The first edition of the Açoteia - Faro Rooftop Festival took over Faro’s rooftops on the 20th, 21st and 22nd June 2019. On these dates, a new concept took place that is difficult to understand at first glance. This is because rather than the importance of the event resting on the performing artist, the key feature was the use of space and the new life brought to it. Spanning around 18 rooftops (and a car park!) stages sprung up around the city, upon which cultural initiatives linked to art, sustainability and community were held.
The first initiative of its kind in Portugal, over 5000 people took part, seizing the opportunity to see Faro from a different perspective, going up to the city’s “Açoteias” (rooftops) to experience flash acts, intense culinary experiences, workshops, exhibitions and concerts. Horizontes, a project co-produced with the Barcelona Rooftop Festival is of particular note, having managed to get Lab Terrace Galopim and Pau Abajos on-stage together. Film took on the leading role in locations like the Youth Hostel; a social urban vegetable garden sprouted on the roof of Faro Municipal Market; music, poetry and the sound of tales being told rung out over the roofs of the Municipal Library and the Chapel of Santo António do Alto; Bartenders and DJs got together at Pipers Club; circus art also made an appearance, with fictional characters such as neighbour Clotilde, neighbour Cremilda the fisherman and his wife wandering across the rooftops, livening up the event. In fact, this new festival was made up of bits and bobs of just about everything.
The international conference “Seeing the Future from the Rooftops” was another highlight of the festival. The first part of the conference featured presentations by León Van Geest, director of the Rotterdam rooftop festival; Lívia Tirone, curator of the “THNK School of Creative Leadership” in Lisbon and Ralf Alwani, director of “Urban Scale Interventions” in Belfast, all of whom have inspired projects and approaches applied in other European cities. In the second half of the conference, participants were invited to break off into 3 working groups, focussing on Sustainability, Art and Community. Then, taking inspiration from the presentations and the new perspective gained from the rooftops, they were asked to identify visions for Faro’s future, and collectively pinpoint mobilising issues that would encourage the city’s residents to explore their collective potential, triggering a unification of efforts made to transform both the city and the wider municipality.
This initiative was presented at the first European Rooftop Meeting, which took place in the capital of the Algarve in January this year, bringing the vision of those who are already running rooftop-related projects in Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Nicosia, Milan, Linz, Antwerp, Prague and Barcelona to Faro. The visions of all of these parallel events were displayed in the Rooftops4Eutope exhibition on Rua de Santo António throughout the Festival.
The Açoteia Faro Rooftop Festival was produced by the Faro Municipal Council in partnership with Ambifaro and the Municipal Theatre, and brought to life and filled with culture thanks to the joint efforts, a sense of community and the invaluable involvement of more than 20 Associations and Entities. In this first edition, the rooftops involved were: the Municipal Market, Arco Art Gallery, Faro Hotel, Eva Hotel, Casa d'Alagoa Hostel, the Youth Hostel, Faro Municipal Library, the Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR) headquarters, the Águas do Algarve headquarters, Alameda Rooftop, Lab Terrace, Fábrica da Cerveja, Santo António Chapel, the Algarve Tourism Board’s Building, Faro Cathedral, Arco da Vila, Pipers Irish Club and Amarelarte.