Impressions of Virada Cultural in Sao Paulo


Hey, Felipe, how is it going for you?

Hey… Pretty good, my friend.
How’s everything going for you?

Good… good.

Hey, I was in Sao Paulo this weekend…
We went to a music festival…
me and my friends.

Wow… Sounds exciting. Which one?

Oh… it’s called Virada Cultural.
We have it here, in Sao Paulo,
every year, in June.

Yeah, that’s pretty awesome.

It was really great.
You know, taking a break…
from the daily routines
is good sometimes
and may be even necessary!
So, why not doing it
by going to a festival?

Yeah, absolutely, totally agree with you.
So, was it your first time going there?

No, not really.
I already went to Virada Cultural
in previous years.

Image by riyagi at Flickr, CC-BY

So, how was it this time around?

Great, fantastic… every time.
Only a few small issues.
The weather was pretty cold, for instance.
But… a fabulous experience overall.

All right. So, I am actually new to Virada Cultural.
Or music festivals in Brazil, in general.
So, I am interested… tell me everything.

Yeah, it is a pretty big event here for locals…
in Sao Paulo city and the state…
But, I guess, most foreigners
don’t know much about it.
No worries, I’ll give you a quick overview.

Yep, thanks, my friend.
I am very curious to find out more.

OK… so, these are a few interesting things for you…
Virada Cultural is an event
sponsored by the city of São Paulo…
A lot of different artists and musicians…
they have an opportunity to showcase their work.

Image by Milton Jung at Flickr, CC-BY

Oh… what does the word “Virada” mean?

Virada” stands for the 24-hour time span.
Round the clock… sort of.
It’s an all-day event, and it’s non-stop.
Most of the performances and concerts…
they happen in the streets…
next to many of the São Paulo’s subway stations.

Right… so it’s pretty easy to find them.

Yeah, even the names of different music stages…
you can easily find them
using the station’s names.
The stages are organized by genre,
so the audience can choose…
some people are looking for
a chilling reggae concert,
or get the body moving in a rock show,
or simply relax listening to the classics.
And, you know, the best thing is…
it’s totally free…

So, you went to this festival
quite a few times already, right?

Yep, and my experience this year
was a bit more limited
than in previous years.
We arrived in São Paulo on Saturday,
and I was still clueless about
what I was going to watch.
The festival was scheduled to start at 6 pm…
So, me and my friend…
we made a list of shows
that are worth seeing.

Well, I guess it was not an easy thing to do, was it?

Sure… we had so many choices…
With so many artists participating…
it was a bit overwhelming…
because we wanted to see
as many as we could.

Image by Alex Vieira at Flickr, CC-BY

I can easily imagine that…

So, we ended up watching nothing that night,
because the concerts were only in the clubs…
and even though they were free,
we had to get the tickets in advance.
And you can easily guess…
there were no tickets
by the time we got there.

So, you didn’t actually get to
enjoy the music that night?

Well… no… we didn’t…
but we could still hang around in the streets,
chat, eat and drink something.

All right. So, what happened next day?

Next day, we could finally see the concerts
on the open-air stages, not inside the clubs…
and we could watch a few.

So, what kind of performances did you see?

Emicida, a Brazilian rapper…
he was the one we wanted to watch…
and it was awesome…
because he invited
a Bossa Nova champion — Joáo Donato
and the sambista extraordinaire Martinho da Vila.

I love this title… sambista extraordinaire…
sounds inspiring…

Yep, so they could somehow
blend three genres into the show
and the result was more than just good.
Besides, they were inspiring people
to stop religious intolerance…
you know there were
some instances of religious intolerance lately in Brazil,
especially against people practicing
African-rooted religions — Candomblé and Umbanda.

I see.
OK… so I hope the weather was good
during the festival…

Yeah, the weather was fine
most of the time…
But on Saturday night it was pretty cold…
Unbearable is an understatement.

Yeah, honestly, I don’t find it surprising…
I know it can get pretty cold in Sao Paulo too.

Yeah, and this year’s event…
it was way safer…
only a few reports of thefts and assaults
across the large city.
This makes the whole thing
even more interesting.

Yeap, this is absolutely awesome.
You know I was watching
some videos of Virada Cultural
on YouTube.
It feels like the whole big city
turns into a music scene…
at least for a day or two.
And so much variety of music…

Absolutely. It’s just incredible.

Image by Artur Luiz at Flickr, CC-BY

But… you know… one thing I can easily believe is…
how much of the musical talent
Brazil does have…
and how little we… foreigners…
know about it.

Yes, totally…
Well, if you got interested in the Virada Cultural…
the next year’s event…
will be a great opportunity for you…
that’s for sure…
You know… being a part of the event…
made for the people and by the people…
it does feel special.

Great. Thanks a lot, my friend.

No problem, glad you got inspired with it too.


Head image by Milton Jung at Flickr, CC-BY