Held annually at the Sítio das Fontes in Estômbar, only 12 km inland from Carvoeiro but one of the Algarve’s best-kept secrets, the Lagoa Jazz Festival is an annual event that is loyally attended by the local residents, but hardly makes it onto the radar of the tourists staying in the nearby beach resorts. The idea of jazz on a summer’s night in stunning surroundings is a tantalising combination and on a hot June evening we arrived at the Sítio das Fontes before sunset with the plan of walking around the nature reserve before it got dark. Not surprisingly, but disappointingly, the organizers of the jazz festival wouldn’t allow this, so instead we found a seat near the bar overlooking the lake and watched the amazing sunset. As evening turned to night more and more people arrived and the queue for the bar and food stall made getting another drink inconceivable. However, just around the corner from the bar, was a stall promoting local wine and we bought a refreshing bottle of local Marquês dos Vales white wine, which we were able to enjoy throughout the concert. We took our seats in the small purpose-built amphitheatre, ready for the 10 pm start. Some temporary extra rows had been added for the jazz festival, but the theatre space remained intimate and even though we sat at the back, we had an excellent view of the stage. Olivier Ker Ourio (chromatic harmonica) and Manuel Rocheman (piano) opened the festival. Their music was an emotionally expressive combination of Rocheman’s Bill Evans-inspired piano style and Ker Ourio’s harmonica playing, reminiscent of Toots Thielemans.
After an interval the dynamic The Postcard Brass Band, made up of Mário Marques (soprano and tenor saxophone), Michael Lauren (drums), Sérgio Carolino (sousaphone) and Rúben Santos (trombone) blazed onto the stage. The night was hot and their music was hotter. Their brash eclectic style of music, a combination of traditional, free and improvisational jazz was a fantastic way to end the night.
Although for many the night didn’t end there. Around the bar area there were CD and other merchandising stalls, areas showing photos and videos from previous jazz festivals, a chill-out zone and other entertainment still in full swing.
Tickets in 2015 cost €8 each. We bought our tickets online in advance from Ticketline: www.ticket.line.pt. They can also be bought from two locations in Lagoa: the Convento de S. José and the Auditório Municipal. You can also buy them on the door on the night.
For details of this year’s jazz festival go to: www.lagoajazzfest.com
There is no public transport to the Sítio das Fontes, so you will either have to drive or take a taxi. If you drive there is a large car park at the nature reserve.