June 11, 2010. I recently read that out of 36 countries examined by Manpower Inc. for hiring expectations, only four have a negative employment outlook. Those were (can you guess?) Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain.
This bad news is reflected in the large cuts in the public sector in Spain. June was rife with protests held by civil servants upset over pay cuts to come in July. Times are hard for the Spanish, and one could say that this is no time for a party, no time for a holiday.
Then again, maybe just now, when things are looking grim and the economy is swan diving into the Mediterranean, is precisely the time to celebrate. Why host a pity party, when the sun is shining, the sea is warm, the tomatoes are ripe and summer is here?
I think in many ways, that this attitude is the right one to have. After all, what better cure for the unemployment blues (over 4 million unemployed) than a concert on a cobblestone plaza or a picnic at the free outdoor theater?
For summer 2010, join in the fun at some of these free (or inexpensive) festivals and parties held in Barcelona. Here’s the summer “anti-crisis” scoop:
June 13, 2010 to the first week in August 2010
Dance, theater, music, circus and family fun! Grec is one of the best summertime Barcelona festivals because it has something for everyone. Unlike alternative Primavera Sound, or the post-rave-scene Sonar Festival, Grec is something you could go to with your mom or with the kiddies, or with a group of rowdy friends.
I was surprised not to see as many big-name acts as I have in years past on the Grec roster, but nevertheless it will be good. Musical acts include Toni Zenet, Corrine Bailey Rae, Dee Dee Bridgewater and more.
Theater performances could be daunting unless your Catalan or Spanish is excellent. Consider seeing a dance performance instead: Look for Buto/Ko Murobushi (July 10) and Dunas (July 15).
See the full line-up online. Most performances go for €10 to €40. However, there are also many free events associated with Grec.
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from July 5 to August 8, 2010
Montjuic Castle Gardens
Bus: TMB buses from the Towers on Plaza Espanya
Doors open at 8:30 p.m.
Sala Montjuic is an open-air film festival at the Montjuic Castle. The film selection includes both Spanish and English titles. (See the schedule for exact info.) There’s usually live music before each film screening.
Though the event is popular, it is a bit hard to get to. If you don’t have a car, you will need to take the special bus provided by the city to get up to the top of the mountain (leaving from Plaza Espanya). Despite the fact that 2,000 people can fit at the castle cinema, lines for the bus are long. Being the early bird will get you a place, otherwise, you’ll miss out. Or take a cab up to the show, but this may be expensive.
If you manage to get up to Sala Montjuic, you will be in for a treat. Pack dinner and a blanket to lay over the grass. Tickets to the movie are €5 and a rental chair is €3.
August 3-26, 2010
C/ Montalegre 5
Metro: lines 1, 2 and 3 (Catalunya and Universitat) FGC and RENFE
Tuesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m.-p.m.
In August, pack your picnic basket with wine, a baguette, and a block of Manchego cheese and head over to Gandules 2010, the outdoor alternative cinema held each year at the CCCB.
As of now (June 11, 2010), the movie schedule is not yet up, but I am sure it will be interesting, whatever they decide to show. In years past they have shown music documentaries and documentaries about rural life in Tibet. It is free, so get there early or you will be sitting on the floor.