Botellón or Botelloff?

LAST UPDATED: 27 May, 2007 @ 19:57
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Granada braces itself for May madness as thousands expected at mass open-air drinking session

IN the run up to the Día de la Cruz, drinkers were left wondering whether Granada has the bottle to host the biggest botellón of the year.
As the May 3 festival approaches in Granada, botelloneros (outdoor drinkers) were choking the internet with plans to unite for a giant open-air drinking session – known popularly as a macrobotellón.

Such events in previous years have attracted tens of thousands of mainly young revellers to the city, leaving a massive clean-up bill and an unearthly stench behind them.

Not wishing to err on the side of totalitarianism as some other Spanish cities have done with the anti-botellón law of 2006 – Granada has constructed a space dubbed a botellódromo where revelers can continue the botellón revolution without breaking the law by drinking in the streets.

The tension began to mount, however, when botelloneros began their networking in earnest and a Malaga tour operator even unveiled a coach trip package to the event.
Spain newspaper La Opinion reported local authorities in Granada are considering legal action against the travel company for encouraging customers to break the outdoor drinking laws in the city.

The company has insisted all its clients are informed it is forbidden to consume alcohol outside in Granada – except in designated areas.

The sound of collective knee trembling in council offices and behind police desks could be heard as officials speculated they might bottle-out and close down the botellódromo for the May 3 festival.

The local government announced it would “armour-plate” the town centre to avoid possible concentrations of young drinkers.

The Día de la Cruz festival has long been a source of local pride, with religious displays adorning various points of the city. However, in recent years it has been overshadowed by its very antithesis – the excessive drinking phenomenon of the macrobotellón.

The council has asked local associations to help think of ways to “recuperate the traditional character of the Día de la Cruz” but the fears are the festival has already been hijacked.

For the last twenty years or so, bars have served drinks on the streets of Granada on the Día de la Cruz. This year, the ambience is set to be a lot different as May 3 is the first day of the cross since the new anti-botellón law was brought into force prohibiting alcohol consumption on the streets.
With only a few days to go, the council is still undecided whether or not to open the botellódromo located opposite the Hipercor superstore; while national and local police forces were said to be having logistics talks on how to possibly handle the influx of a possible tens of thousands of people on the city centre of Granada.

Lisa Tilley

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