International Festival of Ortigueira

It celebrates: From 9th July to 16th July
Place: Ortigueira (Coruña)
Category: Folklore
Popularity: (****) 4/5
Organize: The organizing committee of the Ortigueira Festival.
Known start date: Since 1978.
Figure of protection: International Tourist Interest Festival (2005) and National Tourist Interest Festival (2003).
Tags:
ConcertsDanceFestivalsInternational Tourist InterestNational Tourist InterestPopular musicWorkshops
Reading time: 7 minutes

What is the Ortigueira Festival?

Also known as the International Celtic World Festival of Ortigueira, it is an annual music and cultural event held in the town of Ortigueira, in the province of La Coruña. It is one of the most important and recognized festivals in its genre worldwide.

It was recognized as a National Tourist Interest Festival in 2003. Its reputation and prestige have further expanded, obtaining recognition as an International Tourist Interest Festival in 2005.

The festival focuses on Celtic music and brings together artists and groups from different countries who perform traditional Celtic music, as well as contemporary styles with Celtic influences. The event features concerts, live performances, workshops, exhibitions, and other activities related to Celtic culture.

The Ortigueira Festival takes place over several days in July and attracts a large number of attendees, both national and international. Each year, thousands of people gather in Ortigueira to enjoy the music, dance, and Celtic culture in a festive and lively environment.

In addition to the main program, the festival also includes a camping area for attendees to stay during the event. The festive atmosphere, the natural beauty of the region, and the passion for Celtic music make the Ortigueira Festival a unique and very special experience.

Curiosities of the Ortigueira Festival

Historical Background

Since its modest beginnings in 1978 as a local event to promote Galician music and culture, it has evolved into one of the most prominent festivals in the world of Celtic music.

Main Stage

The festival's main stage, located in the port with the majestic Cantabrian Sea as a backdrop, creates a unique and magical atmosphere for the concerts and performances.

Highlighted Concerts

Each edition of the festival presents an eclectic selection of internationally renowned Celtic artists and groups. From legendary acts like The Chieftains and Loreena McKennitt to bagpipe virtuosos like Carlos Núñez, the festival attracts some of the most prominent musicians in the Celtic world. In addition to the main concerts, performances also take place in other venues, such as the Plaza de la Iglesia and the Carpa del Puerto, offering more intimate and close-up experiences.

Magical Nights

The festival nights are truly magical. The festive and energetic atmosphere continues until the early hours of the morning, with concerts filling the air with infectious Celtic melodies and vibrant rhythms. Attendees immerse themselves in the music and dance, creating an atmosphere of celebration.

Additional Spaces

The Ortigueira Festival goes beyond concerts, offering a variety of complementary activities and events. Visitors can participate in Celtic music and dance workshops, enjoy art and craft exhibitions, and witness performances by traditional Galician music and dance groups. These activities promote interaction between attendees and the local community, enriching the cultural experience of the festival.

The Path of the Stars

As part of the program, a night walk known as the "Path of the Stars" is organized. Participants walk along a trail to reach a viewpoint where they can admire the beauty of the illuminated festival and enjoy an impressive panorama of stars in the Galician sky.

Interaction with the Local Community

The Ortigueira Festival goes beyond music; it is a celebration of Celtic culture and a meeting point for artists and enthusiasts of this genre. Each edition offers a unique and enriching experience, blending the magic of the surroundings with the passion and talent of the participating musicians and artists. It is a festival that leaves a lasting impression on the hearts of those who have the opportunity to experience it.

Each edition offers a unique and enriching experience for lovers of Celtic music and Galician culture.

Origin and History

The Festival de Ortigueira has its roots in the 1970s when a group of young people from the Galician town of Ortigueira started organizing gatherings of traditional Galician music. These informal gatherings were known as "A Romaxe."

In 1978, the event evolved and transformed into the Festival de Ortigueira, with the aim of promoting Galician music and culture, particularly Celtic music. Since then, the festival has grown in popularity and attracted nationally and internationally renowned artists.

Over the years, the Festival de Ortigueira has become an important stage for Celtic music, hosting artists and groups from around the world and fostering the diffusion and exchange of Celtic music across different cultures.

The festival has established itself as one of the most prominent events in its genre, attracting thousands of attendees each year from Spain and other countries. The combination of the beautiful surroundings, with the port of Ortigueira and the Cantabrian Sea as a backdrop, and the passion for Celtic music has made the Festival de Ortigueira an essential event for lovers of this musical genre.

Throughout its history, the festival has aimed not only to promote music but also to highlight other aspects of Celtic culture, such as dance, craftsmanship, and gastronomic traditions. The goal has been to offer a complete and enriching experience that immerses attendees in Celtic culture in an authentic and vibrant way.

