At the beginning of every September a music
festival called Festa do Avante!
), is held in Lisbon Portugal, created
and run by the Portuguese Communist Party.
Many people ask me why I like this festival so
much, why am I always talking about it weeks before it happens, wishing that the
day comes quickly. To those people I ask if they have ever been there, and the
answer is always “No, never”.
Ok, so forget, if you prefer, the communist
ideals that are defended by the majority of the people who organise the
festival. Forget, if that makes a difference for you, that this festival is organised
by members of any political party. The festival is not that! The festival is
the possibility for those three days being able to get away from everything
that exists outside and even if it’s just for a few moments, feel our hope
(In case you are wondering: no, I do not belong
to any political party and I’m not here to defend communists… I’m here to write
about the festival).
I decided to write about it this year, after
giving it some thought and reflection, because I noticed something that for me
is very important. This was the third consecutive year I went to that festival
and I could perceive something very interesting. People there seemed happier
than previous years. And when the song A
Carvalhesa echoed everywhere through the speakers, this feelings of
lightness, happiness, would prevail even more. There’s this link on YouTube
where you can listen to the music and see people dancing: Carvalhesa Avante 2012 final comicio
. (The video isn’t mine, but from all
the videos I’ve seen, I think this is the best one).
What I like about A Carvalhesa is that when the music starts, you see people running
down the hills to join the crowd at the main stage. Even those who you don’t
see jumping, they seem happy, they tap their feet and bob their heads. I feel
power in that song. And this year, I felt it even more. The difference in the
people that were there and the people we meet outside was brutal. Especially when
we were listening to A Carvalhesa. It
seemed to me that in those mere minutes people could completely forget about
the problems, the crisis, the daily fights that sometimes make us feel we have
failed. They seemed to feel renewed hope and strength, a will to go on
fighting. When I was watching people I felt they were lighter. And no, it
wasn’t just because they weren’t at work. The difference comparing to other
years was big: we could noticed this feelings much, much more.
To me, Avante! gave me the feeling of
lightness, and, at the same time, I reunited more energy, and I think that
those who were there too (at least a large amount of the people there) felt
exactly the same. It made me wonder: life is much more difficult outside, so
the difference inside the festival, the lightness, the joy, we can feel it and
see it on other people more than we could the years before. And doesn’t it feel
good to step away from what makes us “feel bad” once in a while?! It helps us to
look at things differently, gives us more strength to face life.
All the work, from building up the tents and
stages, to selling drinks and food, and even working in the health centre, is done
by volunteers. None of the workers earn anything. No, I lie: they have the
opportunity of working together with other people who also enjoy being there;
they have the possibility to make a contribution to three days of sharing, fun,
culture and experiences.
People can criticise the festival. But there
are some people from other political parties who go there for the spirit, for the
good moments; for the sharing. Miguel Esteves Cardoso, a Portuguese writer that
has nothing to do with the Communist Party, wrote an article about it after the
second year he attended the festival. Trying to make a faithful translation of
what he wrote, he said somewhere in his article: “Thus it reaches another convenient bias. We would like to think that
the party (Festa do Avante!) of PCP
was partisan, sectarian and foreign ideologically. Actually it could not be more Portuguese and healthily
"SÁBADO", 13 de Setembro de 2007).
Avante!, to those who go there, becomes,
without even noticing it, a tradition, and the end of the summer makes no sense
without this festival. Yes, I love going to this festival. Because Avante! are
three unique days…unique in everything!
already winning. A Festa do Avante is a victory annually renewed and expanded
of this resistance... Truth be said, it’s not without difficulty that I resist
anymore. When one undresses a bias, what does one dress instead? All I have
left is the independence of spirit to express the unique intelligent reaction
to another Festa do Avante!: congratulate those who ran it and many others
who've been there. I mean, in the unlikely case of these not being the very
same people” Miguel
Esteves Cardoso, in "SÁBADO", 13 de Setembro de 2007.
Labels: Ideas and opinions