It’s time we knew more about Spanish festivals other than La Tomatina.
Spain is a beautiful country with a vibrant culture and passionate people. They have some very beautiful customs and a certain flair of celebrating them. The Sherp went scouting through the Spanish lands to bring you some of the best.
1. La Tomatina
Undoubtedly Spain’s most popular, this week long festival is one of its wackiest. Almost 130,000 kilos of tomatoes are rolled up in trucks all over the city for the fruit fight to ensue. The festival began on a surprisingly random note. In 1945, some participants of the Los G ignantes (a giant paper mache puppet parade), were looking to start a little fight to get some attention. They chanced upon a cart of the juicy fruit and promptly began to hurl them at one another and onto innocent bystanders. As more people joined in, it turned into a celebration of a kind and later, a tradition. Though the local government tried to stop it in the following years, even going as far as imprisoning revellers, the festival has stayed strong and is now one of the most famous traditions in the world.
2. The Arizkun Carnival, Navarra
Spain is an ancient country and it’s no surprise that they celebrate their customs in a different manner. Surely one of the weirdest festivals, the Arizkun Carnival has its roots in the pagan culture of Spain. Locals dress up as their pagan ancestors and jump over 20 bonfires on the street! Really dangerous and quite frankly scary? Tell that to the Spaniards who believe that it blesses them with fertility and wards off evil spirits. That weird factor aside, the festival is also celebrated with a lot of music and dance that the locals indulge in to celebrate life. So if you happen to be there in February next year, make sure you drop in to witness this quirky affair.
3. Primavera Sound
Primavera Sound is one of the biggest music festivals in the world. It is a stage that is revered by every genre of music with artists such as Alt J, Jon Hopkins and The Black Keys having performed in its previous years. This year promises to be even bigger with Radiohead, Tame Impala and Sigur Ros ready to set the stage on fire. Spain is one of the most happening music scenes in the world and its music festivals are a testament to that.
4. San Fermin, Pamplona, Navarre
Though the most favourite event is the bull run, San Fermin is a beautiful festival with a lot more to offer. The drunken celebrations start at 12 pm sharp on June 6 , with the setting off of the pyrotechnic chupinazo (basically a rocket) and continues to the midnight of July 14. The act of setting off the chupinazo is celebrated throughout the city by people dancing, singing and performing on the street. A very common sight here is women happily lifting their shirts to err…display their assets, while the ecstatic crowd can go ahead and cop a feel. Yup, it’s THAT kind of a party. The San Fermin is held in honour of Saint Fermin , the co-patron of Navarre. The festival is attended by almost a 1,00,000 people from all over the world.
5. Azkena Rock, Vitoria-Gasteiz.
One of the greatest music festivals in Spain, Azkena is all about rock. A place real rock fans would consider heaven, the festival brings about the most awesome lineups every year. Acts such as Queens of Stone Age, Sex Pistols, Deep Purple, Kiss, Slash and Pearl Jam have previously rocked out on the stages. Though facing a few hurdles in the beginning such as bad management and cancelled gigs, the festival recovered quickly selling a record 44,000 tickets in 2006 when Pear Jam headlined. This year, The Who and Primal Scream is all set to take over the historic stage.
6. Las Fallas
This is one of the most weirdly-awesome festivals that we have come across. Las Fallas is basically how ancient the ancient Spanish did spring cleaning. In the olden times, the Spanish would set fire to excess winter supplies in order to welcome spring. The festival is also held in honour of Saint Joseph and each year, extensive effort is put in to create huge life-like papermache, cardboard and wood puppets that are then paraded around the city on the final day. What follows is visually stunning and terrifying on the same level, as each huge puppet is set on fire to mark the end of the winter. Each year, by popular vote, one puppet is saved to later be displayed in the Museum of Nino.
7. Arenal Sound, Valencia.
Spain is known for its music festivals and Arenal Sound is one of the reasons for that. Started in 2010, the festival has consistently grown in size and quality. Being held from August 4 to 7, they are gearing up for an insane show with acts such as Two Door Cinema Club, Steve Aoki and 1975. The three day festival is known for the eclectic crowd and beautiful venue and if the previous years are anything to go by, this year is totally not worth missing.
8. Vida, Barcelona.
Vida Music is the perfect summer music festival. Nestled on the gorgeous beaches surrounded by lush greenery. Mix in a bit of amazing music and this is already our dream festival. The intimate venue draws in a very cool eclectic crowd, a place where you to have spirited discussions about world art and music. The indie rock and pop lineups of the festival attract some of the quirkiest souls and your weird self can fit in here quite well.
9. Bilbao BBK Live, Bilbao.
The Bilbao BBK is one of the coolest festivals and you have to see it to believe us. Taking place on the TOP OF A HILL, you can see the beautiful city of Bilbao, which is known for its enchanting architecture and food, stretched out under you. To make things even better, they sure know how to get their lineups right. Some of the best indie, rock and pop acts usually perform here, with last year’s lineup consisting of Mumford and Sons, Muse and Mary Chain.
10. Festival Internacional de Benicàssim, Benicàssim.
The International Festival of Benicàssim has been going more than strong for more than 20 years and it seems to show no signs of slowing down. You can enjoy some of the best rock, indie and electro acts world over while while lazing around on the breathtaking beaches that neighbour the venue. The mammoth stages are the perfect backdrop and do perfect justice to the musical geniuses that make their way to the festival every year.