Fiesta del Agua, Vilagarcia

Fiesta del Agua, Sailing, Spain, Vilagarcia

Strange things occurring outside a small church.

Somewhere on the way, we noticed that Vilagarcia had a rather fun sounding festival, the Fiesta de Agua (Water Festival). This originated one year when a bunch of religious folk decided to carry a saintly statue from one church to another, a remarkably silly thing to do in August in Spain. The statue was heavy and the sun strong and on the way back they were moaning loudly for water in the streets until eventually an annoyed resident poured a glass of water on them from their balcony. Neighbours soon followed suit. Now in England this sort of thing would surely incite a riot, but not so in Spain. Instead of rioting, they made it into an annual festival in which lots of water is splashed around to shouts of "Agua! Agua!".

Decorations heralding the coming festival.

We arrived in Vilagarcia the day before the festival and noticed some rides and an enormous soundstage being assembled on shore. What we didn't realize was that the day before the Fiesta de Agua there was to be a huge music festival with thousands of teenagers, food stalls, rides, and multiple soundstages taking over the entire town. The largest of these was thoughtfully assembled on the seafront, facing out to sea to keep the worst of the noise from the town. Of course that meant it was facing right at the boats in the marina. We saw at least one cruising boat flee in terror when the soundcheck started, and one couple left their boat with stiff upper lip and some bags, presumably to book into a hotel somewhere on the edge of town. I'm not sure if this helped them get some sleep though.

How to traumatize your kids.

Sleep on the boat would've been impossible even if we'd poured liquid epoxy into our ears. You see, the bulkheads were vibrating with the music. So we decided to join them instead, although we did feel a bit old in the crowd of horny teenagers, some of which must've surely fallen eternally in love and then broken up three or more times that very night. We've had some snacks from the streetfood vendors (only the churros were any good) and a few drinks.

"Spanish party, eh?"
You can observe the progress of an outdoor festival by the decay of hygiene habits as time progresses. At first, people were queuing for the toilets, which was soon abandoned in favour of peeing behind bushes and in dark street corners. As we tried to escape the noise to the beach (a failed attempt - the beach had a hiphop soundstage), some guy just stopped walking in front of us, whipped it out and did his business right where he stood. This was only topped by having to wade through a giant puddle of urine on the way back, as the previously quiet path had turned into an outdoor toilet with people standing or squatting everywhere. Returning to the marina wasn't easy either - the entrance had turned into a bar, complete with beer taps and barkeep. Gesticulating and showing him our keycard had no effect, but eventually a guy approached from behind the bar, waved at us and shoved some of the bar out of the way, letting us squeeze past dancing, drink-spilling partygoers to climb back to the pontoon gate. Luckily the music festival only went on for 21 hours, from siesta until noon the next day.

The morning after the music festival.

Of course at that point the actual Fiesta de Agua was starting. Somewhat sleep deprived, we dressed to get wet, packed some cash in a plastic bag, grabbed a waterproof camera and went in search of water. It soon found us, although I must say, it seemed to prefer Elvyra over me. Let me show you a video of this:

Yes, that was the local fire department hosing down people in the streets.

Refreshments available.