“I haven’t removed my wristband yet. I wish I could turn back time and still be there.”
Diana, 15 August 2005
Some places are special, not because of their physical characteristics, but because of what we have experienced there. Such places pose a bit of a paradox: on one hand we know that our memories live only in our minds, but on the other hand, if the experience left its mark on us, we find it hard to accept that the place does not also have visible marks of its importance.
37º33N 8º44W are the coordinates of one of those places. Every year, in the beginning of August, thousands of people head for the southwest of Portugal and gather on an uncharacteristic piece of land that spends the rest of the year in anonymity. On this spot, for five days, a music festival takes place during which everyone forgets their daily lives and together tries to experience life to the fullest.
Nine years after being there myself surrounded by music and thousands of people, I returned alone in the spring of 2014. As I moved through a silent, deserted and otherwise anonymous field, I looked for evidence that it is a special place.
© 2014 João Abril de Abreu