Zaragoza opens its arms to the world
Like no other event, this October festival showcases the open and welcoming nature of Zaragoza’s people. It is a time to enjoy street life at all hours of the day or night and popular culture
This site provides information about everything going on in Zaragoza during the festival, from the calendar to last-minute updates
Tradition, avant-garde, music, theatre and street entertainment come together
In Zaragoza, the opening days of the month of October are synonymous with this festival. For nine days around the 12th of October, the feast day of Our Lady of the Pillar, Zaragoza natives and visitors take to the streets to enjoy one of the most packed and varied programmes of activities (most of them free) of the entire year. Outdoor concerts, both large and small, folk and rock, art exhibitions and street processions, theatre, cinema, something for all ages.
It is an open, universal celebration to which everyone is invited and which requires no instruction manual.
The activities are concentrated in the city centre, with the historic district, the area around Plaza del Pilar, the Ebro River and Paseo de la Independencia as the axes. But they also extend to every neighbourhood of the Aragonese capital.
Music is the focal point around which the festive environment revolves. The city’s squares are filled with performances, many of them reflecting a calendar that extends throughout the entire year: jazz, flamenco, purely Aragonese sounds, rap, rock, pop and more. There are also large festival venues in the outskirts, designed to allow the celebrations to continue long into the night.
On the 12th, the feast of Our Lady of the Pillar, a river of flowers floods the streets, with thousands upon thousands of people taking part in the best-known and most universal element of the festival: the Offering.
Day and night without rest
Concerts, theatre, folklore, children’s activities
The only problem visitors to Zaragoza will encounter during the Festival of El Pilar is figuring out what to choose from the vast programme of activities. During the Festival of El Pilar, the Aragonese capital makes every effort to put its best face forward, providing a showcase for the cultural offerings of the entire year.
In this regard, music has a fundamental advantage. The idea is to provide something for every taste, from the hardest partiers to those seeking an oasis in the midst of the hubbub. The city’s squares, both those with a huge capacity and the most intimate, are the main stage for offerings that range from pop to alt rock, from jazz to folk (with the jota in a starring role, of course). Nor does the city overlook classical programming or the big hits of each season, capable of filling enormous venues.
Theatres around the city join in the festivities, while the streets provide another stage for performance lovers. Zaragoza is well known for the quality of its street entertainment, and the Off de Calle Competition recognizes the best each year.
Girls and boys
And how could we forget the little ones? An entire park on the banks of the Ebro is their fiefdom during the celebrations. A small theme park created by children’s theatre experts is a big success year after year, not to mention the local idols: the cabezudos (giant-headed papier-mâché figures) and Tragachicos (a giant slide). There are also puppet shows in Labordeta Park.