Fiesta de San Bartolomeu (August 24 to 28, 2005)

Noia's main festival is a five day event called the "Fiesta de San Bartolomeu" and this year (2005), it took place from Wednesday 24th to Sunday 28th of August.

Over the coming weeks I will add links with photos and details about this festival, including reviews of fiesta bands and some of the more interesting activities that make up the festival.

Fiesta de San Bartolomeu Overview

The start of each festival day commenced with "Bombas de palenque", just another way of saying loud fireworks. Below, crowds on the main square.

 Crowds at the fiesta

Once the "Bombas" are out of the way, the next thing on the list is the "da Banda de Musica de Noia", which starts straight after the "bangs". This is Noia's Brass Band that plays on the alameda (main square). There was however an exception to this when, on the second day of the fiesta, the bagpipes or "Gaitas" came out instead.

Once the fireworks and music are out of the way every day is different, although most have a reemergence of the Brass Band at 1.00pm or 1.30pm. The big tiled plaza (alameda), in front of the Town Hall and Council offices, is the venue for many events, especially those that involve children, although another smaller and older square, the "Tapal", is also used. The towns theater was also the source of some evening performances, including "Magic acts".

Noia fiesta escape artist

Magic acts seem to have been a priority show in 2005 and we left the apartment and walked on to the alameda on day one of the festival, to see an escapologist being hoisted into the air by crane whilst strapped in a straight jacket (see left). He jostled about for a minute or two, and the straight jacket was off there was not however a pit of crocodiles or burning rope to encourage his haste. That said it did draw a large crowd and it was the first time we had witnessed an act of that type.

In days gone by, the fiesta of Saint Bartolomeu was a bigger spectacle than it is today, mainly because many of the events including bicycle races, swimming and football matches, were participated in by adults. Today however, it is the children who take part in smaller scale and less competitively challenging versions of these sports.

Noia's San Bartolomeu Festival at night

The main focus of the festival's night time happenings are music concerts that take place at two separate venues.

At the large plaza, two acts per night perform two shows each. The first starts at 10.30pm and each show lasts about one and a half hours. As soon as one band finishes, the next starts and the shows eventually come to a close some time around 4.00am in the morning. I will post links to reviews of these bands over the next few weeks, but wish a good day to one of them, "Master". I will explain why in a later post.

People in the alameda at Noia's night time concerts

In addition to these main shows, the first two days of the festival also featured some "alternative music" at the smaller "Tapal" square, close to San Martino church. Day one had 3 bands, one rock, one pop and one funk or so the timetable told us. We did take a look at a couple of them and they were pretty good. It was also interesting to see that some of the two hundred or so crowd watching them had their experience enhanced by recreational substances of some kind.

On the penultimate day of the festival, the Saturday, there was also a "pay for" concert featuring the band "Hombres G". We have no idea who they are, other than the fact that we did see them on local TV on one occasion.

As in all years, the final day of the fiesta is capped at midnight by a firework display over the bay. The display was impressive and lasted about 20 minutes. It also involved fireworks being set off from some small platforms in the bay itself as well as the main display area. All told it was excellent.

Links to Noia fiesta events

Noia's festival of the empanada
Festival bands in 2005
Celtic dancing and bagpipe playing in Noia 2005
Celtic fiesta in Noia (July 2006)

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