THE summer festival season is upon us and kicking off the hedonistic fun is one sleepy Andalucian village.
Jimera de Libar – nestled in the heart of the Serrania de Ronda – will come alive with the sound of rock music this weekend.
On Saturday May 8, the Allioli Music Festival will be adding a few extra decibels to the surrounding mountainous landscape.
The festival begins at 1pm and boasts ten hours of live music, food, drink and dancing.
Building on the success of last year’s festival, organiser Paul Darwent has even extended the concert from his Bar Allioli.
“The idea is to sit down on the grass, chat with your friends, have a few beers and enjoy the music and the view.”
Last year, the festival attracted a crowd of 300 people to rock to bands outside the bar, next to the train station.
But now, due to popular demand, the venue will be held in the idyllic location of Camping Jimera de Libar, just up the road.
This year, at least 500 revellers are expected to attend the festivities, aided by the fact that the Ronda – Algeciras train line is finally up and running once more.
Organiser Paul Darwent said: “The campsite is under the mountains, by the side of the river with a fabulous lawn. The idea is to sit down on the grass, chat with your friends, have a few beers and enjoy the music and the view.”
Stalls within the site will be selling chips, hotdogs and sandwiches, and a bar will be open until 11.45pm.
Entrance to the festival is just five euros, and a wristband is also provided meaning you can come and go as you please throughout.
The music will be an eclectic mixture of styles including Irish folk, rock and Spanish flavours.
“From the bands I have put on in the bar over the last year, I have learnt what appeals to both a Spanish and English audience,” explains Darwent. “Therefore I’ve got a good mix lined up for the festival.”
Bands include Irish folk group Thrifty Malone, rock band Hard Rain and The Stolen Gnomes, who describe their music as ‘Celtic-based rhythms with a twist’.
Spanish group The Beer Bellys, who are travelling from Malaga, promise to get you up on your feet dancing with their off beat rock and roll tunes.
Meanwhile, lively band Biagra are well-known for their attention grabbing costume changes and visual performances.
Linking together all these performances will be Doctor Dream’s disco show and a number of guest appearances.
The festival certainly promises to be a fun and occasionally head-banging day out for fans of rock across Andalucia.
What’s more, for visitors to the area, it will be a great chance to discover some of the secrets that the inland mountains contain.
Indeed, those that will want to make a weekend of the concert will be in for a treat as the Serrania is home to some excellent places to spend the night.
Nearby village Benaojan boasts a great hideaway, Hotel Cuatro Paradas.
With the long-awaited arrival of those balmy summer evenings, there is no better time to sample its river terrace restaurant for dinner.
Nearby is another excellent option, Molino del Santo.
Another great pick is Hotel El Gecko, in Estacion de Cortes. Just one stop along the railway line, this lovely riverside hotel is offering a special room rate to support the music extravaganza.
And when it comes to great food, before or after the party, restaurant Quercus, by the station in Jimera de Libar, will most definitely not disappoint.
Open lunchtimes and during the evening it offers a great three-course Mediterranean menu for just 18 euros.
Just a ten-minute drive away from the party lies the mountain village of Montejaque, complete with snazzy, boutique hotel El Elefante Amarillo.
A classic Andalucian hotel with a modern twist, the newly-appointed chef, aptly named Gordon Brown, serves up a great array of cuisine.
Although rooms are already fully booked on May 8, a bar serving tapas will be open all day and the restaurant is open from 8-10pm.
After a hearty bellyful of food and a good night’s sleep has allowed you to recover from the the concert’s excesses, Sunday is definitely the perfect opportunity to explore the surrounding area.
As Jimera de Libar is within the Sierra de Grazalema national park, there are plenty of scenic routes and tracks all over the mountain sides.
If you fancy a walk in the surrounding countryside it is recommended to browse the 60-plus routes on www.walkandalucia.com
The walk from Jimera de Libar train station to the picturesque village of Benaojan called Mr Henderson’s walk is arguably the most beautiful and famous of the lot.
The walk takes you along the river and offers impressive views across the valley.
When you arrive at Estacion de Benaojan, stop for a drink at Hotel Molino del Santo or La Cantina bar at the station.
Great walks, hotels and even better music, the weekend will definitely have something for everyone.
Rock on party goers!