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Festes de Sant Jaume 2013

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The celebrations surrounding the Festes de Sant Jaume are some of the most hotly-anticipated in Formentera. The activities programme features a varied selection of cultural events that include concerts, exhibitions, fireworks, sports tournaments, activities for children and the exalted Formentera Flower evening of music and dance.

The Formentera Office of Local Celebrations and Community Involvement has always placed special importance on combining cultural events with the work of emerging artists, creating spaces where tradition is maintained alongside activities for all sorts of audiences. As such, the Festes de Sant Jaume 2013 programme kicks off with a traditional popular cantada at the Sant Francesc Retirees' Club.

Sporting activities form an important part of the Sant Jaume festivities, and fans of fitness will have the opportunity to participate in tournaments of beach football, tennis, beach volleyball, or the already historical “Pep Antonia Memorial” chess tournament, this year in its ninth edition. As occurs every year, the Formentera Swim Club will lead a synchronised swimming exhibition. This year's demonstration is set for 27 July at the municipal swimming pool. A stand-out feature of this year's festivities will be a presentation of the book “The symbol: Las lagartijas de Ibiza y Formentera,” led by Nathan Dappen, Neil Losin and Valentín Pérez Mellado.

Organisers had a budget of 50,000€ when planning the Festes de Sant Jaume events programme, which will develop over the course of the week ending 28 July. The Formentera Island Council this year initiated a sponsorship agreement with the Estrella Damm company for the organisation of the concerts associated with Sant Jaume holiday. Furthermore, the Office of Community Involvement and Local Celebrations placed renewed efforts behind a programme to use recycled cups, simultaneously promoting recycling and creating a souvenir of the year's celebrations for tourists and residents alike. The cups will be distributed to the associations in charge of festivity drink bars.

The “Marià Villangómez i Formentera” Exhibition
will stand as the opening act for the cultural side of Festes de Sant Jaume 2013, on display at the Exhibition Hall of the Ajuntament Vell (old town hall) from 22 July to 10 August. The exhibition will feature authentic Formentera artists who have come together to interpret a selection of the poetic work of Marià Villangómez. Each act will be an homage to the writer/poet from the Pitiüses on the centenary of his birth, and each will employ a different technique: collage, photography, oil and acrylic paint, paper, etc.

Taking part are Celia Jiménez, working with recycled materials; Enric Riera, presenting a piece whose protagonist is the blue of the Mediterranean; Fran Lucas offers a piece that combines collage with an assortment of natural elements; Gilbert Herreyns includes material from his immediate surroundings in his work; Josep Maria Moreu will present a still accompanied by a sculpture of his own making; Maribel Escandell will display a piece whose inspiration was drawn from the natural surroundings and sea of Formentera; Pier Paola Cané has created minute images out of paper and acrylic that contain mini-stories; Robert Hawkins offers once again a vision of the nature of Formentera in colours and Teresa Matilla brings forth a unique combination of various materials.

The result, nine marvellous works of art that transform Villangómez's written work into a more contemporary vision of poetry.

“Herois” Exhibition
Continuing in a cultural vein is the opening of the “Herois” exhibition, a collection of Balearic artists who have published comics in different countries across the globe and whose work has now been collected for display in La Caixa's Exhibition Hall. The exhibition is organised by the Govern Balear, and has received financial backing by the Institut d'Estudis Baleàrics, La Caixa and the Formentera Office of Culture.

Premis Sant Jaume
24 July will mark the official celebration of the Diada de Formentera – the day-long local celebration of the island – with the delivery of awards (premis) associated with Sant Jaume, in an event that will be held in the Cultural Hall of Formentera. The decision to bring the Sant Jaume local festivities under the umbrella of the Diada de Formentera was conceived in an effort to add an extra degree of quality to this already important day, one which has for four years celebrated members of the community who have dedicated entire lifetimes to the island. The festivities associated with the Diada de Formentera are especially relevant and symbolic because the Sant Jaume celebrations – together with the celebrations accompanying the day of patron saint Santa Maria – are the most deeply-rooted and locally-significant here on Formentera.

