Los Remedios, the residential district closest to the recinto (fairground) where the Feria is held, was one of only two areas to vote No to Qu 1, and by a clear margin. Click on image to enlarge.
With Spanish politics in disarray and the Socialist party imploding, Seville has had more important things on its mind: a referendum on whether the Feria de Abril, or Spring Fair, the city’s annual full-on sherry-fuelled skirt-swishing shindig, should be extended from six to seven days, and start on a Sunday instead of a Tuesday.
The reason? So that people can spend more days at Feria, of course! And no work the day after the big opening night! Not to mention the extra income for the city’s hospitality industry – a second weekend of visiting feriantes!
The other issue was that the Feria de Abril always needs to have one day minimum in the month of April, to live up to its name – the April Fair. As the Fair always takes place two weeks after Semana Santa (Holy Week) – which falls very late in 2017, from 9 to 16 April – the only way to ensure that one day in April was included in the Feria 2017 was to bring the opening day forward to 30 April, a Sunday.
In terms of the Sevillanos response to the referendum – no prizes for guessing what the residents said. LET’S PARTY LONGER, AND HARDER, STARTING ON A SATURDAY NIGHT, AND WITH A HOLIDAY DURING FERIA TOO! We wouldn’t expect any less from Seville, Andalucia’s fiesta capital.
Around 60% of Seville residents said Yes to Question 1: Do you agree that the Feria should start on Sunday 30 April and finish on Saturday 6 May? The nay-sayers were the residents in the area closest to the Feria recinto (fairground), Los Remedios, of whom almost two-thirds – 63% – voted No. After all, they’re the ones who have to cope with the all-night noise, rubbish and traffic problems during that week, when many streets are closed off to cars – only except buses, taxis and public service vehicles have access to the area around the recinto. Nervion also voted not to extend the length of the Feria.
The second of the two questions which Sevillanos had to answer in the referendum (whose website crashed within minutes of the vote going live; residents could vote in person too) was whether the Feria week should always include a local holiday. This time, it was a no-brainer for most people – over 80% said Yes.
Only a small percentage of the residents listed in the census (those aged over 16 years old) chose to vote in the referendum – just over 40,000 out of nearly 590,000, or almost 7%.
Until now, the first day has officially been Tuesday, with the big first night celebration (before the Feria officially starts) including the alumbrado (turning on of the lights on the entrance gate and around the fairground at midnight), being on the Monday. The fair then lasted for six days, Tuesday to Sunday.
With the new system, the Feria would last one day longer – a seven-day period from from Sunday to Saturday – in 2017, 30 April to 6 May. This means the big alumbrado first night would be a Saturday (29 April) , and will probably last well into Sunday, the first official day. Block it off in your diary!