Sunday, 15 May 2011

Planeta Madrid 2011 - by Theo

One of our favourite events of San Isidro celebrations past has been the Planeta Madrid Concert. Previously this free world music event has been held in a bare, muddy lot in Legazpi, but this year it was thankfully moved to Parque Enrique Tierno Galvin near Mendez Alvaro, where we first lived when we came to Madrid.

It's a gorgeous shady park, with a purpose-built amphitheatre offering great sight-lines and acoustics; the only question was why they didn't hold the concert there the previous two years!

Another welcome change, for us at least, was the 12pm start time (the finish stayed the same - midnight). Great for us, as it meant we could get there after Rosie's first nap, have a picnic and stay for a good four hours or so, rather than the 45 minutes we managed last year! Not so great for the performers though, as most Spaniards just haven't got the hang of early starts and many would still be in bed at that hour. There were barely a hundred people there when the first act, Kucha Mala, a lively Spanish-Russian collaboration got under way and numbers didn't swell much during the afternoon, with the audience mostly restricted to fitness fanatics out for a run or families with young children (and thus no chance of a lie-in!) Crazy really, but there is a sad apathy among Madrileños for local events (one of my Madrid-born-and-raised friends didn't believe me when I told him there was a carnival in Madrid), although it might also be to do with the fact that the park is possibly one of Madrid's best kept secrets, being hard to access due to railway lines on two sides and being in a relatively new barrio.

Still, we managed to persuade a couple of Madrileños to join us. Belen and Cesar and their five year old nephew Hugo made it at the positively early hour of 1.30, bearing tortilla and cheese, and just in time for Toom Pak, a sort of Spanish version of stomp with added flames and angle-grinders, who managed to get what little crowd there was involved.
video
Any hopes the organisers might have had of the event picking up later in the day and attracting the numbers it had in previous years were truly scotched by the weather. The cloudless blue skies that greeted us as we left our house gave way to impressive anvil clouds that bubbled up from the sierra to the north. In the end, even Cesar's positive thinking couldn't keep away the thunderstorm the weather forecast had predicted, and we made it to the car just as a vicious wind heralded the first drops of rain. Not such a shame for us, as by then it was 4pm and we would have had to go within the hour in any case, but such as shame for the show. Hopefully Madrileños will start waking up, literally and take advantage of the amazing events on their doorstep.

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