We all love splashing about in the mud and rain at Glastonbury, but sometimes festivals in the sun are a lot less effort and a lot more fun. Spain has plenty to offer in terms of music, culture and food events as well as being an amazing holiday destination. We’ve taken a look at four of Spain’s best festivals that you must add to your bucket list!
Sonar takes place every year in Barcelona and is a celebration of electronic music fused with creative visual performances. The festival is split into Sonar Day and Sonar Night. That means you can still catch the sights of Barcelona and make the best of Sonar too. Big headliners have played Sonar in the past including The Chemical Brothers, 2manyDJs and Skrillex.
Running of the Bulls
The running of the bulls is a controversial cultural event that takes place in Pamplona. Each year, people head to the city to run down its streets with the bulls participating in a championship bullfight series, a practice that originated from the need to get the bulls between the ring and their corrals. Bullfighting has been banned in some areas of Spain yet the running of the bulls is still a highly popular festival which sees people travel from all over the world to witness or take part.
An indie lover’s dream, the Festival Internacional de Benicassim takes place in the Valencian town of the same name. It tends to attract lovers of mainstream indie music but this doesn’t detract from the amazing vibe at the event. Blur and The Prodigy are set to headline for 2015, and Florence and the Machine will be adding her energy to the main stage too.
If you enjoy food festivals that promote local delicacies and offer you the chance to sample wines, La Tomatina is not the event for you. Every year, in the Valencian town of Bunol, locals and visitors get together for this food fiesta which is basically a huge tomato fight. Squashed tomatoes are thrown everywhere covering whatever crosses their paths. Seeing really is believing at La Tomatina – expect hardcore veterans there with their swimming goggles and waterproofs at the ready!
Barcelona is an awe-inspiring destination in itself and September brings the chance for visitors to enjoy the city’s annual festival – La Merce. The streets are filled with gegants I capgrossos- giants made out of papier mache who represent important figures. The correfoc sees fire runners take to the city with fireworks, and bangers are let off under everyone’s feet. Health and safety would not be impressed! Castells are also a valued Catalan tradition which sees children climb onto each other’s shoulders forming great towers of people.
San Juan is celebrated nationwide in Spain to mark the longest day of the year in June. Fiestas and beach gatherings take place on the eve of San Juan where firework displays and bonfires light up the night sky. All of the larger cities have massive celebrations and Malaga, in the Costa del Sol, is a perfect place to immerse yourself in the fun of San Juan!
Less well known than music festivals like Sonar and Benicassim, Low Festival is a true indie event that has stuck to its humble beginnings. With bands like The Libertines, Kasabian and Foals headlining this year, it isn’t one to be missed. Avoid the masses at the more popular festivals and head to Benidorm where Low takes place. You’ll also save a small fortune with weekend tickets priced at an unbelievably cheap £48.00!
Whether you’re throwing tomatoes at your best mates in Valencia, basking in the indie beats of Low Festival or being impressed by the visual delights of San Juan and La Merce, Spain really does have a lot to offer festival lovers. With plenty more to discover, these can be just the start of your quest to conquer the Spanish festival calendar!