The Festival Internacional Dixieland Tarragona came it to full swing last weekend with the dizzy tunes overlapping the sombre processions of Palm Sunday. Now in its 20th edition, the Festival Internacional Dixieland Tarragona is a galvanising event which peaks at the weekend with bands performing all over the old city.
Big international names play in posh venues, like the Metropol Theatre, others in restaurants and bars where you can literally eat your Jazz away washed down with a fine glass of wine. The best bits happen over the last three days of the event when bands perform in the little squares and parks of the city providing for happy casual encounters as one strolls about following the music trail. This is how on Friday we bumped in to the Stromboli Yazz Band, on the Rambla Nova on the way to the finest bakery in town. These guys are a real institution in Tarragona as one of the leading local jazz band with a big personality!
The joy of living in here is that it’s a city with profound contrasts, this became obvious when the pre-easter procession of the Gremi de Pagesos filled with torch bearers, penitents with pointy hats carrying large wooden iconography made it’s sombre way around the city.
A friend suggested that the combination of an Easter Procession and the sound of Dixie could be a welcome novelty which would take care of the heavy duty religious tedium.
Back to the Dixie Festival and one of the most chilled weekends in memory started off with with 3 Jazz and the clink of ice and vermouth. Next was Pig Fat and their memorable acoustic blues rendition. We grabbed a lunch at Lola Tapes and then headed for a bit of Swing taking place over the vaults of the old roman circus which was followed by more music courtesy of La Small Band Orquestra and the Antiga Audiència.
Sunday provided the grand finale with two fantastic street acts: The Small River Brass Band dressed in orange prisoners suites and headed by a NY Policemen on stilts (as you do) delivered a cacophony of sound which even got the dead out of their bed. It was a band collision in Plaça de la Font where La Banda de La Maria lied in waiting ready to continue this jazzy Pied Piper experience through another bit of Tarragona. Then it was beers with the Feo’s Experience and a hike to the best yet underused venue of the city, the terraced park overlooking the roman amphitheatre by the sea. It was there that the two band delivered their best bits afternoon finale with the Sevillian La Banda de La Maria now logged in memory as probably the best street jazz act this blogger has ever seen.
At 8pm it was the great Swing finale with hundreds of people dancing away into the night at the sound of the TGN Swing Hoppers Delight.