“Beautiful, in the middle of nowhere… and full of cows.” This is how narrator Diogo Lima describes the idyllic Azorean scenery that serves as the backdrop for one of the most unique music festivals of the past decade: Tremor.
Filmed and released in 2018, Fear and Loathing and Party in Las Ponta Delgada was put together to celebrate Tremor’s fourth anniversary. The film showcases the festival’s increasingly assured presence, professionalism, and success (which Lima ironically summarizes by saying “people came… and nobody died”) through images of the breathtaking landscape intertwined with snippets of concerts by Boogarins, Mykki Blanco, The Parkinsons, and many more.
The documentary relies on a combination of humor with a certain misty romanticism inherent to the Portuguese archipelago (some swear the Azores are what remains of the mythical continent of Atlantis) to depict the festival’s warm human connection, with some performances even involving members of the local community or resulting from artistic residencies. While the direct involvement of the organizers in the making of the film implies a slight promotional bent, their enthusiasm is contagious. Fear and Loathing and Party in Las Ponta Delgada does a terrific job of explaining the many reasons why Tremor is so much more than another handful of concerts. But the main one seems rooted in the secret getaway feeling that crowns the entire experience, which, despite being indisputably singular, never comes across as elitist.