The Romaria d’Agonia mobilized more than one million people in 2020, throughout the five-day program almost exclusively through social media with the aim of feeling the holidays removed from the traditional model of more than two centuries, due to the covid-19 pandemic.
According to the official estimates of the authorities, about one million people pass through Viana do Castelo, during the days of the Romaria d’Agonia, to attend emblematic moments of the festival, such as the Procession to the Sea, the Historical-Ethnographic Parade, the Stewardship Parade or the Firework Serenade, among others, loaded with symbolism.
In view of the impossibility of having a festival in traditional moulds, due to restrictions on the concentration of people to contain the spread of the pandemic, the Festival’s Commission moved on to a program essentially focused on the transmission of content on social media, centred on the brand “Somos Todos Romaria”, through Facebook, Instagram and Youtube, as well as through the Internet page specifically created for this purpose: www.festasdagonia2020.com.
Globally, from August 19th to 24th, these contents were viewed almost 1,100,000 times, by users from several countries, according to official figures provided by the respective service providers.
“We know that this format is not a substitute for festivals as we know them, nor was that the objective, because we lacked that typical fuss. But these numbers comfort us, as we have allowed so many to feel so close to the festival, despite all the limitations we are experiencing these days, ”explained António Cruz, president of the Nossa Senhora d’Agonia Festival Commission.
The nine main pictures of the festival had videos specially prepared for this atypical edition of the Romaria, released on social media at the same time as they would be held in the traditional program.
The same platforms of the “Somos Todos Romaria” brand served for the exclusive presentation of three concerts produced and performed to make the festival feel at a distance: Augusto Canário, Sons do Minho and Sons da Festa with folk and traditional music groups.
Two live broadcasts were added, on the same platforms, of the moments that, although with various limitations, were physically performed, cases of the Solemn Eucharistic Celebration at the Shrine of Nossa Senhora d’Agonia, on August 20, and the usual presentation of greetings to the Municipal Executive by the Party Commission, the next day.
“It was a huge challenge. A party made of traditions always held with and for people. This year we knew that we couldn’t have people on the street living the parties and that’s why we tried to make them feel the parties, even without living them alive”, asserts António Cruz.
The 2020 festival started at 7:30 pm on August 19 with the presentation of the new version of the eternal “Havemos de ir a Viana”, poem by Pedro Homem de Mello and celebrated in the voice of Amália Rodrigues, now bringing together about 50 artists from fado to hip-hop.
This video alone, which was seen 500 times a minute in the first six hours after its release, was seen until August 24, on the three social media platforms, practically 690 thousand times.
The video on the Stewardship Parade, specifically released at the traditional time and day of the program, totaled more than 27,000 views, the Procession to the Sea about 20,000 and the Historical-Ethnographic Parade 17,000, among the most viewed over the days of the party.
“These figures show that we reach people and that is our best return. And for this reason, it was worth the bet not to miss the party despite everything”, concluded the president of the party committee.