Great festival of folk music bursts into life

Colour, music and tradition at the Fiesta Mayor de los Verdiales on Wednesday.
Colour, music and tradition at the Fiesta Mayor de los Verdiales on Wednesday. / Álvaro Cabrera
  • Puerto de la Torre was filled with music, colour and thousands of people earlier this week for traditional Verdiales festive folk dancing

Every 28th December for the past 55 years the Malaga district of Puerto de la Torre has celebrated the Fiesta Mayor de los Verdiales. The festival is the most important of its kind in the province and despite being held on a working day, 26 bands took part.

The bands were split into the three different styles of verdiales: Almogía, Comares and Montes. It is usual for the Montes bands to try to drown each other out in 'choques' or battles The winner is the band that can keep their tempo and rhythm going the longest.

The festival, which started around midday and was attended by thousands of people, lasted more than twelve consecutive hours. It showcased true Malaga folk music and a jury selected the best couples dancing, the best singer and the best band of the festival.

The first competition of the day was that of the Almogía style bands which was won by the Raices de Almogía group. Then it was the turn of the Comares style bands. El Borge has had a Californian guitarist and a Swedish dancer as part of their group for five years but they weren't the winners in their category which was dominated by Raíces de Málaga. The Montes competition was won by the Montes del Guadalmedina.

Malaga's mayor, Francisco de la Torre, attended the festival and at one point took control of a 'vara de mando', the decorated cane or baton used to conduct the music.