Held August 3rd-13th 2011 in the Market Building, La Union, Murcia.
Every August the small Murcian town La Union in the south-east of Spain plays host to the Cante de Las Minas Festival (Song of the Mines Festival), one of Spain’s premier flamenco festival. Flamenco dancers, singers and guitarists of all ages take part in the twelve day festival hoping to take away one of the coveted awards on offer. With more than €30,000 in prize money up for grabs it is no wonder that the the festival is so popular.
The festival first took place as a flamenco singing competition (the cante por mineras) in 1961 with the guitar (toque) competition being added in 1980 and the dance (baile) competition added in 1993.
The whole town gets involved in the festival which not only includes the competitions but also includes performances from top flamenco stars, lively parties (juerga) and open-mike sessions. This year the festival will include artists like Antonio ‘Pitingo’, Estrella Morente, dancer Juan Manuel Fernandez ‘Farruquito’, guitarist Jose Fernandez Torres ‘Tomatito’, dancer and choregrapher Blanca del Rey and singer Ramon Jimenez Salazar, Diego ‘El Cigala’. On August 4th journalist Carlos Herrera will officially open festivities and on the same day last years winners Miguel Ortega (Mining Lamp), Francisco Moncayo (Mining Pilgrim’s Staff), Jesus Fernandez (Trowel Trophy) and Abdon Alcaraz (Instrumentalist Award) will perform.
To understand the history and culture of the area, La Union should be included for a day out on your direct holidays to Murcia. La Union was originally a mining town and fishing port in Roman times, transporting rich minerals all over the Mediterranean area. Known to the Romans as Porto Magnus, the town was named La Union when the small villages of Herrerias and El Garbunzal became united. After the First World War the mines fell into recession but a few decades later the mines were opened again, remaining open until 1991 when they were finally closed for good. The hills where the mines are located are dry and rugged but the old mine chimneys are clearly visible thanks to the hard work of the miners who have lovingly restored them. At the top of the hills, at the Hermitage of the Virgin del Rosario there is a look-out platform (Mirador) offering wonderful panoramic views. There is a mining museum in the old miners institute which has crystals and old semi-precious stones on display.
You will be amazed by the passion and spectacle of this Flamenco festival whilst on your cheap holidays to Spain’s Costa Calida.