What to See in Ortigueira

In addition to enjoying the Festival de Ortigueira, there are several attractions and interesting places to visit in the area. Here are some recommendations:

  • Port of Ortigueira: The port is the heart of the town and a picturesque place for a stroll. You can enjoy views of the sea, fishing boats, and the maritime atmosphere.
  • Morouzos Beach: This beach is located near Ortigueira and is a peaceful and beautiful place to relax. Its waters are clean, and the natural landscapes are impressive.
  • Punta da Estaca de Bares Lighthouse: Located on a peninsula near Ortigueira, this lighthouse is the northernmost point of the Iberian Peninsula and offers spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and the cliffs.
  • A Miranda Viewpoint: This viewpoint provides a panoramic view of Ortigueira and its surroundings. It's a perfect spot to enjoy a breathtaking sunset.
  • San Xiao de Morás Church: This 12th-century Romanesque church is an important example of religious architecture in the area. Its location in a rural setting and its traditional design make it particularly interesting.
  • Estaca de Bares Hiking Route: If you enjoy nature and hiking, you can explore the Estaca de Bares route. This hike takes you through stunning landscapes and allows you to discover the natural richness of the area.
  • Cetacean Interpretation Center: If you're interested in marine life, you can visit this center to learn about the cetacean species that inhabit the waters of the area and the importance of their conservation.

These are just some of the places you can visit in Ortigueira and its surroundings. The region also offers beautiful natural landscapes, hiking trails, and a rich traditional culture. Exploring the area will allow you to immerse yourself in the authenticity of Galicia and enjoy its unique beauty.

What to Eat in Ortigueira

Being located in the region of Galicia, Ortigueira offers delicious cuisine based on fresh seafood and local produce. Here are some culinary specialties you can try in Ortigueira:

  • Galician Seafood: Some typical seafood from Ortigueira and how they are usually prepared in the region: Barnacles: These crustaceans are simply boiled and served as is, highlighting their naturally salty flavor. Razor Clams: Razor clams are often grilled with a touch of garlic and parsley, enhancing their characteristic taste. Mussels: Galician mussels are cooked in various ways, commonly steamed, a la marinera (with tomato, onion, and white wine), or in empanada. Langoustines and Lobsters: These crustaceans are prepared in various ways, such as grilled, baked, or in stews and rice dishes, emphasizing their tender and juicy meat. Spider Crab and Velvet Crab: They are usually boiled and served cold, accompanied by traditional sauces like mayonnaise or vinaigrette. Oysters: Although less common, Galician oysters can be consumed raw or with a splash of lemon, highlighting their fresh and delicate flavor. Cockles: These small mollusks are steamed or pan-cooked and served with garlic, parsley, and lemon. Scallops: These smaller scallops are grilled or baked and are often served with a garlic and parsley sauce.
  • Pulpo a la Gallega: Octopus a la Gallega is one of the most iconic dishes in the region. It consists of tender boiled octopus, sliced and dressed with olive oil, salt, and paprika. It's a delight that you shouldn't miss.
  • Galician Empanada: The empanada is another classic dish in Galician cuisine. It's a pastry filled with various ingredients such as meat, seafood, vegetables, or octopus, baked to perfection and creating a delicious combination of flavors.
  • Lacón con Grelos: This typical Galician dish consists of lacón (salted and cured ham) accompanied by grelos, a vegetable similar to turnip greens. It's a comforting and flavorful dish, ideal to enjoy during the colder months.
  • Galician Cheese: Galicia is known for its excellent cheeses. You can try different varieties of Galician cheese, such as Tetilla cheese or San Simón cheese, which are characterized by their unique and distinctive flavors.
  • Tarta de Santiago: For dessert lovers, Tarta de Santiago is a must-try. This almond tart has a smooth texture and a sweet flavor. It's usually decorated with the iconic cross of Santiago in powdered sugar.

In addition to these specialties, you can enjoy other Galician dishes such as Galician broth (a soup with vegetables and meat), Padrón peppers (fried peppers with salt), and Galician wines such as Albariño.

In Ortigueira, you'll find restaurants and bars where you can taste these culinary delights and immerse yourself in the local gastronomy.

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The Dance of the Stilts

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The Dance of the Stilts, is a popular traditional festival, which is celebrated in the town of Anguiano in La Rioja, Spain and which has been declared as an Intangible Cultural Property.

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El Ajo Rojo de Falces has its own festival in July, with tastings, a craft market and brass bands, historical visits and many activities for all audiences.

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