FESTIVALGOERS in southern Spain are gearing up for another Dragonfest.
Said by some to be Europe’s largest free festival the Dragonfest, held in a riverbed near Órgiva, has seen a large amount of traffic parking up in recent days. In past years the festival has been dogged by bad weather and threats by the local mayor to ban the unlicenced event.
Local residents are split on whether the festival should be permitted. Some welcome it, saying it brings a positive ´vibe´to the area, wheras others are vehenmently opposed to it, claiming it is anarchic and lawless. Many move away for a few days to avoid the ‘ear splittingly loud’ music pumped out by numerous sound systems throughout the day and night.
Although the festival is often portayed in a negative light – two people died at the event in 2001 – those living at the site all year round are attempting to emphasise more positive aspects. Green areas have been created in an attempt to make the festival more family friendly and trees and vegetable gardens have been planted in an effort to reduce the environmental impact. Cafés have sprung up, including the Green Dragon Café Bar, which sells organic vegtarian food to punters as they view the open mic stage. And, of course, there are compost toilets.
The festival’s website (www.dragon-festival.com) states that there will be 72 hours of live music, comedy, cabaret, poetry and circus. Acts such as The Honey Badgers, Asbo Derek and the Cupid Stunts have been lined up and the festival culminates in a spectacular performance of giant puppets and dancers set to music and light known as the Lux.
The Dragon Festival 2007. Cigarrones nr. Órgiva, La Alpujarra, Andalucia, Spain. March 16th -18th.