Jerez Flamenco Festival
4 days - March 1-4 2013
The small town of Jerez de la Frontera in the south west of Andalucía is famed for its flamenco, its horses and its fino sherry. It's from Jerez that the drink gets its English name. We'll get a taste of all three - and particularly the flamenco during the festival which brings top performers into town.
Flamenco is Spain's most passionate music, yet it can be frustratingly elusive without some inside-knowledge. Your Songlines Music Travel Leader is on hand with those all-important tips that tell you what to listen and watch out for. With just a little help, it all begins to make sense. And in a place like Jerez you soon understand how it fits into the broader history and culture of the region.
Jerez, with its palm-lined squares, has a spectacular cathedral, an imposing Moorish alcazar and the atmospheric Gypsy quarter of Santiago, an important part of its flamenco history. There's a fine flamenco museum, the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art and dozens of atmospheric bodegas where we can taste the wine and sherry. After the concerts, there's plenty of informal music in the bars and peñas of the town.
There will also be the opportunity to try the Arab baths, visit the bull fighting museum or enjoy the bars and cafés on the, hopefully, sunny streets of Jerez. It's a wonderful opportunity to get a taste of real flamenco at its roots.
All Songlines Music Travellers will receive an information sheet about the local music plus recommended recordings and DVDs.
Jerez Flamenco Festival Itinerary
Day 1 Fri
The trip begins with an introductory briefing from your Songlines Travel Leader who will bring you up to date on plans for the weekend. We'll then get in a good round of tapas and a drink before the evening's concert. During the two weeks of the festival there are performances at the Teatro Villamarta and we'll catch a different one each night. After the performance we'll head for the local bars or peñas flamencos where we can hear more music and get tasty late-night snacks. One or two bars in Jerez are owned by famous flamenco musicians like the inimitable Diego Carrasco so who knows who we might bump into.
Day 2 Sat
There's lots going on today, so we leave at 9.30. We'll visit the impressive Jerez Real Escuela Andaluza de Arte Ecuestreto to see the horses training. Jerez horses are famous for dancing to flamenco and are occasionally included in major flamenco performances. Close by is the flamenco museum in Jerez where flamenco films are shown each morning. Here we'll have a short introduction to flamenco music and dance. After a refreshment break, we'll head to the Jerez Festival Centre in the Consejo Regulador. Sherry is liberally served during the daily press conferences and presentations. Although these daily events are in Spanish the main performers - musicians, dancers, singers - are in attendance to talk about their work. It is an opportunity to see them close up and hear them talk about the evening show and maybe ask your own questions and take photographs. After lunch we'll walk around the Santiago district, Jerez’ Gypsy neighbourhood and hopefully be able to visit one of the houses. The old Gypsy quarter in Jerez was home to some of Spain's leading flamenco singers, guitarists and dancers - from the singer Nano de Jerez to the rising young dancer Miguel Hareba. The rest of the afternoon if free before meeting up again for our second evening concert and then on to a peña or bar to dance the night away .
Day 3 Sun
Today we'll visit a local family-run bodega to see first-hand how sherry is made. We'll enjoy a guided wine tasting and simple nibbles. After lunch the afternoon is free for a siesta or to visit some of the other highlights. Jerez has a Museo Taurino (Bull Fighting Museum), a visit to which will help explain the link between flamenco and bullfighting; there are lovely Moorish Baths and the Parque Zoologico which has a botanic gardens and a small zoo. Your Travel Leader will be able to point you in the right direction or make a pre booking for you if required. Congregating in the evening we experience our last concert of the trip before a late supper at one of Jerez’ best restaurants in an old bodega
Day 4 Mon
For those returning home, your Travel Leader will be able to help with transfers back to the airport, or for those with more time there is a chance to attend the evocative mass at the cathedral in the morning.
Tour price(excluding flights) £565 per person
For information and reservations, call Songlines Music Travel on 020 8505 2582