If Cape Verde has a city that never sleeps, it must be Mindelo. Mindelo, located on the island of São Vicente, is the second biggest city of the Cape Verde islands. It is known as the cultural capital of the country, because of its many (music) festivals and exiting nightlife. Mindelo's nightlife goes beyond people looking for a party. It is all part of Cape Verdean culture, where music and dance are about expression, heritage and an extremely talented people.
Baia das Gatas
The village of Baia das Gatas is a small fisherman village in the northeastern part of the island of São Vicente. Although the village has grown significantly in the last couple of years it remains a calm and authentic village where the population mainly lives of the fishing industry. The drive from the city of Mindelo takes about 20 minutes.
Baia das Gatas beach is a popular escape for the 'Mindelense', the residents of Mindelo. It is one of the most beautiful parts of the island of São Vicente, and many families head out to Baia das Gatas where there kids can play safely in the water because of the calm bay.
Baia das Gatas festival is one of the biggest and oldest festivals of the country. Its first edition was on the 18th and 19th of August back in 1984 (!). One of the headliners for this very first edition was the one and only Cesaria Evora. The festival was organized by a group of musicians from Mindelo, who wanted to do something for the population of the island and bring together musicians from different islands and country's.
"The first edition of the festival felt like a new era of freedom. It was only a few years after the country gained independence, so times were not easy. Musicians did not feel that they had the liberty to express themselves. Because of this many musicians stopped making music and the people lost interest. When we first organized the Baia das Gatas festival is was like a new beginning, we really needed a festival that had no ties with religion or politics." (Vlú, one of the members of the organization back in 1984)
Today Baia das Gatas festival is a big international event. Tourists and Cape Verdeans living abroad plan their holidays around the dates of the festival. It is, together with carnival, a spectacle that the people from Mindelo look forward to months in advance. In the last couple of years the festival has had international headliners like Nelson Freitas, C4 Pedro, Morgan Heritage and Gentleman. The 33rd edition, which will be on the 11th, 12th and 13th of August 2017, is expected to draw thousands of people to the beach of Baia das Gatas.
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