surinenglish

Traditions or torment?

Ferias are a bit like Marmite - you either love them or hate them, and in my case I have gone from one extreme to another. In my younger days I'd have been there, dancing the night away and sipping sherry as if there were a lagoon of it that had to be emptied, but nowadays I prefer a quieter life. And that's the problem. With modern electronic music equipment, fairs are noisier now and I need my sleep.

I live in a small village and the concerts are held in the main square, 800 metres from my house. Quite a distance, right? But they keep me awake, literally all night. There is a fairground, but people prefer the ambience of the square. That's fine and I am certainly not opposed to anyone enjoying themselves, but when the decibel level is frequently so high that hearing can be affected, when there are elderly and unwell people living around the square and in nearby streets and when the music goes on until 6.30am for four consecutive nights, I believe we have a right to complain.

"Ah, but you're a foreigner," say other foreigners who don't know or don't care that I have been in Spain for 31 years, 15 of them in this village, and have applied for Spanish nationality. They also ignore the fact that many Spanish residents are also up in arms about the noise. "You have no right to criticise your host country."

"Local businesses are raking in the money," I am admonished. As if they wouldn't earn as much if the decibel level were turned down a few notches.

"Respect local customs and culture," is my favourite, usually from Brits who drink and dance for a while and then return to homes where they can't hear a manic DJ blasting out headbanging rhythms as loudly as if he were standing at the foot of the bed. Dangerously loud music is not a local tradition. Running a bull through a streets with a ring of fire round its neck used to be; would these people respect that custom, if it were brought back, I wonder?