Killing The Andalucian Nights

A caballero at Tarifa’s Feria

Huge festivals rock all over Spain.  Bigger isn’t always better as our expert, Robin Graham, our guest writer from Southern Spain, has us hanging out at a small-home-town celebration in Tarifa. 

By Robin Graham

Summer in Andalucia. Feria time.

Why do the Spanish do this so much better than anyone else?

Noise kaleidoscopes, the roar of colour, four generations filling the streets of towns and villages till dawn. The attendant fairground bustle, the best place to get your hands on junk food in Spain, wine, warm nights, welcome.

A calendar of nocturnal hullabaloo that punctuates the year all over the country but, in Andalucia especially, that threads its way through squares and streets from the Saturdays of Spring till September.

Marching band in Tarifa

The Feria de Abril in Sevilla, the Romeria Del Rocio at the mouth of the Guadalquivir which draws a million or more pilgrims each year, the horses of Jerez, the raucous debauchery of Algeciras, Malaga’s mammoth August bash. The valley below Casares echoing with the boom boom cacophony of fairground speakers, the streets of the little mountain pueblo blue-lit and frenetic. Finally, for us, as summer winds down, the stately, somber processions of Tarifa.

These are just a few. The same scene, really, in each place; only the gorgeous backdrops change.

Sometimes there’s a religious raison d’etre but even when there is it will be kept separate from the merry-go-rounds and bumper cars, candy floss and camel races, the patito stalls where you might hope to hoop a duck, the others where you might dart a balloon for some cheap trinket.

The big Feria’s draw the big crowds but just as much fun is to be had in the little towns, like ours. Casetas (Marquees) are set up for barbecued meat, tinto de verano (red wine and lemonade) and dancing. Hippies and Gitanos sell their wares in makeshift markets. Children “kill the night” with their parents and the tired wander back to their beds to try for sleep with the music in the air all around them.

Robin Graham, from Tarifa in southern Spain, writes stories. Some of them are about places and some of them are just made up. A lot of them can be found, with accompanying photographs, at He’s a private person but, strangely, doesn’t mind being followed (on Twitter) : @robinjgraham or liked (on Facebook) : Photography at

3 Responses

  1. inka says:

    Big festival, small festival, it doesn’t matter. As Robin so rightly says, nobody does it better than the Spanish people.

  2. admin says:

    yes, the Spanish know how to par-tay!

  3. I lived in La Celada for 5 years, a small aldea 2km from Iznajar which juts out into the largest lake in Andalucia. The fiestas and festivals were all around, spectacular, fun, silly, moving and welcoming. I’ve written loads of mad blogs about it but if you want to see a bit of it you can go here : – it’s the house where we lived with some of our madcap adventures and more serious / informative info to help make a holiday in Andalucia a lifetime experience.

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