Unique, doesn’t even come close to describing the Concurs De Castells festival in Spain. In fact, this event is more of a competition than a festival, thousands of people gather with the aim of building towers together. But not towers made from wood, metal, plastic, or any other kind of material, towers made from people. That’s right, human towers. Exactly like the stunts that cheerleaders perform only with a lot more people and a lot more height.
As a spectator at Concurs De Castells, you are completely captured by the performances, you want to look away in case someone falls but you just can’t stop watching. It’s hard to believe that people are able to stand that much weight and hold their balance for so long. The Human tower building process begins with the largest and strongest people on the bottom facing each other for stability. The tower is constructed by people carefully climbing up and standing on the shoulders of those below.
Right at the very top, you have the youngest and smallest participants, some are only 5 years old. It seems terrifying, doesn’t it? However, there are some safety precautions put in place to protect the people in the tower.
‘A dedicated human net surrounds the tower and spreads out for the entire width of the arena. The top three levels of the tower wear soft helmets but the rest do not.’
Oh, and the floors of the arena are not padded, they are actually really hard. Participating in an event like this makes the contenders fearless.
During the Concurs De Castells, the 32 teams each have a group of musicians that play the Toc De Castells song. Not only is the playing of this song a tradition, it actually enables the tower levels to understand how far into the construction the team is, whilst the 6000 spectators watch anxiously.
Once the smallest team member reaches the top they hold up and present 4 fingers to signify the Catalonian flag. The most difficult part of the process is the deconstruction of the human tower, this is the part when the team’s balance is well and truly tested. On the day of Concurs De Castells, there will be live music, dance performances, local talent, and on some occasions, fireworks to celebrate the completion of the towers. Concurs De Castells is a major tradition in Spain and has been an ongoing event since the late 18th century. A lot of hard work, perseverance, and strength has gotten Concurs De Castells festival to where it is today.
The main Concurs De Castells event is held in Tarragona with a preliminary day in Torredembarra for the non-qualifiers. The closest airport to Tarragona is Barcelona’s El Prat Airport which is 73km away.
Traveling around Torredebarra and Tarragona is fairly easy as there are regular public transport services, several transfer companies, and a train station.
As this is a highly popular event in Spain, you will need to purchase tickets in order to watch the show. Tickets are expected to go on sale during the end of July 2018. The next Concurs De Castells festival will take place on Saturday the 5th and Sunday the 6th of October 2019. Every second year is when the championships are held.
This is always on even-numbered years which means 2018 is a championship year. The Castellers still perform on odd-numbered years, however, this may occur at different festivals and venues.
The charming city of Tarragona in Catalonia, Spain, offers a large selection of affordable accommodation. As it is situated on the coast there are beautiful hotels with sea-view rooms and plenty of self-catered apartments dotted around the city. Most of the hotels in Tarragona are 3 and 4star hotels and have very high standards. Accommodation prices range from $30 per night in Tarragona although prices may rise during the time of Concurs De Castells.
Head to the map below for all the Airbnb’s and hotels in the area.
Being on the coast, Tarragona provides many water sports activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving, along with water sports equipment hire and boat trips. A short distance from the beach lies the ancient Amfiteatre Roma. This spectacularly preserved amphitheatre even has the ruins of a 6th century church.
More ruins in Tarragona include that of Pretori i Circ Romans, which was once was the spot for chariot racing. For entertainment, Torredembara has its own escape room challenge where you can try and solve the clues to move through the course. Throughout both Torredembara and Tarragona, there are many characteristic bars and restaurants, some of which, provide live local music.
Tarragona and surrounding areas are riddled with historical sights and landmarks just waiting to be explored. Go-karting, beach days, and a jug of sangria, what more could you possibly want?
Book your stay nearby Concurs de Castells 2019 from the map, displaying all the available Airbnbs and hotels nearby, at the lowest prices.
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