Contrabando Festival will not take place in 2024 and will become biennial

At issue is the lack of public support for this event, which was created within the scope of “365Algarve” and was an immediate success

The Contrabando Festival will not take place in 2024 and will only return in 2025. The difficulty in guaranteeing public support for the festival led the Alcoutim City Council and the Sanlúcar de Guadiana Ayuntamento to rethink the event model, making it biennial, revealed to Sul Informação Osvaldo Gonçalves.

«Last year, we reflected on what would be the ideal frequency of the festival, given the difficulties we had and the cut in support that occurred», explained the mayor of Alcoutim.

«We had two options: either we reduced the size, projection and impact of the festival or we made the event biennial», he added.

This is with the certainty that, whatever the option, there is always an expense that cannot be cut: that of the floating pedestrian bridge between Alcoutim and Sanlúcar, which is the differentiating element and the main attraction of the event.

Reducing costs to be able to hold the Contrabando Festival every year would involve «giving up some of the entertainment» and making sacrifices in terms of programming, something that for Osvaldo Gonçalves is not acceptable – «our idea is to make the festival grow, I didn't reduce it. it».

Therefore, the option was to only hold the party every two years, in order to maintain – or even increase – the level of offer and quality that the festival had in other years.

«Next year, the festival will return with full force, with a more robust edition and with the size it deserves», promised Osvaldo Gonçalves, who took this decision together with his counterpart from Sanlúcar de Guadiana, since the The festival is organized by the two municipalities, each responsible for the entertainment on its side of the border.

As for the bridge, «it is paid in full by Alcoutim», revealed the mayor of Alcoutim.

The 2023 edition it was the first in a “normal” format carried out without the support of “365Algarve”, a cultural and tourist entertainment program within which the Contrabando Festival was born.

Despite this, Alcoutim and Sanlúcar risked moving forward with an edition, with their own capital and, in the case of the Spanish municipality, with support from the regional Government, especially because, as Osvaldo Gonçalves confesses, «we maintained hope until the last moment that something could emerge support, but that didn't happen».

The only thing that was “offered”, and already on the opening day of the festival, were the good intentions of minister Ana Abrunhosa, who promised to fight for the return of “365Algarve”.

Without any real prospect of there being a support line again for events like the Contrabando Festival, the solution was to adopt a biennial format, so as not to distort the event.



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