Orbits Festival has revealed the second wave of artists and shared details about the solidarity program and its sustainability plan.
As announced, June 22 will see the launch of Orbits, an "intimate" event with a focus on techno, experimental, and ambient fields of electronic music. The event's aesthetic philosophy is said to find the "perfect context" in the beautiful and magical surroundings of the São Gião camping park, near Oliveira do Hospital, at the heart of the Portuguese countryside—two hours by car from Porto and about one hour more from Lisbon. Being itself a symbol of the resilience, following the dreadful fires of last October, these grounds are said to "act as the ideal launchpad for the journey that Orbits seeks to be, of healing, self-discovery, and connection."
A carefully selected roster of artists from the techno, experimental, and ambient fields will perform over two distinct areas throughout three days of performances, including the following names from the second wave of artists:
Marco Shuttle B2B Efdemin
These names will join the following names from the first wave:
A Sacred Geometry
Peter Van Hoesen
Orbits has also confirmed its solidarity program. In collaboration with the local community, the event will work to bring back the native forest to the area burnt by the fire of the last October, as well as support the rebuilding efforts of some financially disadvantaged local people. The crowd can contribute to funding the program by buying local products available at the festival among other initiatives to be revealed soon.
In advance of the event, we also caught up with the organisers to learn more.
How's the music scene in Portugal?
Starting in the early '90s, the Portuguese scene has seen a huge development and growth, especially with summer festivals. Festivals like Boom were the main thing in Portugal for many years, but the public, also influenced by European trends, have seen much more coming: events like Neopop, Forte Festiva, and the most recent Waking Life brought interesting acts over here. Lisbon and Porto have a predilection respectively for house music and techno, with many club nights every weekend, and Orbits is indeed born from Gare Porto Saturday nights, with the aim to bring what was missing so far in Portugal: a deep techno experience immersed in nature.
"Orbits is an internationally-based festival that aims to bring together, in Portugal, a whole community that is identified in this musical and artistic segment."
Do you think there is a local demand for this music or are you expecting an international crowd?
Orbits is an internationally-based festival that aims to bring together, in Portugal, a whole community that is identified in this musical and artistic segment. Of course, there are some audiences in Portugal and we count on them, but the sales of the Early Birds tickets show already the international reach, with public coming from more than 20 countries and with four continents already represented.
Why have you decided to launch the festival now? What inspired it?
There are a set of factors that if aggregated at a certain moment in history result in the natural birth of something. And this was the case. There is a team with different backgrounds but with an accumulated experience of almost 20 years involved in other related projects, and a support base that comes from one of the best national clubs, the GARE Club, in Porto, where the Orbits concept was born. So, in fact, we believe it was just the natural evolution of things.
Orbits presents an intimate experience in a natural area. How the idea came out from?
Orbits wants to bring the audience to a genuine environment, disconnecting in every sense and especially from social media. We are at the foothill of Serra De Estrela, the highest mountains of Portugal, a place loaded with mysterious energy and huge stone faces and graves—signs of the first ancient tribes that populated the country.
The festival presents a pretty unusual lineup. What's the thinking behind it?
We did our best to put together a coherent lineup, with a good combination of emerging talents and more established names for this specific kind of techno. We‘ll open the doors of the camping a day in advance, so on Thursday 21, for the early ones who want to set their tents, there will be a pre-party with only local DJs (TBA). On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday the various DJs and live acts will take place in the forest or riverside area, according to the hour that fits best their sound, in order to create a good flow which will guide the crowd through a deep sonic journey from one sunrise to the next.
Tell us more about the venue. What can people expect?
The venue was built to be a camping site, but it turns out to be hardly used for this function; rather it is a place of walking and relaxation for the local community and some tourists who visit the mountains. It is a very beautiful place, with a retention of water that allows a small bay with a river beach and that has all the comfort conditions to host an event of this kind.
Despite the tragedy of the fires that decimated a large part of the forest in the region, the area survived in part due to the resistance and multiplicity of tree species and people still can expect an experience in a natural environment with comfort and a magnificent camping area all in the shade by the river.
For those who like to explore the surroundings, Serra da Estrela, the highest mountain in Portugal, is a magical place of unique beauty.
It's described as an intimate event, but how many people are you expecting?
We aim for an event that stands out for its community and family character, allowing people to get to know each other, interact, and create a strong spirit of unity and sharing. We believe this will be the basis of the festival's support for future years.
Nowadays, with the massification of festivals, an opportunity has been created for events such as Orbits, more focused on people and the quality of artistic alignments. Festivals that evoke the true artistic spirit, enhance values such as humanism and environmental awareness, as well as being able to become involved and contribute to the growth and development of local communities. We designed the event with an expectation of 1500 people.
How is Orbits set up?
Our goal is to implement a sense of community throughout the festival, focusing on a five-sense experience for our visitors. In addition to music, we will count on the work of different artists in the fields of video, lighting, performing arts, set design, decoration and even local gastronomy. We are paying special attention to comfort, creating nooks to interact or just simply enjoy the moment and place!
Orbits will be divided into two main areas: the Orbits Stage in the forest for night time acts, and the Satellite area, near the river beach, for artists who are going to perform during the daytime. These two areas are placed respectively at the extremities of the camping site, separated by the space dedicated to visual and art installations and the food area, while the camping/glamping tents are assigned to be in the freshest spot of the venue, dense of trees and full of shade, nearby the river.
This debut edition takes place from June 22-24 near Oliveira do Hospital, Portugal, with more information here.