A night out — not

Last night, I met two friends at the newly renovated theatre in Loulé for its inaugural concert. The concert had been publicized on billboards and a banner hanging on the outside of the theatre itself, but nowhere could I find any information other than that it began at 21:30. The Town Hall’s web site also touted the concert, but didn’t give any hints on how to attend. A Google search on “Loulé Cine-Teatro” turned up several mentions, but again no info on ticket price, availability, etc. Maybe the concert was free? I even walked past the theatre the morning of the concert, but it was locked up tight and there were no informative signs or flyers in the windows.

That evening I showed up in the theatre lobby a little early, and immediately determined that the concert was not free. Tickets were 6 euros. Fine, but I didn’t want to buy mine and then end up sitting apart from my friends. So I waited, and when they arrived we went up to the counter to buy three tickets.

Which was when we learned that the concert was sold out, other than single seats here or there.

“But you can reserve tickets for tomorrow night,” said the helpful clerk.

We didn’t even know there was a concert the following night! None of the ads indicated that. Oh well, we said, just another example of the challenging nature of learning anything in Portugal. We informed the clerk that yes, we’d like three tickets for the following night. She took down my name and our seating preference, and I pulled out my wallet.

“Oh, you can’t buy them now,” she said. “You have to come back tomorrow, between 14:00 and 20:00.”

D’oh!

Since I’m the one who lives in Loulé, I collected the money from my friends and said I’d take care of it. So I’m headed out now to buy our three tickets. And in a few hours I’ll head out again, for the concert itself. As any expat will tell you, there are many things to love about Portugal but organization is most definitely not one of them.

What I want to know is, how did all those other attendees know when, where and how to buy their tickets??

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About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
This entry was posted in culture, Portugal. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to A night out — not

  1. Rain says:

    I’m a portuguese in Barcelona and I have a similar problem. I know where to buy the tickets but I’m completely clueless on how people actually buy them because I always get “sold out”. Maybe people just buy them for specific dates without knowing which concert they’re going to attend? It’s a mystery! (Insert Hugh Laurie’s song here)

    • oregon expat says:

      You’ve no idea how glad I am to learn that it’s not just a mystery here in Portugal. Misery loves company. 😉 Actually, my wife says this particular instance isn’t a Portuguese thing, it’s a Loulé thing. She’s never had these sorts of difficulties in Lisboa.

    • Alma says:

      Mystery!! Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve watched A Bit of Fry and Laurie, but that song still sticks.

      I recognize the book-and-then-buy-and-then-attend setup from Swedish event culture, although thankfully it doesn’t always prevail.

      • Rain says:

        I love that song! I find myself searching for it on youtube every now and then (it’s easier than finding the DVD) and the lyrics keep me laughing every time 🙂

  2. Susana says:

    I bet the majority didn’t pay at all 🙂

  3. M. says:

    Ha! On the other side of Europe things sometimes work similar way. When somebody popular is giving a concert in my city, usually tickets are sold out before official information about said concert is out. How do people know about repertoire before it’s published is a mystery 🙂

  4. Kugai says:

    Obviously they expect you to use Telepathy to find out.

    At that rate, I’m surprised they get enough of an audience at all!!

  5. Sónia@Rome says:

    Since the Cine-Clube now belongs to the Câmara Municipal and considering that it’s inaugural concert was the highlight of the town’s holiday celebration I must agree with Susana. Most likely the majority of the audience were invited guests.

    Olhão has a municipal theater as well and the show tickets are usually sold at the local Youth Institute office. You can always call the City Hall and find out how it will be in the future.

    And just like Barcelona, also in Rome, in small venues, I have the exact same problem. I need to find out who to call then book the tickets and then get to the theater 2 hours before the event and stay in line to get them.

    I hope you enjoyed Chopin “re-invented” by Mário Laginha. 🙂

    • oregon expat says:

      Actually it was a fantastic concert! Really good acoustic jazz, and the drummer was spellbinding to watch. (I’m a former percussionist, so poor Mário did not get the majority of my attention…)

      Mário did say, at the beginning of the concert, that they’d originally planned to play just the one night — but had been asked the day before if they would stay and play an extra day. So it would seem that interest in the concert significantly outstripped original expectations.

      The theater is beautiful and I look forward to enjoying many more events there in future. Luckily I live a 10-minute walk away, so it’s not too hard to make multiple trips there to reserve and buy tickets. It must be a pain for the folks coming in from surrounding villages, though.

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