Row over major festival in Portugal
Despite Covid-19, the green light has been given for the political and cultural festival Festa do Avante! to take place in Seixal this year. The event is organised by the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) and usually attracts around 100,000 visitors. The decision has triggered a heated debate in the country: is it unfair or a meticulously organised step in the right direction?
An absolutely incongruous decision
Commentator André Lamas Leite laments the decision to make an exception for this event in Público:
“So many events have been postponed, the Portuguese have been asked to make so many sacrifices. While the economy threatens to collapse and the death toll is a sad reminder of reality, the PCP speaks of an 'act of courage'. So much for that... This attitude makes me really sad, because I recognise the importance of the Communists in the concert of parties in Portugal. No doubt we will be misled with concepts for social distancing and other measures. But the reality is that there have been no music festivals, that the other parties haven't held their big rallies, that lessons were taught from home... Everything has changed!”
Time to learn how art and culture can be saved
Expresso-Autor Henrique Raposo, on the other hand, finds several reasons why the festival, which is organised by volunteers, should take place:
“We need to start carrying out pilot projects with audiences, from football to concerts. Without an audience, art and events make no sense as performances and are not profitable. But without art and culture, a society dies. In this sense, an event organised by the institution most used to crowds seems to me to be the best approach. The organisational capacity of the PCP and the immense space at the Atalaia [venue] are two strong arguments for gaining experience here.”