Nit de Festers – 22nd June

Throughout the town as the fires burn, people stroll around enjoying the atmosphere.

On mainland Spain the feast of Saint John each year is traditionally celebrated with controlled bonfires, in Ciutadella this night is known as Nit des Festers on the 22nd June.

Throughout the town as the fires burn, people stroll around enjoying the atmosphere or sit outside their homes in the streets and plazas with family and friends sharing typical food and small cups of Gin amb llimonada, (gin and lemon) which is the traditional drink of the fiestas.

In certain places it is possible to see groups of people practicing a type of Fandango, a typical Menorquian folk dance conducted in two lines facing each other or circles with castanets.

Music is definitely the focus of the night with different musical groups situated around the fires, or moving around from fire to fire through the streets of the town busking style. Some groups are small and acoustic and others are big and electric. There is folk music, brass band, rock style, operatic quartets and even percussion. It is possible to see them all in one night if you know where to go or just keep wandering around.

One of the more well known musical groups which get together to play especially for this night is the popular, Frus-Frús, a traditional Spanish guitar group of singers that sing classic Menorquian folk songs, who are always surrounded by a very large group of townspeople singing along to accompany them in perfect harmony.

In complete contrast, the old centre of Ciutadella comes alive with the party spirit thanks two other lively musical groups which are hard to miss, the brass band of the Agrupació Musical de Ciutadella, who provide the ambience and music every day of the fiesta, and esclat, a dynamic and energetic synchronised percussion group. Both groups can be heard long before they are seen and have a huge following as they pace the old cobbled streets whilst their rhythms bounce off the coloured walls of the townhouses.

The bars in the old town are also busy as people get into the fiesta spirit sharing many a gin and lemon with friends. The most central area of the old town, Ses Voltes with the Plaça de sa Catedral and Plaça Nova at either end are bustling with activity and music, as are the surrounding streets filled with bars and restaurants too.

At the Plaça de Federico Pareja, and neighbouring bar Calos, there is another concert of local music along with a barbeque and enormous paella, where it is not uncommon to see boys competing against each other to jump over the dying bonfires, watched by onlookers.

It’s an unofficial night of the fiesta which many of the locals have come to take pleasure in as one of their favourite parts of the celebrations, simply because it’s an evening where the people of Ciutadella enjoy the finer details of their town’s culture in song, dance and typical food and drink.

To see the liveliest part of the Nit des Festers, have a look at our video of esclat’s two performances on the steps of the Cathedral.

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