THE FREE FESTIVALS OF IBIZA
Ibiza’s party spirit has stamped its identity on the world map. Long before Paul Oakenfold, Danny Rampling and Nicky Holloway met Alfredo and even before the hippies and the beatniks came to let their hair down in Ibiza, there has been vibrant celebrations throughout the year in every corner of this little island. Each town finds their namesake from their given church and patron saint and each of those towns has it’s own day of celebration. These fiestas are a fantastic way to experience local culture. Some of these festivals have grown in size over the years and are now quite large scale events, some are still very quaint and local. On an island that is overrun with tourists it’s worth appreciating that the smaller fiestas are a rare occasion for the natives to socialise with their community and should be respected with that in mind. Below we have featured some of the larger traditional events and some of the more contemporary free festivals which have sprung up in recent years.
Step into the Middle Ages and see battles re-enacted on the ramparts, damsels in distress, snake charmers and wizards working their magic behind the walls of Dalt Vila. Crafts are demonstrated in Vara de Rey while the medieval market stalls are packed with delicious things to try, as the smells and sights transport you back to yesteryear. Up in the old town is a riotous hoot with folks dressed in traditional costume – acrobats compete for space with knights, little old ladies weave baskets and just watch your head when the falcons fly past. It’s an action packed day out for all the family that really will blow you away.
Kick off is Thursday 5 May 18.00 at Reina Sofia Park, with the opening show & medieval tournament at 21.30. The market runs 6 – 9 May from 10am.
SAN CARLOS MUSIC FESTIVAL AI CARAI!
See San Carlos transformed into one massive street party to celebrating the International Music Festival and summer solstice. It’s a fun day out for all the family, with 150 artists from all over the world performing on several outdoor stages, with music of all genres both live and electronic. With storytelling and clowns for the kids, there’s something for everyone including arts, crafts and local products, plus loads of yummy stuff to eat and drink. Drink in the fun filled festival vibes and enjoy the usually quite village of San Carlos like you’ve never seen it before. Entry is free www.sancarlosmusicfestival.com
SANT JOAN FESTIVAL
June 23 – 24
Celebrate the summer solstice with the San Juan fiesta, with bonfires and fireworks on 23 June, and the Patron Saint’s day of San Juan the day after. After mass there’s a procession through San Juan, and after night fall bonfires are lit. It’s then down to you to jump over them to chase away evil spirits and welcome in the summer. Make merry and enjoy traditional folk dancing and live music, and check out the macaroon contest! San Juan is more rammed than Pacha’s VIP, but there are bonfires all over the island so you won’t be disappointed.
BE-AT.TV & IBIZA SONICA’S ONE FESTIVAL
BE-AT.TV & legendary radio station Ibiza Sonica team up to bring you a free open air party in the Old Port of Ibiza. With past sets from Igor Marijuan, Guy Gerber & Nic Fanciulli the free festival offers an impressive line up, you can be sure this year the front strip is set to be heaving with a few thousand party heads soaking up the late afternoon sun and rocking into evening. Whilst you may find yourself gawping at the super yachts lining the port, congratulate yourself you haven’t spent a penny to be there, whereas they have spent plenty. Their owners will probably be enjoying the beats from the top deck while you will be getting stuck in on the dancefloor aka the street, with the beautiful back drop of Dalt Vila behind you.
THE PORTINATX FESTIVAL
FESTIVAL OF OUR LADY CARMEN
July 15 – 19
This colourful fiesta honours the patron saint of sailors, and while the main action takes place in Ibiza Town there are also festivities in Portinatx and Es Cubells. The statue of Our Lady Carmen is taken from the Church of San Telmo, carried through the harbour accompanied by the Sta Eulalia brass band and taken out to sea in a huge sea procession around the coast. Prayers are said for the safety of our fishermen and sailors, and of course no Ibiza fiesta would be complete without folk dancing, drinking and being merry.
FIESTA OF SANT AGUSTI
Aug 22 – 24
The fiesta day for the patron saint of San Agustin is particularly special. After mass at 7pm there’s a procession and the festival vibes kick in around 9.30pm. This tiny village really pulls the stops out in terms of entertainment and atmosphere, with live and electronic music going on until the early hours. Expect the likes of the The Frigolas and other much loved Ibiza bands playing live under the stars; they’ve even been known to play drum and bass! There are performances and various activities to keep you entertained, and rest assured you’ll be in good company as Ibiza will be out in force.
FIESTA DE SAN RAFAEL
Sant Rafel’s fiesta is always buzzing with activity, as locals and visitors alike get together to munch on the local pork and rice dish – arroz de Matanzas – and enjoy sweet pastries called buñuelos, all washed down with some local vino. The month of October sees sports competitions and games, plus traditional dances all happening in the village, with the main festivities occurring on 24 October to honour of the patron saint San Rafel Arcangel.
THE SAN MATEO WINE FESTIVAL
The San Mateo wine festival is well known as the cause of many a sickie and hangover in the weeks before Christmas. Previous years have seen over 500 litres of wine drunk and more than 200 kilos of sobrasada devoured by hungry visitors. It has been going for over 25 years and started as a meeting between friends to show just how good San Mateu’s wine and sobrasada is. Everyone clearly enjoyed the wine and the yearly meeting grew and grew to include live and electronic music and dancing – both traditional and otherwise. They have even been known to play some drum and bass. The December timing means you will be drinking home made wine to keep warm, so we suggest a few layers to ease the aftermath.