Why Neopop is already your go-to festival for 2019

So much d-a-n-c-i-n-g.

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While the name may suggest an upcoming album by the likes of a certain Gaga, Neopop surely proves the antithesis of pop. Since its inception as Anti-Pop to its modern iteration as Neopop, the festival is home to the vigorous underground of electronic music, fully automated with a dark techno swoosh. Located in the coastal town of Viana Do Castelo, Portugal, Neopop is your next annual rite of passage. From its transcending scenery to its canny programming and dancing from dusk till dawn; here’s why Neopop is the bass-heavy baptism you never knew you needed.

It may be safe to say that Viana Do Castelo is among the cutest towns you’ll ever visit. Sitting in a Northern bay on the Atlantic, surrounded by lushly forested hills and native beaches, this industrial city is not just a tourist trap, but gives you medieval romanticism with a Portuguese charm. On the edge of the city you’ll find the 16th-century fortress that boastfully houses Neopop’s festival grounds. Formerly used as one of Portugal’s main seaports, it now serves as the new build order for one of Portugal’s latest thriving industries: Techno. Commencing the festa with all guns blazing, French electronic luminary St Germain brings the sweltering streets of Paris to the Portuguese docks. Currently celebrating his first studio album in 15 years, Ludovic Navarre is the undefeated festival entry to safeguard you from outdoor dancing, proving once again, that the sun shines even when it rains.

Guiding us towards the cellar doors of darkness’ ends, it’s the rare appearance of the Detroit duo Dopplereffekt that gives us life. Hiding in a cloud of anonymity during their stage performance, ironically, it’s the black matte masks that give them away. Serving futuristic soundscapes from Detroit’s finest on a silver platter, it’s their experimental attitude towards a set list that facilitates us in achieving all of our festival goals. Fun fact: It was Gerald Donald from Dopplereffekt who coaxed Glamcult favourite DJ Stingray into wearing his mask. Speaking of Gc favourites, the admirable Tijana T takes the stage next. Sending us on a midnight workout, she brings an electronic joyride with a splash of early trance. With her achingly cool stage presence and kaleidoscopic sounds, Tijana is the reigning techno fairy princess that any rave needs.

Who else but Mozhgan would bring a whirlwind of beats to realize her musical dreams? The Iran-born powerhouse has been grinding her dark disco behind the decks for nearly a decade now. With a fresh aesthetic and relentless dedication, she carefully curates her set, fuelled with 80s synthesizers, cold waves and vintage bass lines. Closing the second night at morning’s glory, Mozhgan is the flag-bearer for the contemporary electronic avant-garde who should definitely be on your radar.

Beyond Neopop’s on-site festival experience, two exclusive nights are accommodated in the glorious Sá de Miranda Theater and hosted by vitality dealer Red Bull. The neoclassical theatre hosts a regular line-up of music, theatre, dance and the occasional opera—making a statement on how perhaps in the near future, sitting may be the new dancing. On the first night, Clark presents his cinematic Death Peak show and is accompanied by GPU Panic in doing so. Augmented with euphoric highs and melodic lows, Clark ascends from lavish synth atmospheres to raptures of wreckage. James Holden & The Animal Spirits perform their homogenous album on the second night. Turning up with a compilation of self-described “folk-trance”, Holden roams off from the misty industrial docks to angelic sand-clad fields while surfing the canorous waves.

Words by Ruben Baart

Photography by Diogo Lima, Marta Santos and Hugo Silva

www.neopopfestival.com

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