New venues, specific themes and genres, and alternative formats: these are the small-format festivals that are making headway in the Girona counties
Numerous small-scale music initiatives are taking centre stage on the Girona music scene. They are here to stay and complement what’s already offered by large festivals. Read on to find out more about a few of them.
Starting in the north, we’ll head to the town of Cadaqués, in Alt Empordà, to discover the Indrets Festival, held during the summer months. This is a brand new initiative that aims to diversify the town’s range of venues, with quality music performances focusing on local culture and language. Dance and movement are the stars of Figueres es Mou, a festival that takes place in the region’s capital. During the first week of July, national and international companies alike fill the city’s public spaces with surprising and innovative performances.
Baix Empordà has also embraced new formats. La Bisbal d’Empordà hosts the International Festival of the Terracotta Ceramics Museum every Wednesday in July, with a programme of performances by up-and-coming Catalan bands. The Amb so de cobla Festival, which runs throughout August in Palamós, is all about Catalan folk bands and their sound, but features original and crowd-pleasing performances. You’ll be left just as in awe strolling through the streets of Sant Feliu de Guíxols when the concert series Música pels puestus takes place, offering a line-up of local bands that the Mascanada Association programmes in little-known venues around the town.
One event that’s on the rise is the Càntut Festival, which takes place in Cassà de la Selva during the month of November. The festival aims to promote orally transmitted musical heritage and has recently been awarded the National Culture Prize. Another innovative concept in Gironès, specifically in Girona, is the Blind Concerts: the only thing you know when you buy a ticket is the location – the Arab baths or the cloister of the cathedral, for example – but the artist who will be performing there is a complete surprise. Also new this year is the Brogit Festival. Under the slogan “music for all”, it puts on a series of inclusive charity concerts at various venues in the region to raise awareness and support for people with intellectual disabilities.
Ripollès has been hosting a similar festival called Inspira since 2018. It’s an inclusive event centred around culture, music and the performing arts, and its aim is to showcase diversity on stage. It takes place in an adapted space in El Pla de la Devesa de Ripoll, with two stages hosting back-to-back concerts all day long.
A new format that’s quickly becoming a classic is the Banyoles Festival of the Voice, (a)phònica, in Pla de l’Estany. Now in its eighteenth year, the event stands out for programming both up-and-coming and established artists, who come together during the last weekend of June at various venues around the town.
Garrotxa is home to more new music festivals than almost any other region. Two standouts are Música als Masos, which focuses on classical music and puts on concerts in local manors and country houses during the month of July, and Planestiueja’t, which combines concerts and nature activities for the whole family in Les Planes d’Hostoles. And let’s not forget about Vallviva, a charity festival held in Vall d’en Bas. Music is the vibe at all three.
The Festival de Música de la Cerdanya takes place during the month of August between Llívia and Puigcerdà in Cerdanya. It features classical symphonic music performances, as well as gospel and pop artists. Not to be confused with the large-scale Cerdanya Music Festival, nor with the Ancient Music Festival of the Pyrenees.
Music, nature and food make up the essence of Isard Fest in Sant Hilari Sacalm (Selva), organised by a group of local youngsters to support up-and-coming talent. Meanwhile, rumba is the star of the Festival of Catalan Music and Rumba, put on by Lloret de Mar for the last six years. Taking place in June, it features a line-up of concerts and free activities to keep you on your feet!