What is it with Leiria and rock? Not only the city, but also the surrounding region of Alcobaça, Marinha Grande and Caldas da Rainha, is actually the home of countless rock bands that have made it in both the Portuguese and the international rock scene.
Leiria can be regarded as an incubator of inspiring rock bands. The 90's were particularly rich in terms of promising artistic formations and performers. These were the somehow remote times (almost prehistoric times) when there was no Internet, nor iTunes or Spotify. Globalisation as we know it today was still a distant accomplishment. But vibrant rock bands like Silence 4 (Leiria-based), headed by David Fonseca and Sofia Lisboa, ou The Gift (Alcobaça-based) paved the way for long-lasting music careers.
Cultural association Fade In, led by Carlos Matos, is extremely meaningful, as a powerful engine of culture in Leiria. It is responsible for the organisation of the mandatory Gothic Festival Extramuralhas, held every year in August, as well as for festivals of exploratory and alternative music genres. This is a non-profit cultural association that organises several events with an unmistakable seal of quality. Because "there is a culture that we cannot find on supermarket shelves".
What's the future like? The Leiria-based Omnichord Records has been developing in the last years a fundamental work in the public awareness of the importance of professionalisation. Not only of musicians, but also of all the invisible professions related to the music industry: stage assistants, writers, sound engineers, social media managers, light technicians and so on. Bands like Surma, First Breath After Coma or Whales were "hunted" in the secondary schools of Leiria. Most of these professional artists live from music. This is the main lesson: making culture professional, so that more genius bands like the ones back in the 90's can flourish in a highly skilled way. Into the future.