Next stop: the 2017 Azores Fringe Festival in Pico Island
Previously that year, I published one blog post for each of the 9 islands to showcase their unique personality and vibe. I had grown tired of hearing people talk about the Azores like a cluster when I knew all islands contrasted. And the Azores deserves to be shown for all the things you can do, not just for what they’re known for.
Obviously, no one can deny the beauty of the nearly untouched natural landscape. That is one of the main reasons why people travel to the Azores. We acknowledge that, for an outsider, it is a pretty spectacular reason to hop on a plane to a secluded destination in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean.
Most of you probably don’t know this, but, in general, the Azoreans are incredibly creative. Part of it might be genetic, and part of it might be due to the make-do personality islanders are forced to develop.
I have always been curious to find out if it’s the Azores’ nature that influences and guides the artist or the artist who uses nature as inspiration. It might not be any of these.
Over four years, the Azores Fringe Festival – organized by Canadian-born Terry Costa – managed to bring to the islands over 850 artists from 38 countries. Although born abroad, Terry lived in Pico island from ages 2 to 14 – this isn’t much different from most of the islanders born in the archipelago and who left as teenagers to the mainland.
We are “outside islanders.”
But why on earth would someone come up with an arts festival that, literally, hops between islands for six weeks before the tourist high season?
I’d say because the Azores are not a vacation resort that only opens for business from June to September. You’d be surprised how many people email me asking for tips on things to do for the rest of the year. To say that I’m incredibly curious to see a little of the 5th edition of this festival in action is an understatement.
I’m a firm believer that if you want things to happen, you have to make them happen. However, I feel like most people have a biased image of the Portuguese (and I’ll include the Azoreans in the mix) as lazy folks who are always mourning something or complaining about fate, or lingering in the past. As much as it might seem quirky to portray us like that, that’s not how it is.
Tourism is an important industry in the Azores, but there is so much more that the Islanders want you to see (and it doesn’t always include what the tourism boards think you should see).