The festival’s history, as told by its protagonists:
An unmissable summer spectacle and a major event on the world’s folk music scene, Ortigueira has rightly become one of Spain’s most popular music festivals. The size and scope of the event now extend beyond the realm of music, and it is consolidated as a free space attracting people from all kinds of tribes that flock here from far and wide.
Apart from its free spirit and essentially folk character, little remains of the first edition of the artisanal festival that was held in 1978, the result of the hard work and dedication of the Ortigueira Pipe School, which at the time was directed by Xavier Garrote. A visionary idea whose success is due to the help of the entire town and despite the lack of official support, which led to its suspension for more than five years.
In the year 2000, the foundations were laid for what today has become an authentic cultural industry, and the Festival broadened its musical horizons, embracing alternative types of music in addition to Celtic artists.
In recent editions, efforts have centred mainly on improving the service infrastructures, such as free bus services, secure parking, showers, toilets and information points, etc., to guarantee a comfortable experience for the thousands of visitors that pack the town and Morouzos beach, whilst also ensuring a first class music programme. Leading folk artists choose Ortigueira to debut their latest works – on the Estrella Galicia stage – but the event also provides a springboard for new talent: the Runas stage.
In 2003, due to its growth and impact, the Festival, which is organised by Ortigueira Town Council, was declared a Festival of National Tourist Interest by Spain’s Ministry of Economy. Yet further accolades would follow. In 2005, the festival joined the select group of events considered to be of International Tourist Interest. The popularity of the Festival, which in recent editions has attracted around 100,000 people – together with its contribution to the promotion of Galicia and Spain abroad, are just two of the factors that have earned it this distinction. What more could we ask for?