Festival Blagger's Guide: Everything You Need To Know About Nos Alive Festival

17 July 2014 by

This year Grazia Daily's heading across the country (and overseas) to give you the inside scoop on what it's really like to attend the world's biggest music festivals. We'll be giving you the anecdotes and knowledge you need to a) decide whether to go next year and b) pretend you were there…

Festival season is in full swing, and at the weekend we headed to Portugal to add a little sunshine to our music at Lisbon's scorching Nos Alive (formerly known as Optimus Alive) Festival. Didn't make it this year? Here's the lowdown...

The music

The Arctic Monkeys drew an enormous crowd for their headlining slot on the first night, with a perfectly coiffed Alex Turner chatting up the crowd en masse (“Lisbon I want to play you a love song right now. It seems like the right thing to do.") Other headliners were Black Keys, and on the last night, The Libertines stunned everyone by actually turning up early and playing a (semi) coherent set. Away from the main stage, hyped new UK act Jungle drew one of the biggest crowds of the weekend, while Sam Smith had the largest singalong. 

The after hours

Once the bands on the main stage were finished, things were just getting going in the other tents, with acts like Jamie XX, Caribou and SBTRKT playing to crowds whose energy didn’t wane until the early hours. As the sun came up, people were still drifting our of the festival site.

The location

Lisbon is one of the prettiest and most vibrant cities in Europe, so Nos Alive is perfect for combining a festival with a holiday - especially as things don’t kick off until late afternoon each day, so plenty of time for pre-festival sightseeing. We stayed in the Pestana Palace hotel, a former 19-century palace with opulent rooms, sprawling gardens and a pool fit for a princess. Ideal for soothing that festival hangover - and about oh, a million times better than a tent. The festival site itself is on the outskirts of the city, adjacent to the river - but cabs are cheap so it’s easy to get to and from the city (although be prepared to queue for one when you leave). 

The weather

By day, Lisbon basked in temperatures of 35 degrees, with perfect blue skies and blazing hot sunshine. When the sun went down, the site was backdropped by spectacular sunsets - although because of the location next to the river, the cooling breeze often became a pretty fierce wind. We spotted more than a few people shivering in crop tops later on in the night.  

The street style

The denim hot pants look is still going strong in Lisbon - no doubt due to the blazing temperatures, but we saw an array of print too, from Aztec dresses and floral skirts to bold trousers and pretty blouses. Bum bags were also out in force, and sunglasses were mandatory. We didn’t see a single pair of wellies the whole weekend, thank goodness. Fake tattoo ‘sleeves’ also seemed to be quite ‘a thing’ at the festival, a little worryingly. 

The beauty look

Windswept hair was definitely an (unintentional) look at the festival. We also spotted a lot of tippex-white nails, and everything was accesorised with a tan - or in some unfortunate cases, a severe case of sunburn.


'Apparently the Arctic Monkeys are going to cover Taxman' - a wishful thinking rumour referencing news stories about the band's involvement in a tax avoidance scheme. Unsurprisingly, the band actually avoided any mention of the incident. 

The food and drink

Ever been at a festival and craved a KFC zinger tower burger? Well at Nos Alive, you’re in luck, as there’s a KFC stall on site (although instead of fries with your burger, you get crisps...please). Pizza Hut was also there - this was less about artisan food stalls than filling up between bands. You could find us at the waffle stall (nutella and chocolate, please). 

The highlight

The amazing weather, the beautiful backdrop of Lisbon - and the stella line-up. And Alex Turner being all swoonsome in leather. 

The lowlight

Unintentionally 'doing a Marilyn' when the wind picked up at night. Next time, we're sticking to shorts. 



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