THE centre of bullfighting culture – Pamplona’s summer San Fermin festival – has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Navarra’s capital city, in northern Spain, was adamant the events would still be held between July 6-14 despite the cancellation of Valencia’s Fallas and Sevilla’s Semana Santa festivities.
But Pamplona’s acting mayor, Ana Elizalde, has today announced the ‘tragic’ news of the festival’s cancellation.
“This is not the time for running with bulls, bullfights or processions. Security measures are incompatible with San Fermín,” she said.
“The San Fermín festivities were not destined be the exception. Like the rest of events of global significance and national festivals, it will be suspended.
“Wimbledon, which shares dates with San Fermin, is also suspended, for example.
“It is a difficult and sad decision that has had the consensus of all municipal groups.”
It comes as Pamplona’s mayor, Enrique Maya, is in self-isolation after testing positive to COVID-19. To date, 413 people in Navarra had died from coronavirus infection.
The festival is believed to have generated 740 million euros over the last decade for Pamplona, according to a 2018 study.
Roughly 1.5 million tourists from all over the world descend on the capital to watch the parades, which include the famous daily ‘encierros’ where the public sprint alongside ferocious bulls through Pamplona’s narrow streets.
It is the fifth time in history the San Fermin festival has been cancelled.
It was suspended twice during the Spanish Civil War, in 1937 and 1938, while 1978 and 1997 were bullrunning-free years due to assassinations and deaths related to the ETA pro-Basque terrorist group.