© Miguel Madeira/ Público
The largest and most diverse festival dedicated to Portuguese music, BONS SONS takes place every year in the village of Cem Soldos, Tomar. Organized by SCOCS, the local cultural association, BONS SONS acts as a platform to promote Portuguese music, where the audience can discover emerging projects as well as reconnect with renowned musicians.
In addition to being a Portuguese music festival, BONS SONS is, first and foremost, an unparalleled experience. The village of Cem Soldos is closed and its perimeter marks out the festival venue. Inside, 8 stages, each hosting a dedicated programme, blended seamlessly with the village’s streets, squares, the church and other facilities. In addition to this unique atmosphere, BONS SONS fosters a close engagement with its audience while involving the population in the making of the festival. It is the locals who welcome and serve festivalgoers, in a unique communion between hosts and visitors that affords an unparalleled experience of a music event.
A thoughtfully designed programme, the entire village of Cem Soldos as venue and the involvement of the locals in the Festival are unique traits that set BONS SONS apart in the Portuguese cultural scenario.
In addition to raising audience awareness, the primary goal of BONS SONS is to contribute to local development by boosting the economy and contributing to keep the younger population in the region.
Among the trees of the Rossio Square lies the main stage. Its name is a tribute to Fernando Lopes-Graça, born in Tomar, one of the main composers and conductor of the Portuguese 20th century. On this stage will perform the most recognized artists and newfound talents, representative of Portuguese musical movements that bring generations together.
Zeca Afonso Stage
The Zeca Afonso stage honors the Portuguese singer-songwriter who believed that a cultural revolution was all about to reach those places and find music from there. The stage to which it gives its name is a natural amphitheater in a field with some olive trees, just behind the the SCOCS office, very conducive to concerts dedicated to the new Portuguese music.
This stage is fitted in the S. Pedro Square and honours the name of Michel Giacometti. He was an ethnomusicologist with a fundamental role in the registration and dissemination of Portuguese traditional music. This is the privileged place for the most inspiring alternative projects, for the virtuous singer-songwriters and for the warm guitar compositions.
Agostinho da Silva Auditorium
A tribute to the philosopher who defended that “the world always ends up doing what the poets dream” and that “living matters more than having lived” and “life is only real when we feel something different from us”. The Agostinho da Silva Auditorium receives a program related to performative arts, cinema and activities for children.
This stage is built inside the S. Sebastião Church and the programme is curated by the MPAGDP, promising to fulfil its mission of bringing music to a wider audience and to watch the entire world as a stage. The project A Música Portuguesa a Gostar Dela Própria – MPAGDP (Portuguese Music Liking Itself) has gathered evidence of an immense variety of music played in Portugal and broadcasts their collections through internet channels.
In the church of São Sebastião, this stage pays tribute to Amália Rodrigues, the most international name of Portuguese music. The Amália stage will have the presence of musicians of diverse scopes and different inspirations, in a stage that provides an incredible proximity between the artists and the public.
This stage will try to keep alive the legacy of João Aguardela in the musical creation as member of the Portuguese bands “Sitiados” , “Linha da Frente”, “A Naifa”. On his solo project “Megafone”, he fused electronic music with traditional Portuguese music findings. Closing each night of the Festival, this stage will create the soundscapes with danceable beats that will meld genres and cultures.
Here, anyone can show their talent. You just have to sign up daily. BONS SONS lends the stage to solo acts or bands, as well as the technical means, allowing unknowns to perform for a considerable number of people. This stage is a unique opportunity for newcomers to test their projects in front of an audience and agents, but, above all, it’s a way to celebrate music in a happy and relaxed environment. At Palco Garagem music is for everyone, and it might just be you up on that stage.