San Juan Almunecar 2011

San Juan is a youngsters’ festival – if you’re in your late teens or early twenties, going to the beach is a must on the night of San Juan. But it’s not exclusively theirs, because it is also a night for whole families. Childhood memories are always full of this magic night of towering bonfires and partying. Admittedly, parents of kids up to around eight will probably go home soon after the main bonfire is lit at midnight, rather than spending the night camped out, but the rest stay, to witness dawn before finally crashing out.

If you’re with you’re friends, the key is to drink, eat and stay awake – anybody found sleeping before dawn gets thrown into the sea!

Back in the time when young girls had to be home by 10pm or 10.30, San Juan offered a unique opportunity to party well past midnight, away from vigilant parents, either because they were home sleeping, or manning the family tent on the other side of a packed beach.

Any lad that could strum a few cords on a guitar was a god, although the chances of hearing an acoustic guitar without sitting close to it, was slim – it was also the reason why the guitarist always scored! Fellow band member, José Montalvo, owes his younger years’ ‘score card’ to Lionel Richie ballads and a predatory acoustic guitar…

Of course, not everybody lives or spends their holidays on the coast, so San Juan is celebrated all over the country; anywhere where their is somewhere to bathe, as tradition has it that he who washes his/her face at midnight on the night of San Juan will be blessed with good looks throughout the year. It is, despite its name, a pagan festival that celebrates the shortest night of the year and similar traditions take place all over Europe to mark the Summer Solstice.

In Almunecar, over the last decade, things went astray a little with San Juan becoming a 3 or 4-day camp out in a Bedouin-city like affair, complete with discotheques – it pretty much destroyed the magic of it, but the Town Hall cracked down and put it back to being a single night camp out. The throbbing electronic music still prevails, though, much to the chagrin of the hopeful acoustic guitarists – times change.

(News: Almunecar, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)

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