Welcome back to all our readers! Summer in Spain… lovely weather (most of the time), beaches, great food and music, cultural events, festivals, sports… what else can you ask for??!! This is the perfect season to visit our country, as you can see by looking at the various events, festivals and fiestas coming up in the next three months. Take a look at our summary of the upcoming events taking place in Spain from July to September…
July is the perfect month for those interested in music… especially if you’re travelling to the Basque Country. The two most popular annual Jazz festivals in Spain take place during this month in this region. The Vitoria Jazz Festival, which is part of the International Jazz Festival Organization will be held from July 14th to July 19th and for its 38th edition it’ll count with great artists such as the Buena Vista Social Club Orchestra, Paul Anka or Noa. Less than a week later (July 23rd to July 27th), we’ll have the 49th edition of the San Sebastian International Jazz Festival withover 60 performances in different venues, such as the Kursaal Center and its terraces, the Trinidad Square and the Zurriola Beach.
But music is not just Jazz… For the lovers of the independent pop/rock scene there’s another festival which is becoming very popular in the last few years: The BBK Live Festival in Bilbao, which will take place from July 10th to July 12th and will count with international artists, such as Franz Ferdinand, The Black Keys, The Prodigy or MGMT. Apart from the Basque Country, and continuing with the “indie” music, the internationally famous FIB (Benicassim International Festival) will be held in this town of the Comunidad Valenciana from July 17th to July 20th. This music festivals, which has been held from 1995 and has become one of the World references for the international independent scene, will have this year a spectacular line-up (as usually) with artists such as Kasabian, The Libertines, Lily Allen, Manic Street Preachers, Paul Weller or Travis.
Early July also hosts one of the most popular festivities in Spain: San Fermin. This festival, taking place in Pamplona from July 6th to July 14th, has become one of the stereotypes of the image of Spain abroad and is now internationally known because of the popular “encierros” (running of the bulls). Even if, traditionally, this festival started as a religious celebration in honor of the saint patron of Navarra, now the religious ceremonies have been left out in the background and people come to the city for the abovementioned “encierros”, the street partying and the bullfights. Here at Madrid & Beyond, we’ve been offering to our clients for years some insiders access activities during this festival, such as watching the running of the bulls from a private balcony or enjoying breakfast and taking part in the traditional dance at one of Pamplona’s most exclusive venues.
For shoppers out there, the start of summer in Spain means the by the sales season (Rebajas) which will be running in most of the shops and shopping malls until the end of August or the end of September (depending on the regions).
If you are planning to enjoy the beaches of Cadiz, south west Spain in early August, then don’t miss the chance to watch the amazing horse races on the beach in San Lucar de Barrameda from August 7th to 9th. Enjoy the races and the beautiful sunsets in one of Europe’s oldest horse contests (dating back to 1845).
Continuing with more sports, there are 2 other events that will take place in our country during this month. The first is the Spanish Supercup (soccer/football) where the League champion (Atletico de Madrid) will face the King’s Cup champion (Real Madrid) in a rematch of the most important event of last season… the final of the UEFA Champions League. The first match will be held at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on August 20th and the second at the Vicente Calderon Stadium on August 27th. The second big event of the month is the Vuelta a España (Tour of Spain), one of the 3 big cycling competitions of the calendar. This year it will run from August 23rd to September 14th and it will start in Jerez de la Frontera, then continue across Andalusia, Castilla La Mancha, Aragon and finally the North of Spain, until the final arrival in Santiago the Compostela. A great opportunity to watch the best cyclists of the World competing for the last important cycling prize of the year…
Apart from sports, August is traditionally an important month for festivities in Spain. Although there will be festivals in many villages, towns and cities along our country, we would like to highlight the following: The San Cayetano, San Lorenzo and La Paloma festivals in Madrid. These are three festivals in honor of 3 different saint patrons of the city that take place in some of the most central and traditional neighborhoods in Madrid (Lavapies, La Latina, Cascorro, Las Vistillas). The festivals start at the beginning of the month and finish on August 17th. There will be open-air festivities and street fairs, street decoration contests, shows and concerts and some religious ceremonies. In the North, there are two festivities worth mentioning, the Semana Grande (Grand Week) of San Sebastian (August 9th to 16th) and the Semana Grande of Bilbao (August 16th to 24th). Both of them include cultural and sporting events, bullfights, concerts and performances, popular dances, etc. Last but not least, in Andalusia, we have the Feria de Malaga (August 16th to 23rd) also including many open-air activities in the city and the Malagueta beach, concerts, competitions, bullfights, etc. One of the most popular fairs in Andalusia, after the April Fair of Sevilla.
Finally, another of the festivals that has become popular worldwide also takes place in August: La Tomatina (Tomato fight). Every year, on the last Wednesday of August, neighbors and tourists gather in the village of Buñol (next to Valencia) and take a free breakfast provided by the town hall before one of the biggest food fights in the World. What started as a tomato fight amongst some local youngsters in 1945 has now become a massive “battle”, very popular outside our borders and attracting a huge number of visitors each year and with more than 100 tons of tomatoes being used as weapons… Crazy!
From August 30th until September 14th Spain will host the Basketball World Cup which will take place in different locations, such as Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Sevilla, Granada and Gran Canaria. The main teams in Europe (including Spain, of course) plus Argentina and Brazil will try to overthrow the all-powerful United States this time… will any team be able to get this heroic deed?
From September 19th to 27th the most important annual film festival in Spain takes place in San Sebastian. The San Sebastian International Film Festival, which started on 1953 has become one of the most important and prestigious festivals in the World, together with those in Berlin and Cannes. During these days, actors, directors and other celebrities assisting this glamorous event have the chance to enjoy the charm and atmosphere of this lovely city. Also at the end of the month, the city of Barcelona celebrates its most important festivities: La Mercé Festivals. This festival, which started on 1871, takes place on the week of September 24th and includes street shows and concerts, traditional dances, parades, fireworks, human towers, etc. During this week the streets of the city become even more lively and animated than normal, and that’s quite a statement when speaking about Barcelona!
For those interested in Spanish arts and cultural traditions there are two other festivals worth mentioning. The first would be the Flamenco Biennial Festival in Sevilla (September 12th to October 5th). This festival is held every second year since 1980 and combines a competition amongst the best flamenco artists with parallel events such as performances, courses, seminars… which make everything to be centered around flamenco on these days in the Andalusian capital. The second is the Human Towers Competition in Tarragona (September 28th to October 5th). This competition is also held every second year and it’s the biggest competition of its type, gathering all the clubs in Catalonia. Apart from the competition there will be other traditional Catalonian activities set in a festive atmosphere.
Well, as you can see, the long summer is season offers all sorts of events and attractions. Apart from those mentioned above, there are many other cultural activities to bear in mind such as: The Veranos de la Villa in Madrid (performing arts activities in open-air venues), Shows and concerts at the Generalife Gardens in Granada, Open-air cinema projections on the Medieval Walls in Avila, Cultural activities at the Alcazar Gardens in Sevilla… and much more! Stay tuned for more interesting posts about Spain!!!