Fiestas galore on Mallorca … except in the countryside

Fiesta bunting

Bunting time!

Living in the open countryside, we are in a fiesta-free zone. But in villages and towns all around Mallorca, July and August are the months to deck the streets with fluttery bunting, get out the stacks of ubiquitous white plastic chairs, and party hard. The locals either join in or get out of town (or the village) for the duration. We can choose which ones we want to attend.

The main components of these fiestas are usually music (local bands or DJs), food (anything from giant ensaïmadas and enormous paellas, to tapas or street food, served from vintage food trucks), and drink.

Party time in Sant Llorenç

On Friday night we attended a fiesta in the small town of Sant Llorenç, combining all three: the Sant Llorenç Boscana Craft Beer and Swing Festival. It was held in the square by the distinctive town hall building, one side of which was lined with stalls  offering around 20 different beers (no, we didn’t try them all).

Boscana Cervesa Evolutiva

Beer, anyone?

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This was only the second edition of this particular festival. Apparently some lessons were learnt after last year’s inaugural event. One, was to bring in a refrigerated truck to keep the beer cold. The second was to provide some food to soak up the alcohol. On the opposite side of the square some local eateries and a bakery had set up stalls selling a few snacks, and someone known as Kitchen Guerilla was rustling up some sausages on a BBQ.

Strike up the band

Five swing bands were on the billing and an enormous professional-looking stage was set for the live music. Until the first band – Long Time No Swing – came on stage, we were treated to a performance by a strolling local pipe-and-drum group (xeremiers) and then a local batucada band.

Traditional Mallorcan music

Traditional Mallorcan music

The latter is a popular (and incredibly noisy) feature of many local fiestas. The drummers process through the streets followed by crowds of people – a bit like the Piper of Hamelin, but thankfully without the rats.

Eventually the stage came alive with the music of the first of five bands scheduled to play. We stayed to see Long Time No Swing and Monkey Doo – both terrific. When we left for home (around midnight), there were still three bands due to perform. Nessun dorma in Sant Llorenç that night!

Long Time No Swing

Long Time No Swing

Swing band Long Time No Swing

Long Time No Swing

Monkey Doo

Monkey Doo

Monkey Doo

Monkey Doo

Lindy Hoppers are Sant Llorenç

What most impressed us about this night was the dancing. Dozens of couples took to the centre of the square to dance the Lindy Hop, and they seemed to know what they were doing. Unlike most dancing, this one seems to be done in sneakers – so no twisted ankles due to perilous platforms or soaring stilettos. What struck us – apart from the ability of so many locals actually to do the Lindy Hop – was the joyful nature of this dance. We couldn’t stop smiling as we watched.

Lindy Hoppers

… and Lindy Hop

At some point we spoke to a girl who was taking a break from the energetic dance and she told us there’s a popular Lindy Hop class run in the town in the cooler months. Ah, that would explain it. This time next year, The Boss and I could be Lindy Hopping ourselves. Just need to persuade him. And buy some sneakers.

And so to bed …

Unlike the good citizens of Sant Llorenç, we were able to leave the noise behind and go home for a peaceful night’s sleep. That’s country living on Mallorca for you …

By the way, if you love Lindy Hop, the Mallorca Lindy Festival takes place in Inca, at Fàbrica Ramis, from October 7th-9th.

If you’re thinking about a visit to Mallorca next August, keep an eye on the Boscana Cervesa Evolutiva Facebook page for the dates of the 2017 festival.

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Fire in our Mallorca valley

Mallorca wild fire

The valley burns …

Mallorca needs rain. Not what a holidaymaker to the island wants to hear, but residents know that the land and reservoirs are desperate for the stuff. It’s very hot here too, and that doesn’t help the situation.

Add strong winds to the mix – such as those we’ve had over the past few days – and danger may not be far behind. As we sat drinking a late-morning coffee on the back terrace on Friday, The Boss spotted smoke in the valley … and it wasn’t from an early BBQ lunch.

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Spot the helicopters …

Bonfires are banned in summer

Bonfires are not allowed during the hot dry summer months and the wind had whipped up the smoke to such an extent that this was clearly a wild fire. I rang the emergency services to report the sighting – and was not the first to do so. We country dwellers waste no time when it comes to spotting smoke or flames where smoke or flames shouldn’t be …

Firefighting kit in action 

This fire was a lot further away than the last one we experienced (a little too closely), but it was still frightening because of the speed at which it was travelling, fanned by fierce gusts of wind.

Four helicopters, four planes, 10 fire engines, and around 50 firefighters were soon on scene, working for several hours to get the fire under control and, eventually, fully extinguished. The sea is not far away from us as the crow (or helicopter) flies, and we watched the helicopters making frequent sorties towards the coast, where they would scoop up water in the enormous buckets they carry and return to release the load over the site of the fire.

Dousing the flames

The helicopter that attended the previous fire we experienced

It was a dangerous and difficult afternoon for these brave people who put their lives at risk every time there’s a wild fire. And ours was only one of EIGHT that burned on Mallorca on Friday …