The Busiest Summer
One thing that I love about Portugal is how incredibly busy each Summer gets. There’s no town in the country, big or small, that doesn’t have a calendar of street festivals and other entertainment that stretches from the early days of June to the last days of August. The weather also helps!
Sun shines from the start of May and doesn’t go away until October. It’s no surprise that most people schedule their weddings and other family celebrations right around this time, usually outdoors, in these gorgeous, once-upon-a time farmhouse-type villas.
This summer was my third since I moved here but the first since I‘ve become more established as an artist. I got to work with different companies and at different venues over the last 12 months and when summer started I was lucky enough to participate in a few of the many events hosted around the country. Looking back, I remember when I moved here and was told that I would have a hard time finding a job because of Portugal’s economy. Fortunately, this summer ended up becoming my busiest period ever!
It all started in Vila Real, a gorgeous town a couple of hours away from the coast. Every year for as long as anyone can remember and like many other towns around the country, it hosts a street festival…ish kind of event. They celebrate the town’s patron saint where everyone, old and young goes out, watches some shows or street artists and buys a hotdog or handcrafts in one of the many stands that get put up. This year, they hosted a theme festival to go along with it called “The Black Night”. Everyone dresses in black and watches performances in a big stage set up specifically for it in the town square. I got to take part in the event as an aerialist through Grupo Spirit and little did I know it was just the beginning of a series of events I was going to be taking part in.
I ended up travelling the country. Vila Real was the starting point but I went as far south as possible to Faro, with stops near Lisbon, in Setúbal, and back to Arouca in the North. I finished the circuit in Gondomar, a town close to Porto where I live, in a scorching 40C September sun. Funnily enough, for an event with the complete opposite theme as the first one: “The White Night”. The events were different every time. From silks to hoop, on stage or literally on the street, I got to move around, see the country and meet a lot of interesting people and experience their traditions. Arouca was a particularly memorable experience. I got to stay in an old convent for the night and performed under an ancient tree with some pretty unexpected summer rain. Of course, I couldn’t forget to go back to Ireland and was fortunate enough to participate at the awesome Foynes Air Show, before coming back to Portugal for the last few weeks of summer.
For the first time I got a lot more involved in “private” celebrations like weddings and christenings, doing mostly hoop, meet and greeting guests and getting to work with some absolutely amazing wedding planners like Algarve Prestige. All of this while performing regularly at my local residency in downtown Porto, Galeria de Paris Restaurant.
Summer’s now coming to an end and I’m the proudest kind of tired you can be after a season like this. I’m looking forward to going back to teaching with some workshops in Ireland and the UK and my regular online classes. I love performing but small breaks do come in handy sometimes. All in all, I’m grateful for the experiences I got to have and the people I got to work with. I’m excited and looking forward to the next Summer!