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The Azores: music all summer long

We often associate summers past with a specific song. Along with the good weather, the sunshine and waves at the beach, summer soundtracks keep our memories alive during the long and cold winter. 

And, to help you build lasting memories this summer, as the Azores hosts lots of music festivals.

First things first: catch a plane to Santa Maria island

Maia Folk Festival, Santa Maria island, the AzoresKnown for its bay, its hillside vineyards, lighthouse and natural pools, the village of Maia is also known but its evening dances. During the summer, people gather to the sound of the accordion and guitars to hang out and dance.

According to the village elders, this is an ancient tradition, born in the time when people need to stay overnight in the winery to work in the harvest, mainly during September. Nights were, by then, the perfect opportunity to relax outside, listening to music and dancing.

And that’s how the Maia Folk Festival was born: they want to bring back those evenings and share them with those who visit today. And in their point of view, nothing better than the local Folk Music!

The Maia Folk Festival connects generations and has four free concerts on July 12 and 13, in Santa Maria. Between some bands from the Azores and mainland, the highlight is the Dutch Celtic music group Harmony Glen, which closes the festival.

 Next stop: São Mateus da Calheta on Terceira Island

Festival Azure, the Azores
Every year Terceira Island hosts the Festival Azure, a multicultural event that since 2003 has been held in São Mateus da Calheta (Angra do Heroísmo). This is one of the most beautiful and historic coastal areas of Angra, a  World Heritage site. 

From July 18 to 20, the visitors can enjoy live concerts, workshops, presentations and activities such as sports, art, cinema and exhibitions. For those who appreciate the outdoors, camping is available close to the Festival area and gives the opportunity of a healthy weekend of enjoying nature. 

One of the themes of the Festival is the reutilization of materials and many structures are made based on this idea –the official kiosk as the ultimate example.

Starting with the sunset and with a must-see ocean view, this Festival has two stages that will fill the night with music.

Out of the blues: other musical notes invade Santa Maria

Santa-Maria-Blues-2013At the same time, Santa Maria is not feeling blue, but its enjoying some Blues notes for sure. From July 18 to 20, the island dips into jazz, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll with Santa Maria Blues festival. During three days, the visitors can listen to bands from Portugal, The Netherlands, Germany and Serbia. 

This is a unique opportunity to listen to some Blues outdoors and enjoying Azorean cuisine. 

The beat goes on: Festas da Praia in Praia da Vitória (Terceira)

Some describe it as “the hottest music festival” from the last years in the Azores. The “Festas da Praia” (or Beach Parties in English) is a must-go on the local events list. 

From August 3 to 11, the music is the star and it spreads all over Terceira’s 2nd largest city with different genres and audiences. With the temperatures going up, everyone will be presented with cold drinks and amazing Azorean food while enjoying three different stages: the “Traditions Stage” features folk music, the “Marina Stage” focus on the world music and “Beach Stage” is the largest covered tent of the country, and where the main attractions of the festival will perform during seven days. 

“Festas da Praia” is an attraction for hundreds of young people, but not only! Flying from other islands and also mainland, this festival features long sunny beach days, dips in the bay and an eclectic soundtrack during the night. 

Must See: Maré de Agosto, Santa Maria Island

Maré de Agosto, Santa Maria, the Azores
In 1984, a group of Azorean musicians decided to gather to play some music in different stages across Santa Maria Island. This “magical jam session” was the beginning of one of the most important music festival in the Azores. In its  3rd year, the festival went international – with bands from the U.S., Africa and Brazil – and Praia Formosa was elected as the location of “Maré de Agosto.”

Once again, this beach will host the Festival from August 22 to 25 where bands from all around the world will perform – Mali, Angola, Sweden, Germany, UK and Portugal. 

Summer is gone, but the jazz goes ON! Terceira

Once the foliage starts, the jazz arrives to Terceira Island with Angrajazz. From October 3 to 5, Angra do Heroísmo become a spectacular jazz club, with performances from national and international musicians. This is already the most important jazz festival in the islands, which includes some of the best concerts of the year. During the festival, visitors can attend to conferences, exhibitions of instruments, photography, and albums fairs.

And if this is not enough, you can also come back in November to enjoy the Azorean mild temperatures and some jazz music at Jazzores, on São Miguel Island, from November 12 to 20. 

Undecided? Just pick your favorite and visit the Azores!

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