In recognition of his esteem for and generosity towards the people of Formentera, unanimously approved at this year's Council plenary session was the distinction of Erró, resident artist on Formentera since 1958, as the island's Adoptive Son. Also approved were Sant Jaume Awards for Isidor Torres Cardona, in recognition of Cardona's far-reaching work in the island's social and cultural spheres; for the Associació de Veïns del Pilar, for their role in the recuperation of cultural heritage through recreational activities like the Olimpiada Pagesa; a posthumous distinction for Jaume Verdera Verdera, for his active implication in education on the island at both the social and cultural levels. This year's Gold Medal will be given to the Col·lectiu de la Pagesia de Formentera (Local Farmers Collective of Formentera), in recognition of all those over the course of the island's history who have felt ties to the countryside.

Musical Performances
The live performances to accompany the Sant Jaume Day celebrations will include, first, the group Primogénito. This concert comes under the banner of music for integration, a programme of Obra Social “La Caixa”. Primogénito will open events the evening of 24 September, and will be followed by funk/soul/rock outfit Marina Bbface & the Beatroots. The evening's final performance will be given by the group The Last 3 Lines.

Primogénito is a recently-formed, Afro-Brazilian group from Madrid whose sound is coloured by the use of typical, regional folk wood and stringed instruments. The group's concerts are built around songs culled from several generations, with different forms of samba (partido alto, samba de roda and swing samba), styles plucked from northern Brazil (maracatú, frevo, afoxé, coco and forró) as well as traditional mining music from the country's central region.

The Last 3 Lines is a music project that was born in Barcelona in 2006. Three of the members (Sergi and Dani on guitar and Jordi on drums), had honed their chops as members of the group Laihn, which left behind one album (“Trencaclosques”) and an infinite number of grand concerts. A search for new travelling companions resulted in the addition of Xavi (vocals and acoustic guitar) and Ruth (bass and background vocals). The five members united, the new group wasted no time in composing a healthy repertory of songs and performing an initial concert.

This year's Sant Jaume-Diada de Formentera festivities will receive the honour of a star performance by a group of both national and global fame. Such is the case with Marlango, a Spanish pop group heavily influenced by jazz and blues and by the musical tones of Tom Waits. The group's key members include Leonor Watling, Alejandro Pelayo and Óscar Ybarra. Falsterbo Marí – folk music in the style of group members Montse Domènech, Eduard Estivil and Isidor Marí – is set to follow Marlango, while Joan Dausà i els Tipus d'Interès will close the evening's events. In the business of making and performing Catalan music, Dausà and his group released in 2012 their first album, a project begun in 2010 that won the Sona 9 Premi Joventut (Young Artist Award) by popular vote.

Joan Dausà is himself both actor and musician, and is the headlining member of the “Tipus d'Interès” (“Persons of Interest”). The groups other members are Martí Maymó, Axel Pi, Florenci Ferrer, Santos Berrocal, David Romero, Eloi Isern and Carol Duran. Arnau Vallvé of Manel and the actress Clara Segura will also take the stage and join the group for two songs. Maymó, in addition to Vallvé, is a regular member of the music group Manel; Pi is a member of Sidonie and Duran plays in La Carrau.

Formentera Flower
The night of Formentera Flower will storm the Sant Francesc plaza Saturday, 27 July, in a themed event that year after year has gained followers and momentum both in Spain and abroad. Since its origins in the first years of the 2000s, the evening has established itself as one of the high-drawing events attracting visitors to the island. With thousands in attendance, few miss the opportunity to dance to the rhythms of the 60s, 70s and 80s.

The Plaça de la Constitució of Sant Francesc Xavier is decked out for the event in full hippie décor, and spectacular psychedelic designs fashioned by Bamboo are transformed into projections upon the church façade, visually regaling all those in attendance. The evening will boast DJ sets by DJ Gunter Blue, Javi Box and the always charismatic DJ Pharma. To avoid vehicle pile-ups and guarantee the safety of everyone, public transport to the event is highly recommended, and on 24, 25 and 27 July, special night service buses will be organised by the Office of Local Celebrations.

The evening's youngest attendees will also be treated to street theatre, in a performance given by the Festuc Teatre group called Bugui Bugui (appropriate for all audiences). Young event-goers can also participate in hippie make-up workshops. Organised by the Casal de Joves (Youth Centre), the workshops will be centred around making decorative objects like tie-dye T-shirts, crowns bracelets.