Portugal may not immediately spring to mind when you think of a clubbing holiday, but our trip to the 2019 RFM Somnii Festival in Figuera da Foz hinted that a change could be on the horizon.
Boasting an idyllic seaside location, the world’s hottest EDM, rap and reggaeton acts, and budget-friendly drink prices, there’s a lot to love about Europe’s largest beach festival.
Add to this a plethora of bars, restaurants and endless cultural hotspots, and you’ve got a city that commands repeat visits. Nestled in between Porto and Lisbon, the historic city of Figuera da Foz is perched along a remarkable 33-kilometre stretch of beach that’s seemingly purpose-made for such an event.
My home for the weekend was The Sweet Atlantic Hotel and Spa, which couldn’t have been in a better location. The apartment window looked directly out onto the site of the festival and has a string of bars on its doorstep. What more do you need?
The room itself was modern and minimalist, with a spacious living area complete with a plush l-shaped leather sofa, dining table and separate bedroom. A perfect place to unwind both before and after the party. After freshening up, we made our way down the beach to find the three-day festival already heating up.
Now in its eighth year, the organisers of RFM Somnii decided to stick their necks out in 2019 and take some risks. A brave move that paid off, as the addition of reggaeton and hip-hop superstars to the typically EDM heavy roster has helped to push close to 130k attendees through the gates across the three days.
We arrived to see Fedde Le Grand whipping the crowd into a frenzy with his recent remix of ‘Side Effects’ by The Chainsmokers, and although the venue itself was not quite yet at full capacity (the numbers would peak the following day), it was clear that everyone present had that Friday feeling. This was going to be quite a weekend.
For me, upgrading to VIP at RFM is a no-brainer. Not only do you benefit from an excellent view of the main stage from the raised platform, but the bar service is snappy. They do operate one of those annoying token systems, but once you’re sorted you can enjoy ice-cold pints of Superbock for just 2 Euros.
When you consider that bottles of water can be upwards of 8 Euros in Ibiza, this is a complete steal. After electrifying headline sets from Afrojack and Alesso, the evening closed with the crowd-pleasing sounds of Portugal’s very own Rich & Mendes, whose stage visuals and pyrotechnics were by far the most impressive.
Once the festival wraps at around midnight, the city itself comes alive with clubbers seeking out the local casino and many afterparties. When we went down for breakfast the following morning at 9am, the streets were still littered with weary looking clubbers doing the walk of shame. The party here doesn’t stop until you do.
By Saturday afternoon, the bars throughout Figuera da Foz were teaming with new arrivals. We caught up with RFM’s Head of International Marketing, Andras Berta, who explained the brands ambitious plans to build on their previous success, whilst also attracting a wider international market. Adding superstars such as reggaeton golden boy Ozuna and rapper Tyga to the line-up may bump up the booking costs, but the record-breaking turnout for 2019 proved this to be a worthy gamble.
We later witnessed the arrival of Ozuna himself, who was flanked by an entourage large enough to rival the likes of Bieber or Beyoncé. The reaction to his set confirmed that reggaeton is a force to be reckoned with, and this relatively new movement is poised to get even bigger.
After heading back to the Sweet Hotel for a surprisingly authentic curry in their impressive restaurant, we were lucky enough to be granted backstage access to the festival. We arrived just in time to get a perfect view of Blasterjaxx and KEVU drop ‘Taking Over’, which received a deafening response from the sea of revved up ravers. The energy was remarkable.
On the third and final day, I had to catch a flight and therefore missed out on rap giant Tyga, however, I did manage to catch a whistle-stop tour of some local attractions. Figuera da Foz has been a tourist destination for many decades, and driving through the picturesque hills, forests and mountains that creep over the city, it soon became clear why. It really is a beautiful place.
From the lush forests blessed with public picnic tables, to historic palaces crammed with priceless art, there’s enough leisure and cultural opportunities to warrant staying past the festival itself. After a brief coffee stop at hotel Casa Pinha, which is blessed with breath-taking views of the coastline and Insta-worthy interiors, it was time to head home.
Offering a refreshingly unpretentious clubbing experience unlike anything else in Europe, RFM Somnii is on the agenda for team H&N come next summer. If 2019 was big, you can bet 2020 is going to be colossal.
To guarantee your spot at RFM Somnii 2020, register online here.