NEOPOP Festival + Interview with Gustavo Pereira we talk about the past and current situation and of course, about the future!

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“Neopop Festival is one of the biggest and most important electronic music festivals in Portugal. Held in Viana do Castelo, in the north of the country, the festival takes place annually in August and features an incredible selection of artists within genres of techno, house and other strains of electronic music.

The festival attracts fans from all over the world who come in search of a unique and engaging musical and artistic experience. Besides the artists, Neopop Festival is also known for its high-quality production, with an impressive stage and spectacular visual effects that make the experience even more unforgettable.

If you’re a fan of electronic music, techno and house particularly, Neopop Festival is definitely an event you won’t want to miss. The vibrant atmosphere, high-quality lineup and incredible production make this one of the best electronic music festivals in the world.”

We sat down with the NEOPOP Festival curator Gustavo to talk about the past and current situation and of course, about the future!

Let’s start the interview the traditional way. Could you explain to us the core concept of the Neopop Festival? and introduce yourself to our readers, please.

Hello, my name is Gustavo Pereira, 42 years old,  and I’m one of the co-founders of the Neopop festival that happens since 2006 in the city of Viana do Castelo, in the north of Portugal. I’m the festival’s artistic director and also responsible for marketing and communication. I started working on the music scene at the age of 17 and in the meantime, I’ve managed clubs, and artists, and curated and produced many different events around Portugal.

I also DJ as I feel it’s part of the creative process and helps me with my bookings and also to get a more close idea of what people are looking for these days. 

Neopop started cause in August clubs were closing at that time for holidays cause no one was in Porto or Lisbon. So we wanted to create a cool event with a special location and scenario associated with a fresh and strong lineup where we would combine the most wanted names in the underground scene together with the new talents or at least what we believed could be the new generation of upcoming artists. Sound and visuals are also super important for us, we’ve always invested a lot in that so we can deliver to artists and crowd the best conditions and most inspiring visuals.

How would you compare the festival when you started in 2006 to the version we have today? 

The love, passion for music and the family and union feeling are still there. The rest is just a normal evolution.

The festival is happening in Viana do Castelo, which is one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal as you said before. How did you manage to organize a festival in such a wonderful spot?

We were lucky throughout the years, gathering some contacts at Turismo do Norte (Portugal Institute for Tourism in the north of Portugal) through work that help us in this process. Another push in this process is due to the good institutional work of my partner Raul Duro that secured that location as a strategic positioning for a cultural project for Viana do Castelo.

What has been for you the most memorable moment of the festival so far? Do you have any favorite performance among the most successful live acts or a favorite personal experience? 

Def the first day we opened doors in 2006. That’s a feeling and memory I will never forget.

As a matter of other memories, I can give you some ex like the day a big boat left the shipyard in the morning and honked to the crowd and everyone got crazy, or the one that was super hot and I had to call the fireman, they brought the car and I was watering everyone in the morning during Tale of Us set. In terms of acts, there were a lot of special ones like Ata from Robert Jonson closing the second year of the festival, Supermayer coming in white robes from the hotel to perform, Wighnomy Brothers playing percussion with Vodka bottles,

Kraftwerk smiling to the crowd, Underworld performing at our stage and many many more during the NEOPOP Festival

How do you manage to have a good variety of artists among your bookings? Are you open to fresh emerging artists you discover on your music travels?

100%. It’s not easy to keep a nice balance between acts that perform everywhere and everyone knows with newcomers and fresh acts. I try to keep doing it by chasing them and keeping my eyes and ears open to new artists.

We are a fashion-art-music magazine focused a lot on aesthetics, looking at your visual campaign with attention to metaverse concepts, and AI tools. We strongly feel the synergy between our concepts. How did you connect all the aspects including the team and your vision with music and visuals?

This festival has been evolving following closely the advances in technology specifically on a more audiovisual spectrum as part of us wanting and needing to create a bigger experience for our audience and artists. The belief that we have created something unique and special that can materialize in a digital way in a more artistic and abstract is something that appeals to us.

Metaverse is definitely an artistic form of us showcasing in different ways part of the experience we have at the festival.

Let’s call it an extension a visual aesthetics extension that embodies our desires and also our aspirations. We requested this from Studio Bruto that collaborated closely with 3d artist Serafim Mendes in the development and creation of this concept.

You also run other festivals besides NEOPOP. What is the difference between presenting shows somewhere else compared to the festival in Portugal? It also seems like an incredible amount of work to run a few projects like this. What’s your secret weapon?

Try to stick to their initial concepts, even though sometimes we have the same artists playing our different events all of them are different in some way. Or the locations, or the line-up direction, the crowd, there is always something that distinguishes one from another. It’s not easy and there is no secret weapon at all. Just focus and not lose direction and understand each concept really well. 


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