La Feria de Abril, or April Fair, is Sevilla’s annual party to welcome the spring. This year it runs from April 12 to 17 (the alumbrao, or switching on of the lights, is at midnight on April 11), and for a week the fairground will be abuzz with people, horses and carriages, and the sound of flamenco.
Entrance to the fairground is through a specially constructed gateway, called the Portada, which is rebuilt every year with a different theme. This year’s theme is “Homage to Dance” and the winning design, by Eduardo Morón Espinosa, was inspired by the Argentinian Pavilion for the 1929 Spanish American Exhibition, which is now the Antonio Ruiz Soler Conservatory of Professional Dance, and can be found in the Paseo de las Delicias.
The design also includes two commemorative plaques, one to each side of the central gateway. To the left is one for the 4th centenary of the death of Miguel Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote. To the right is celebrated the 750th anniversary of the parish church of Santa Ana in Triana.
Okay, not quite. You are very welcome to go to the Feria but unless you know someone with a caseta (the little stripy marquees) then you will end up crushed into one of the 19 large public ones. With over 1,000 private casetas that’s a lot of exclusion, which seems not very in keeping with what is meant to be a festive local event. Sound like sour grapes? Well, it isn’t. When I first moved to Sevilla over 22 years ago I found myself invited to Feria all the time, including the “noche del pescaíto“, followed by the “alumbrao” (lighting up of the gate and grounds at midnight on the Monday) and all-night partying. There would also be (private) lunches and long evenings going from (private) caseta to (private) caseta. I don’t know when it got tedious for me, but after a few years of this I would make my excuses when the invations came in, and limited my feria-going to one afternoon of taking photos of the splendid horses and colourful flamenco dresses.
This year I did something a bit different, which was to take in the “pre-feria” on the weekend before the official opening. To be honest, I didn’t know you could just walk in or that the casetas would be open for business. But I was there with a friend taking some photos of the portada and we saw people wandering in, so we did too. Many of the casetas were still having finishing touches done, but we saw several (private) ones full of people and then came across the large Distrito Casca Antiguo and, since it was open, decided to stop in for a beer. The calm before the storm.
As I sit here writing this a few invitations to meet at the Feria have come in by email or text message. And the other day I was even asked to do a radio interview about Feria (!!) which I turned down for obvious reasons (I don’t think it would have been the interview they were looking for). But you never know. I may end up popping over to people and horse watch for awhile. And before you write me off as a grumpy anti-feriante, I’ve already booked some time off to spend a couple of days at the feria in Jerez, where the casetas are open to everyone and the horses are especially beautiful. Just feels friendlier there somehow.
After 45 years as a performer, renowned flamenco guitarist José Luis Postigo opened the Casa de la Guitarra just three months ago in an 18th century building in the heart of the barrio Santa Cruz. The performances take place in an intimate space that brings the spectators close to the artists, and which also houses an impressive collection of 19th century guitars. The shows feature flamenco guitar, singing and dancing by professional performers in a variety of styles, and are an excellent introduction to the world of flamenco.
Theatre, music and dance under the light of the moon…
With over 30 shows through the summer until September, the fourth edition of Nights at the Buhaira Palace begin on June 21st with a concert featuring the winners of the municipal competition “Flamenco Joven”.
An easy walk from the centre of town, the Buhaira Palace is located on Eduarto Dato Avenue just a few minutes from the San Bernardo bridge (aka Puente de Bomberos). Built in 1171 by the caliph Abu Ya Qub Yusuf, the Buhaira Palace and its incredible gardens is still one of Sevilla’s “hidden gems”.
Normal ticket price is 12€ with reduced prices of 10€ for students and pensioners, and 8€ for groups of 15 or more.
Tickets can be purchased by telephone (902 021 952) Monday to Friday from 10.00 – 14.00 and at the theatre box office from 19.30 – 22.00 on the day of the show.
Palacio de la Buhaira
Corner Avdas Eduardo Dato & La Buhaira
21st June – 2nd September 2012
Shows start at 10.00 pm
Price: 12 euros
The Bienal de Flamenco has (finally!) announced their 2012 programme.
The Bienal de Flamenco de Sevilla has been going strong since 1980. It is an internationally renowned music festival that features the some of the finest flamenco performers in the world and takes place in all types of venues throughout town, from small local peñas to the magnificent Maestranza Theatre. The theme of the 2012 edition will be “De Cuerpo y Alma” (From Body and Soul). Tickets go on sale (on line) June 1st.
It’s been a long while since I’ve attended this fabulous event. Last time was eight years ago (!!) when I saw the incomparable Paco de Lucía. Think it’s time to go again…