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Katy Perry entertained the 75,000 strong crowd in Lisbon
And they are also who made up the main stage on the final day of Rock in Rio Lisboa festival this year. Now that’s what you call girl power.
When it comes to music festivals, to have an all-female line-up is somewhat unheard of.
Indeed this year Wireless festival in London came under fire for a bill that featured just three female acts over a whole weekend of music.
Addressing the inequality, the PRS Foundation have pledged a 50/50 gender split on line-ups by 2022. But there is a long way to go.
The urgency for change has really grown. One of the biggest challenges has been: where do we start?
“There’s still a big imbalance being programmed on festival stages,” said Vanessa Reed, CEO of the PRS Foundation.
“The urgency for change has really grown. One of the biggest challenges has been: where do we start?”
Thankfully the tides are turning in Lisbon.
Rock in Rio, a recurring festival which has so far seen dates in Rio de Janeiro, Las Vegas and Madrid, was this year once again held in Lisbon’s Bela Vista Park.
Set over two weekends of June, the first saw Muse and Bruno Mars top the bill, the second The Killers and Katy Perry. I headed to Lisbon for the latter, and I was not disappointed.
An all-female line-up is usually unheard of at a music festival
With the headliners on as late as 11pm, there was more than enough time to explore the city before hitting the festival.
Cue a trip to Pastéis de Belém to devour as many traditional Portugese custard tarts as I could before the music started.
Although as it turned out I needn’t have, as at Rock in Rio they were selling them for a euro a pop.
Lisbon’s famous Time Out food market was on site too, condensed to 14 stalls selling everything from charcuterie boards to Michelin star meals by chefs from the Algarve.
When they were not eating, elsewhere revellers partied around a specially built swimming pool, floating on green rubber ducks as they listened to classic tunes from the 1990s.
The Rock in Rio Lisboa featured a host of female performers
As the festival took place during the World Cup, at 7pm on Saturday the music made way for Portugal vs Uruguay, which was shown on every screen on site.
Yet unfortunately for festival organisers, Portugal lost the game and the 75,000-strong crowd witnessed their country’s defeat in HD.
Perhaps even more unfortunate was Jessie J, whose job it was to perk the crowd back up after the match.
But, fresh from winning the Chinese equivalent of The X Factor, the talented singer came on stage draped in a Portugese flag and got the crowd back into a party mood with hits Domino, Do It Like A Dude and Price Tag.
For the adrenaline junkies, a zip line was set up in front of the main stage so fans could whizz above the crowd and past their heroes at speed.
Jessie J played on the main stage on the final day in Lisbon
I chickened out and instead watched festival goers dressed as Batman and Robin soar over my head against a backdrop of The Man by The Killers.
The Las Vegas rockers put on a characteristically brilliant performance, with Mr Brightside, Shot At The Night and All These Things That I’ve Done being particular highlights.
Frontman Brandon Flowers, looking sharp in an embroidered jacket, appeared to be having as much fun as the fans themselves.
Unlike many festivals, which pack the bill with as many acts as they can, Rock in Rio featured just four artists per day, meaning each one could play a full set, with some as long as 90 minutes.
The Chemical Brothers also performed at Rock in Rio Lisboa
Katy Perry, who closed the festival, brought her entire Witness tour show to the stage, delighting the crowd with Roar, California Girls and Firework, after which a display of rockets really did light up the sky as the night came to an end.
Next stop for Rock in Rio will be back home in Brazil in September 2019.
“We’ve got big plans,” one of the organisers told me.
I’ll see you at the front.