Monday, July 25, 2011

Jazz Festival in Ribadesella

 Every July in Ribadesella around this time there is a Festival de Jazz in a square outside of the town hall. A substantial stage and marquee is erected completely covering what is normally a small stone square with a few benches and trees, and a covered news stand.  This is serious business. You know from the PA system, lighting rig and team of technicians that this is going to be a pro gig.

Arriving in town around 10pm we join the throngs of people sat outside bars, eating in restaurants and promenading up and down one of the three main thoroughfares in Ribadesella. The dozen or so craft market traders who had set up along the sea front are packing up and discussing how good or bad business has been during the weekend-long event. The smell of the Churros permeated the night air mixing with many aromas from a range of traditional kitchens as the sea breeze changed direction and as we turn around corners.

Outside Café Bergantin, friends and familiar faces mixed with hoards of incomers all busily swapping stories of their day and greeting friends not seen since last season. Council workmen dragged out stack after stack of plastic chairs and arranged them diligently in front of the stage as technicians conducted final checks on lights, mics and smoke machines.
Nick and Gilda

People began to gather as we neared 11pm and the reserved front row filled with the Lady Mayoress and her entourage. The atmosphere is buzzing as several hundred people eagerly await the obligatory opening speech by the same guy each year, his identity still remaining a mystery to us after 5 years worth of events. Two things we do know about him is: he says the same thing each year and, he obviously enjoys the limelight.

To a rapturous applause, the fist band comes on stage and without further ado, start the evening off with a rousing blues guitar instrumental. This year we had the absolute delights of two great outfits. On Saturday it was, The Zac Harmon Blues Band and Sunday brought yet another Gospel choir in the shape of The Late Show Gospel Chorale featuring Lady Peachana. Yes, Lady Peachana, she has been around many more years than her singing 'sister' Lady Ga Ga.

Zac Harmon

This year the festival has only taken place on two nights whereas previous events have been three. Budget cuts I suppose. Never-the-less this free concert is a great event for the town and enjoyable to boot. Although it is advertised as a Jazz festival, it rarely is pure Jazz. Blues bands, gospel choirs and the odd contemporary jazz outfit work hand in hand to make sure everyone has a good time. Judging by the number of people dancing at the front, jigging up and down on the sidelines or stood clapping and singing, the bands seem to be working their magic.

The Late Show Gospel Choral

A couple of links here for you to check out sometime:

Zac Harmon

Lady Peachana


  1. I can feel the energy coming off some of those photos! Looks like a great way to spend the evening.

  2. Looks like a fabulous time. Some friends and we were commenting on how nice Ribadesella is at dinner this weekend.

    To show how much I´m enjoying your blog, I´ve nominated you for a Versatile Blogger award. Come over to my place to pick it up!


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