World-class circus acts land in Catalonia

Almost 100 international artists will perform at the Gold Elephant International Circus Festival in Girona

Two acrobats perform on aerial silks on February 20 2018 for the Girona Circus (by Jordi Altesa)
Two acrobats perform on aerial silks on February 20 2018 for the Girona Circus (by Jordi Altesa) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

February 20, 2018 04:14 PM

The circus is coming to town, and before the end of the month, the spectacular Gold Elephant International Circus Festival will raise its curtain, for the first time ever in the northern town of Girona.  From February 22 to 26, visitors will be entertained by 24 attractions, some never before been seen in Europe, performed in the ring by 88 artists coming from 18 different countries. This includes faraway lands like China, Turkmenistan, Russia, Bielorus, Mongolia, Cuba, Moldova, Argentina, Australia, Vietnam, and even North Korea.

north korea

Indeed, one of the most anticipated performances is that of this aforementioned Asian peninsula. The National Pyongyang Circus will be showcasing three acts, two of which have never left the country. This will add up to another greatly expected event, the astounding stunts performed by the Chinese Jinan Acrobatic Troupe, along with the high-flying De Tru troupe from Vietnam, and the balancing acts, juggling, and aerial silks of Russians of Rosgoscyrk.


‘The Tower of Babel’

With so many artists, clowns, tumblers, contortionists and trapezists performing together under the same big top, it’s not for nothing that the festival director, Genís Matabosch, defined the event as “the tower of Babel,” one which can bring “understanding between the different peoples of the world.”

center ring

Originally held in Figueres, a town even further north by the Catalan French border, this 2018 7th edition of the circus has already sold more than 25,000 of the available 30,884 tickets available. This 2018 event is also special for a variety of reasons, not only is it hosted in Girona for the first time with unprecedented acts from North Korea—this year is also the 250th birthday of circus as we know it.

Six tents worth of fun

By the end of the event, the balancing acts and high-flying acrobatics won’t be the only impressive feats undertaken. One of the biggest obstacles the circus had to overcome, in fact, was obtaining visas for the Turkmen and North Korean participants. But it all worked out in the end, with Matabosch celebrating that on February 20, “the last missing artist arrived.”


Located at the Camp de Mart in Girona, the circus is set up in six tents, occupying almost 4,500 square meters. The budget for this year’s circus totaled to some 500,000 euros, of which 120,000 come from the department of Girona tourism, as well as the town’s government and city hall. The return to local economy is worth it: last year in Figueres, the circus brought back some 1.4 million euros for the town.