Spain's economic crisis hits summer festivals: report
Spain's economic crisis has forced authorities to cut back on traditional summer festivals, employing disc jockeys instead of live performers and cancelling fireworks displays, a news report said Sunday.
"We've noticed a big slowdown. In the last two summers, the budgets for major festivals has fallen an average of 40 percent," Albert Mas, the vice president of a festival promotor in the northeastern region of Cataluna, told the Catalan newspaper El Periodico.
"And what is worse, the outlook for next year is not good, because municipalities are banned from going into debt."
El Periodico said more than 300 towns in Cataluna are holding major festivals, or fiestas, which attract thousands of tourists and normally include musical performances, dancing and parades.
But austerity measures mean some have canceled fireworks displays and concerts or are using disc jockeys instead of live performers and are being forced to renegotiate contracts to lower costs.
"We have dispensed with the traditional fireworks finale and we have cut festival musical performances, with a programme in which there is a bit of everything for everybody," said the mayor of the Catalan town of Castello d'Empuries.
But he said residents not only understand the new austerity measures but "are the first to ask us to save."
In June, Spain's powerful regional governments agreed to tighter deficit limits for the next three years as part of tough austerity measures approved by the Socialist government to rein in the country's massive public deficit.
The Spanish economy, Europe's fifth largest, fell into its worst recession in decades at the end of 2008 due to the collapse of a property boom which had long fuelled growth.
Spain inched out of recession during the first quarter when the economy expanded by 0.1 percent from the previous quarter.
© 2010 AFP