up 15 festivals in 15 straight weekends (done and done), but that I also attend festivals in 15 different countries. Due to travel snafus, PR mishaps, and because I really wanted to see Gogol Bordello, I ended up in France for two weekends in a row. Lucky for me, summer never ends in Portugal and Nova Batida provided more than enough reason to return to one of my favorite countries.
1. Running the Numbers
2. The Scene
3. Stray Observations
4. Travel Tips
5. Final Thoughts
Running the Numbers
Nova Batida Stats:
Dates: September 13-5, 2020
MFW Beer Index: €4.00
Highest/Lowest Temperature: 21C/33C (68F/90F)
Reusable Cups? Yes!
Free Water Stations? No
100 Nights of Summer Stats:
Days on the Road: 105
Countries Visited: 18
Festivals Attended: 16
Festival Days: 43
Festival Days w/rain: 6
Days Camping: 25
The Venue: Lx Factory
A former textile factory that has been transformed into an urban oasis of art, trendy restaurants, and hip shops sets the stage for Nova Batida. The action is centered in the cavernous hall of Lx Factory Indoors, although if you need a break, there’s a lovely rooftop terrace with DJs spinning all evening. The other main spot to party is just around the corner at the Village Underground, a collection of colorful shipping containers.
My train travels from Lollapalooza Berlin to Portugal via Eurail pass took a little longer than expected, so I missed Friday night of Nova Batida, but I was able to deep dive into the other two nights of electronic, hip-hop, and funk.
Back in 2003 (and a different life), I worked on a music tour with Talib Kweli, so it was a bit of a nostalgic blast to see him in a warehouse halfway around the world 15 years later. Like most of the crowd on Saturday night, I was also pumped for the follow-up of Friendly Fires who set up their equipment, then didn’t play due to technical difficulties. Despite that crushing blow, we managed to console ourselves with an extended set from Jungle.
On Sunday night, the Ibibio Sound Machine kicked off the night with a strong blast of electronic afro-funk. I bounced back and forth between the two stages catching sets from Four Tet, Ben UFO, and closing down the festival at 4 in the morning.
What Else is Happening at Nova Batida?
Look, I’m a bit beat down from this summer, so I wasn’t able to fully engage in all the daytime fun of Nova Batida. I was especially bummed to miss out on the daily boat parties, as well as morning yoga sessions and the surf camp. The incredible Ler Devagar Bookstore (see photo below) hosted a daily assortment of education talks about music and the industry.
Although to be fair, nobody invited me to any VIP parties, so I can’t confirm this.
The Art of Lx Factory
The entire venue basically doubles as a museum for street art with murals and sculptures everywhere. Even without the festival, it’s well worth your time to come check out this unique area.
The British Are Coming!
Most of the Nova Batida crowd hailed from the UK, which was a surprising twist to find in Portugal.
What’s the weather like? It’s still summer down here in Portugal. The nights can get a bit cool with a chill wind coming over the ocean and the occasional rainstorm.
What’s the prime hours for music? This is a club-style festival with live bands kicking off the music in the early evening and then DJs taking over until about 4am.
Where did you sleep? September is an ideal time to visit Lisbon, so expect typical summertime crowds when searching for lodging. I ended up staying in a beautiful spot from X.
How do you get there? I flew into Madrid and took a lively overnight train with my Eurail pass to Lisbon. There are also plenty of flights, although you may find cheaper options if you fly into Porto. The LXFactory is located west of downtown and is connected by buses, trams, and trains, although if there is a group of you, taking Uber will be the cheaper and quicker option.
Well, that’s a wrap on this summer’s travel adventure across Europe and the end of the 5th year of 100 Nights of Summer. I never thought when I dropped in on Primavera Sound in 2015 that it would lead to me covering 77 music festivals in 32 different countries. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to lie down for the next six months.