Barcelona's Circuit gay and lesbian festival to exceed last year's 71,000 participants
From the 6th-17th August, Barcelona hosts the 7th edition of Circuit Festival, an international event directed towards gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual people. The aim of this edition is to promote the festival as an "international meeting point", since 80% of last year's 71,000 participants came from abroad. Furthermore, Barcelona will profit from the €100 million that Circuit attendees bring to the local economy. The organisers of the festival have prepared more than 50 events for its audiences to enjoy. The main party will take place on Tuesday 12th August at the Illa Fantasia waterpark in Vilassar de Dalt, a town around 20km north of Barcelona city.Both the event's organisers and local hotel owners expect even more attendees at the festival this year.
Barcelona (ACN.)- From the 6th-17th August, Barcelona opens its doors to the 7th edition of Circuit Festival, an international event directed towards gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual people. The aim of this edition is to promote the festival as an "international meeting point", since 80% of last year's 71,000 participants came from abroad. Furthermore, Barcelona will profit from the €100 million that Circuit attendees bring to the local economy. The organisers of the festival have prepared more than 50 events for its audiences to enjoy, split into two parallel programmes which are directed towards gay and lesbian audiences. This year the festival will feature a boat cruise for the first time, which involves 2,500 gay North American tourists. They will also attend the main event of the festival which takes place on Tuesday 12th August at the Illa Fantasia waterpark in Vilassar de Dalt, a town around 20km north of Barcelona city. Both the event's organisers and local hotel owners expect even more attendees at the festival this year. In fact, Barcelona's Circuit Festival is one of the world's main LGBT events in terms of the total number of participants, besides the main Pride parades.
Teseo Cuadreny, Spokesperson for the organisation, explained that the 7th edition of the Circuit Festival will return to the Catalan capital and can be seen as a meeting point for gay and lesbian people from around the world. He commented that the event had come a long way since its first edition seven years ago, when there was only had 15,000 attendees.
Cuadreny stated that the goal of the festival's organisers is to construct an international "reference model", designed not only to encourage participation in a series of events targeted towards this specific audience, but also to establish the festival's name as a recognisable brand and to create an international meeting point for holidaymakers, complete with leisure and entertainment activities. Judging by the successes of past editions, this is something the festival has already achieved to a large extent.
The Spokesperson does not believe that the economic recovery will have a significant effect on the number of participants that will attend the festival this year. This is mainly due to the fact that 80% of the event's participants come from abroad, particularly from countries outside the influence of the Eurozone, and therefore Spain's economic situation would not be an especially important factor in their decision to attend.
Attendees from countries persecuting LGBT people can be "themselves for once a year"
In fact, he mentioned that the nationality of the attendees is a "surprise" each year. In addition to the North American audience, which is one of the most numerous, in this edition of the festival there are many visitors from Australia, the Arab countries, Israel, Russia and South-East Asia, most of which are from countries which are not in economic crisis but rather have experienced an economic boom over the past few years.
Cuadreny explained that Barcelona is "the perfect setting" for the event, not only because of the "fantastic beaches, sun, food, culture and architecture, but above all for the tolerance and diversity" displayed by the city's citizens and institutions. The Spokesperson pointed out that many of the gay men and lesbians that participate in the festival come from the 80 countries in the world where you can be persecuted for your sexual preference, and therefore they come to Barcelona for "the unique opportunity to just be themselves for once a year".
The festival's Spokesperson explained that in many cases the visitors have expressed their "surprise" towards the tolerance displayed by the city, whose City Council not only lets the gay community celebrate this event in Barcelona's streets, but also lets them display posters which publicise it, "something that would not be so welcome in most of the countries of the world", added Cuadreny.
50 separate events spread throughout the 11-day festival
The Circuit Festival has organised 50 separate events that will take place during both the day and the night. This year, a new feature will take place on the 12th of August in the form of a cruise with 2,500 gay tourists from North-America, bought to Barcelona by the gay and lesbian speciality vacation company, Atlantis Cruise. These North Americans will also attend the main event of the festival, the 'Water Park Day', which will be celebrated at the Illa Fantastia Waterpark in Vilassar de Dalt, a town in Greater Barcelona.
The festival's fifty events are divided amongst the two parallel programmes which the festival runs; one for gay audiences and one for lesbian audiences. The gay programme will run from the 6th to the 17th of August in various locations in Barcelona, whilst participants can enjoy the lesbian-centred events between the 12th and the 17th of August, which lie under the name 'The Girlie Circuit Festival'.
€100 million of economic impact for the local economy
Adrian Muñoz, Head of Public Relations at Hotel Axel in Barcelona, explained that for the hotel business in Barcelona, and especially for those establishments which specifically cater for gay and lesbian tourists, these two weeks of the year are not only the best for achieving full occupancy, but also for the level of consumption that takes place from these clients with "high purchasing power".
The typical profile of a tourist attending the festival is a middle class homosexual man between 25 and 45 years old with a liberal profession and high purchasing power. Estimates suggest that the gay and lesbians tourists who attend the festival typically spend 8 days in Barcelona and spend an average of €250 per day, taking into account expenditures such as accommodation, food and drink and shopping. The overall economic impact of this consumption on Barcelona and its metropolitan area totals at over €100 million.
The Spokesperson for the Axel Hotel predicts that this year there will be an even greater number of people participating in the Circuit Festival, seen as it is the first year that the festival has coincided with Spain's economic recovery. In fact, Muñoz is already observing an increase in reservations made by tourists from the rest of Spain, something that has not tended to happen during previous editions of the festival.
The international consolidation Circuit Festival Barcelona as a brand, in addition to the new participants from the rest of Spain which now have the possibility to attend thanks to the economic recovery, means the estimations of attendance to this festival are optimistic and both Muñoz and Cuadreny expect that there will be even more attendees at this edition than last year.