Two hours outside of Lisbon, the scorched flatlands surrounding the small town of Zambujeira do Mar are dotted with fairy-lit campsites huddled in the shade cast by dense copses of pine trees. Despite temperatures approaching 45 degrees, some young ravers will be staying here for the full nine days of MEO Sudoeste. The campsites are decorated with spray-painted flags and clan tags to distinguish their territories, though the post-apocalyptic vibe is somewhat lightened by the showers, microwaves, sinks, washing machines, wi-fi, festival food delivery service and shuttle buses to and from the town.

When the sun finally sinks below the mountains, the temperature plummets – and with bandanas wrapped across their faces and utility belts worn like sashes, the Thrasher-branded Portuguese youth emerge from their settlements. Music starts at 19:30 at the smaller LG By Mega Hits stage, which draws a more headsy crowd with standout performances from r’n’b singer/songwriter MAR and Portuguese rapper Yuzi over the weekend. As the neighbouring main stage begins its all-night stream of sparks, smoke and confetti to accompany the steamy sounds of C4 Pedro, festival director Luís Montez, overlooking the scene from an open-topped tour bus, gestures to the grounds with widespread arms and hails “Portugal’s very own Las Vegas”.

The acts playing at MEO Sudoeste’s 21st year range from Jason Derulo to Don Diablo (Hardwell cancelled due to illness) – but what’s unique is the way it juxtaposes the Xanned-up melancholy of SoundCloud rap artists with the sugar-rush theatrics of EDM. (T)rap artist Desiigner, best known for his 2016 hit ‘Panda’, delivers a performance which sees him deeply immersed in the crowd for the majority of his hour-long slot. His show, well worthy of being at the top of the bill, is followed first by SoundCloud sensation Lil Pump and then by EDM star Marshmello.

Click here to view original web page at