Mediterranean fair, focusing on folk and ethnic music, to attract 100,000 people in Manresa

The 17th Mediterranean Trade Fair, specialised in folk and world music, will take place from Thursday to Sunday, expected to attract 100,000 people to the city of Manresa, in central Catalonia. The most international fair of its history, it will feature over 300 art activities, host 107 companies and show 35 exhibitions. Highlights of the programme include the popular Portuguese singer Dulce Pontes and the musical duo Toumani Diabaté -the world famous African harpist-and his son Sidiki. Pluralism and the question of "what is popular culture today" will be the defining themes of this year’s event, which will host over 1,000 professionals, including 30 speakers and 180 cultural projects. The Fair will also be a tribute to the late musician Peret, the ‘father’ of Catalan rumba who sadly passed away in August.

Kiko Veneno at last year's Mediterranean Fair of Manresa (by ACN)
Kiko Veneno at last year's Mediterranean Fair of Manresa (by ACN) / ACN / Nell English

ACN / Nell English

October 9, 2014 08:43 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- Between the 9th and the 12th of October, around 100,000 people are expected to flock to the city of Manresa, in central Catalonia, as it hosts the 17th Mediterranean Trade Fair, specialised in folk and world music. An interdisciplinary cultural event, the programme will have something for everyone, from the visual arts, to music, dance and theatre, with a wide programme of 300 art activities, 107 companies and 35 exhibitions. This year’s Fair, which is anticipated to be the most international in its history, will have two main themes: world music and popular culture. Highlights of the programme include the renowned Portuguese singer Dulce Pontes and the musical duo of the world famous Malian harpist Toumani Diabaté and his son Sidiki. The Fair, which aims to promote cultural and business exchanges in an innovative way, as well as build a platform for Catalan artists and culture to new audiences, will have a budget of one million euros. In honour of the late musician Peret, the so-called ‘father’ of Catalan rumba, the Fair will dedicate the opening show to his name as a tribute.

Manresa: Catalonia’s cultural headquarters for a few days

Between the 9th and 12th of October, the city of Manresa, less than one hour drive from Barcelona, will be hosting its 17th International Trade Fair. A forum of interdisciplinary arts, inspired by the cultures of Catalonia and the Mediterranean region, which focuses on music but includes a varied programme featuring everything from performing and visual arts, circus and street arts and community projects. During the 4 days, there will be over 300 art activities, with 107 companies performing and 35 new exhibitions. This year’s duo theme will be World Music, with a special emphasis on the Mediterranean region, and exploring the question of "What is popular music?". Highlights include the popular Portuguese singer Dulce Pontes and Malian father and son duo Toumani Diabaté and Sidiki. According to the director of the event, David Ibáñez, it will be the most international programme to date, but he also emphasised the pluralistic character of the fair, which will focus on everyone from Ponte to community citizens participating in local projects, "it is a fair for everyone".

"What is popular culture?"

Manresa’s Mediterranean Fair will explore this question through a wide range of art forms, featuring everything from world famous musicians to interactive workshops such as building ‘castellers’ (the Catalan traditional human towers) to video games and community projects. Ibáñez told the ACN that the Mediterranean, itself a living project, has expanded what we consider popular today. To mark this, this year’s Fair will have a renewed vision, with a "wide range on offer".

A forum for creativity and business

The Fair aims to promote artistic and business exchanges, through a forum where performers, volunteers associations and producers can meet to discuss new opportunities in the international field. This year, over 1,000 professions are expected to attend, attracted by the programme of 30 speakers presenting 25 cultural projects, and 180 organised meetings. Moreover, Director Ibáñez emphasised that the Fair’s location in the Mediterranean makes it "very well positioned" in the world music and performing arts markets.

In memory of Peret

The 17th Trade Fair was to feature Pere Pubill i Calaf, better known as Peret, who died aged 79 on the 27th of August. Considered the father of Catalan Rumba, the organisers have decided to dedicate the Fair to the memory of this great artist. He was to host the opening show, which will now be Troba Kung-Fú, a show where over 30 musicians will join in a fusion show to explore the essence of the Mediterranean, and which was performed to great acclaim at its release in the Grec Festival of Barcelona last year.  

As tribute to the much-loved Peret, the opening show will also feature an excerpt from the show he was working on with the elderly and children of a local neighbourhood in Manresa. Also in his honour, performances will open with a fragment from his popular song, "El mig amic" (the Half Friend).

One million euro budget

The 2014 edition of the Fair will have a budget of approximately one million euros, thanks to contributions from the Catalan Ministry of Culture, Manresa City Council and the Barcelona Provincial council.