Set in a medieval castle in the town of Montemor-o-Velho, Portugal, from August 30 to September 2, Festival Forte 2018 is set to be strong-armed, with a host of heavyweight artists and cutting-edge performers set to patrol the ramparts over the four-day event. In addition to the main stage program, which takes place within the Montemor-o-Velho castle, the organisers have prepared a well-curated program of experimental performances and audio-visual works set in the village theatre (of which we're most looking forward to Jose Macabra's tear-jerking journey - check out his guest appearance on our 199Radio show below).
With a booming system, the central stage presents an exciting lineup comprising a roster of younger international producers and DJs including the likes of Stanislav Tolkachev and Anastasia Kristensen, alongside with some of the most respected and pioneering artists positioned firmly in the techno realm, such as Donato Dozzy, Planetary Assault Systems and Oscar Mulero. This year, a real highlight has to be a performance from Surgeon (Anthony Childs), whose precise, often pounding constructions have led him to be considered as one of the masters from the ‘Birmingham School’.
Aligning with a stellar list of techno stalwarts on the main stage, boundary-pushing sets from experimental artists like Alva Noto, Monolake and The Hacker come highly-anticipated. Also, in continuation of what could be considered an ‘old-school/new-school’ theme, other noteworthy slots include a back-to-back extravaganza from two of Paris club Concrete’s resident DJs Antigone and François X, in addition to appearances by Umwelt, Lena Willikens, Helena Hauff and Neel. Among these established artists, a group of Portuguese DJs are also well-worth checking out including Enkō, Caroline Lethô, Marum.
Back in the 1990s, the castle played host to what some consider to be Portugal’s first rave parties, which were put on by the Portuguese label Question of Time and later culminated in Tecnolandia ’97. After a brief hiatus, the Forte organisers have now occupied the castle walls and the surrounding village to stunning effect for the past five years.
With each year that goes by, the festival has generated considerable recognition within a traditional setting and is popular with locals and festivalgoers alike. Ticketholders are able to walk freely in the village, which is full of local shops, restaurants and cafés. From the nearby campsite – a safe and welcoming space with enough shade to stave off the midsummer sunshine – arriving at the castle takes only a 15-minute stroll, winding one’s way through Montemor-o-Velho’s cobbled streets and up the zig-zag escalator to the castle entrance.
General admission tickets for the full four-day program on sale for €100, with daily tickets for €50. Camping is free, and there are convenient transport links to Montemor-o-Velho and Coimbra. See www.festivalforte.com for more information.