Good news. The Programme for next year’s Festival, the twenty-second, is out now on the Ayuntamiento web-site. It runs from 23rd February to 10th March.
It all begins with the National Ballet of Spain in Teatro Villamarta on Friday 23rd February and, later that night (midnight), at Bodega Gonzales Byass with the wonderful Antonio Rey, kicking off the Toca Toque cycle of guitar concerts. There’s a female focus this year, with a Mujeres de la frontera cycle (Women of the frontier) and Mujeres con Nombre Proprio (Women in their own name). Aside from that there is Baile con Ellos, a dance cycle and the Raiz y Vuelo (Root and Flight) cycle.
Old favourites, Rey aside, are Santago Lara in Sala Paul on a Saturday night, Javier Patino and Gema Caballero in the Sala Compania and David Carpio, with his usual collaborators, also in Sala Paul. For big shows, there’s Manual Linan in the Theatre on the first Saturday, the Ballet Flamenco de Andalucia (as usual) and companies led by Isabel Bayon and La Lupi (the last is unknown to me, but she is a dancer). There is also an international collaboration between Shoji Kojimay and Javier Latorre, so the Japanese influence lingers.
The Programme is as full as ever, with three shows per night the norm, in three different venues ( for more on these see Flamenco Reprise ). The really good news is that the Teatro Villamarta, after fear of closure, has been reprieved and the Festival fits into its full annual programme of events. As yet the ‘off-Festival’ Programme in the tabancos and peñas hasn’t been published, but, I suspect there will be one or more peña show a night, plus performances at tabancos like El Pasaje. Likewise, it is too early for announcements about the supporting arts, exhibitions and gastronomy.
Prices this year range from €20 – €37 in the theatre (the most expensive being for the Spanish National Ballet) and from €15 – €25 in the other venues – but mostly at €20. The tabancos and peñas are, in the main, free, though one is expected to buy drinks and food. In El Pasaje, for example, tables are reserved for those who are willing to spend a certain amount on both. It is possible, as always, to buy ‘bundles’ of tickets for specific cycles e.g. if you are only interested in going to hear guitarists buy the Toca Toque bundle. I have never done this, though good discounts are available, mainly because I want to see lots of different types of performance, however much I like flamenco guitar.
As usual there is a full programme of teaching to accompany the performances, with luminaries like Olga Pericet and Mercedes Ruiz, Eduardo Guerrero and Angel Munoz ( see Paco Pena ). Many are already over subscribed, so move quickly if you want to take classes. Ditto with tickets for performances, the big names will sell out as will the local favourites ( last year we found ourselves queuing for returns ). My party of Festival goers is already getting excited, planning flights, performances and things which we want to do during the days of the Festival.