Festival de Jerez 2017 Preview

Next year’s twenty-first international Festival of Flamenco in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain runs from 24th February to 11th March 2017 ( see Festival de Jerez 2017 Plus ).  The Programme of events can now be found on the TeatroVillamarta1Ayuntamiento site at www.jerez.es – it was posted earlier today.

There are thirty eight formal performances during the fortnight which are spread over five main venues. These are the Teatro Villamarta, the Sala Compania and Sala Paul, as well as the lovely Palacio Villavicencio, below right, and the Bodega Gonzales-Byass.  Ticket prices range from fifteen euros in the Palacio to thirty-seven euros for the best seats at the theatre.  In addition, therePalacioVillavicencio2 will be smaller, free performances in tabancos, like El Pasaje, below, and penas (local flamenco clubs) all over town (though it is assumed that you will purchase a drink or two or food while you watch). Be prepared to squeeze in, these free performances are very popular.

ElPasaje1I’m glad that flamenco returns to the Palacio this year, it is one of the most intimate and beautiful venues. I am glad, too, that Bodega Gonzales Byass continues to be used as a venue, after last year’s twentieth anniversary celebrations there.  Unfortunately there are no performances in the other unusual venues used last year, such as the convent where we saw ‘Lamento’, or outdoors in the gardens of the Alcazar.  Those are withheld for important anniversaries.

This year’s Programme opens in the theatre with the Ballet Flamenco de Andalucia in a celebration of the historical works of Andalusian masters, from the nineteenth century onward, including Garcia Lorca. There are SalaCompania1performances from global stars like Antonio el Pipa, whose company closes the Festival this year and Maria Pages. I am particularly looking forward to seeing guitarist Jesus Guerrero, dancer Maria Moreno and Angel Munoz (and am annoyed that I will miss Manuel Valencia late in the fortnight). The Camerata Flamenco Project or ‘swing flamenco’ intrigues me.

Not yet advertised are the supporting exhibitions and street art, which, last year, helped to make the whole Festival so memorable.  I’m pretty certain, however, that there will be something in the Claustros and probably in the Alcazar and other exhibition spaces too.  It is to be hoped that the accompanying Festival Gastronomica makes a reappearance. And pay a visit to Palacio Pelmartin, the Flamenco Centre, aside from exhibitions, you may also find out about some of the street flamenco on offer during the week, including the popular flamenco ‘flash mobs’.

My flights are already booked, as are those of the visiting friends.  Already I hear the liquid sound of the guitar, above the stamping of feet on wood as silk swirls and dancers posture, and, all the time, the fluttering, ever-changing rhythms of the ‘palmistas’.  I can’t wait.

If there is any possibility of forgetting the excellent performances of yesteryear you need only go to the web-site to access videos of earlier Festivals.  Or read the reviews of specific performances and exhibitions on The Story Bazaar                             Lamento                Sherry wine, dancing and song                    Jazz Guitar                     Street Art              Indomitable Women      Reversible

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