Festival Med #1

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Urban Sketchers Algarve got the Municipality of the small Algarvian town of Loulé to invite a group of sketchers to record one of the largest and most peculiar events in the southern part of the country – Festival Med. It started out thirteen years ago as a Mediterranean music fest, but went on to become a well-known world music festival. The peculiar thing about Med is that it happens on several stages inside the old town. A complex system of guards and fences keeps out those without ticket – thus, inadvertently recreating the market tribute system of medieval towns.

A Câmara Municipal de Loulé, através dos Urban Sketchers Algarve, convidou desenhadores Portugueses a visitar e desenhar a cidade durante um dos maiores e mais peculiares eventos no sul do país – o Festival Med. O que começou há treze anos atrás como um festival de música mediterrânica, veio a tornar-se um reconhecido festival de música do mundo. O especial do Med é que é realizado em diversos palcos no interior da cidade antiga. Um sistema complexo de guardas e grades mantém aqueles sem bilhete fora da cidade – inadvertidamente recreando o sistema de tributo mercantil das cidades medievais.

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Of course one of the entry points of the premises had to be the iconic – and nearly centennial – Loulé’s market. Inside, the fishmongers, fruit sellers, palm readers and meat cutters got the tourists’ attention, while these stepped inside seeking shelter from the sun. The sidestreets were covered with colorful cloths to mitigate the extreme heat. All the while, busy sketchers sketched all their way to lunchtime.

Claro que um dos pontos de entrada no recinto, ou na cidade, teria de ser o icónico – e quase centenário – Mercado de Loulé. Lá dentro, peixeiras, fruteiros, videntes e talhantes chamavam a atenção aos turistas que entravam, abrigando-se do sol. As ruas laterais estavam cobertas por grandes lonas coloridas, para mitigar o calor extremo. No entretanto, desenhadores ocupados desenhavam o seu caminho até à hora do almoço.

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Trunk flea market

There was a flea market a couple of weeks ago in a parking lot in Benfica. An unusual kind of flea market. A trunk market (Feira da Bagageira), to be more accurate. If you were registered, all you had to do was stuff your trunk with junk, park the car in a space and sell your junk. Of course, not all trunks were full of junk. Some of the vendors were noticeably professionals and antique traders. Their level of organization and point-of-sale design were top notch – with all the grandmother clocks, the vintage cast iron kitchenware and the old envelopes, postcards and stamps from people long gone.

Lisboa, Portugal, Benfica, market, book, comics, Corto Maltese, Koinsky, Polish cavalry, Long Range Desert Rifles, antiques

Amidst the organized chaos there was still space for a cookie sale and some yoga and martial arts workshops. I just came for the sketches, but I left with a couple of old friends I met there: Lieutenant Koinsky of the Polish Cavalry and the Long Range Desert Group, and sea captain and adventurer Corto Maltese. Two books I had never read before from them made my day.

The duty to sketch the common things

Merchant at Mårtenstorget

Thomas is a good sketching mate. He is patient and disciplined, which I am not. So, by a subtle sense of duty and companionship, he drives me from home (even when it’s freezing cold) with the challenge of street sketching.

View from Stortorget

Different things flow from the pens and pencils when such a companion puts you outside of the comfort zone. He usually sits exactly where I wouldn’t sit and sketches what I wouldn’t sketch, because I wouldn’t find it interesting or exciting enough. He does so, and so do I after spending a few moments in the tranquillity of everyday sights. The ability to permeate such sense and determination impresses me.