How do you plan to spend Madrid’s long, hot summer nights? Perhaps sitting down with an ice-cold drink at one of the Spanish capital’s lively outdoor sidewalk cafes? That’s certainly a solid plan. But how about a bunch of cool, free music thrown in, too?
Each summer the city of Madrid hosts Veranos de la Villa, a major series of free (and some not so free) concerts and performances in squares and parks throughout the city. This year the festival runs from June 23 to August 28, 2011, with plenty of free concert options to be had.
Free Music Highlights
Madrid’s symphony will play on Sundays at noon in the large gazebo at Retiro Park: June 26, July 3, July 10, July 17, July 24, and July 31. Each performance will be unique, with repertoires that include Spanish pasodobles, a Spanish jota, Swing, an Argentine tango, and even the 007 James Bond theme, so bring a dance partner, a picnic, or even both.
There will be world music outside the Templo de Debod, Madrid’s own ancient Egyptian temple, on July 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22.
The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra will play in the grand Plaza Mayor on August 1. The concert starts at 10 pm but the “doors” open at 7:30 pm. It’s free but on a first-come first-serve basis, so once the space is full, they will start turning people away.
The auditorium in the Conde Duque complex will host free concerts from a variety of performers: June 28, June 29, June 30, July 1, July 2, July 5, July 6, July 7, July 8, July 9, July 12, July 13, July 14, July 15, July 16, July 20, July 21, July 22, and July 23.
Bonus for the Kids
If you have little ones to entertain in Madrid, Veranos de la Villa has some good news: it’s hosting a festival within a festival, the Marionette Festival.
There will be different marionette theater productions staged at Retiro Park every Saturday and Sunday from July 4 to August 29, with two showings each day: the first starting at 8 pm and the second at 10 pm. (Yes, Spanish children, like their parents, go to bed late!) However, there will be no early 8 pm shows on August 6 and 7.
For more information about the Veranos de la Villa festival in Spanish, go to http://www.veranosdelavilla.com. Unlike a lot of other festivals in Madrid, this one doesn’t have an English version, so you could try Google translator if your Spanish isn’t very strong.
[Photo: Peor para el Sol (KATREYUK)]