It was the perfect setting for three days’ worth of raves, with a host of genres to choose from including house, drum & bass, techno and disco, making it a worthwhile festival to attend and one I hope makes a return to Portugal soon.

Following the first ever European edition that took place in Amsterdam, the US dance festival was heavily anticipated and did not disappoint. What an experience from start to finish! It was incredible to witness sensational sets from world class DJs and the atmosphere was electric with festival goers all wanting to celebrate music and have a good time.

Extensive line-up

The festival boasted great weather and an extensive line-up to match that took to the different stages, with of the best that house, techno and drum & bass has to offer. It saw headliners like Adam Beyer, Alan Fitzpatrick, Andy C, Charlotte de Witte, Chase & Status, DJ Rush, DJ Tennis, Eric Prydz, Friction, Hybrid Minds & Tempza, Ida Engberg, Jamie Jones, Luciano, Maceo Plex, Marco Carola, Paul Kalkbrenner, Richie Hawtin and Shy FX and many more. With my personal favourites being on the third day of the festival, with the renowned Wilkinson, Sub Focus and Andy C who were back-to-back and made for an incredible experience.

The venue was home to four stages which included The Project Stage which was house and techno, The Workshop Stage for techno enthusiasts and finally the intimate The Sanctuary Stage and The Secret which were the smallest stages, yet packed a punch with incredible drum & bass (which was my personal favourite). The atmosphere was electric at The Sanctuary Stage and the size of the crowd grew as the nights went on with the sets from Camo & Krooked & Mefjus and then Bou & Haribo particularly standing out to me as they had the crowd dancing to the drop of every beat mixed seamlessly by the DJs.

Ideal location

Praia da Rocha was an ideal location for the festival to be hosted as there is an array of shops, bars and restaurants and taxis as you walk to and from the venue which I thought was fantastic especially if you are coming from abroad. The queues were relatively fast, with the VIP entrance being fast track and security checks before entering this dream venue. Ecstatic crowds from all over the world, dressed in co-ords, glitter and beach hats, appeared eager to see their favourite artists. They definitely brought a lot of energy with them as they danced all through the day and night with the vibe being infectious, so I would definitely recommend Secret Project purely for the unforgettable atmosphere.

The festival was well organised and clean, with the hospitality really standing out to me in comparison to other festivals I had gone to. They had friendly staff at the multiple bars dotted around the festival where there were surprisingly no queues which was definitely a perk along with an impressive drink’s menu.

The festival also included an exclusive VIP area with a bar and a comfortable seating area and multiple wristband top up stations dotted around the festival as it was a cashless event. There was plenty of good food choices, including food trucks with pizza, burgers, kebabs and vegetarian options as well as multiple free water refill stations. Everything was set up incredibly well and the festival stuck to their ethos of celebrating safely, with security and a fully equipped first aid team.

A dream

The Secret Project Festival’s latest Instagram post really summed up what the festival is all about. I found the atmosphere was like no other festival I had ever been to and I will definitely be returning the next chance I get. “#SecretProjectPortugal was truly a dream come true. We've been looking forward to this weekend on the beach with you all since the start of the year and to have been lucky enough to witness world class sets with a group of people like you was more than we could've hoped for. Massive thank you to everyone involved on the dance floor or behind the scenes – all of this is possible because of you and your dedication to the sounds & culture we love so much.”

For more information, please visit https://portugal.secretproject.com/ or visit @secretprojectfestival on Facebook and Instagram.