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The Culture Vulture

About cultural things: music, dance, literature and theatre.

Friday, September 2, 2022 @ 6:59 AM

Pueblos Blancos Music Festival

The 5th edition of this popular series of international rock music concerts known as the Pueblos Blancos Music Festival took place at the end of July 2022. Interrupted for two years by the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2022 festival was eagerly anticipated by locals and visitors alike.

The series of concerts took place over four days and nights in Montejaque (Málaga) and two each in the white villages of Grazalema, Villaluenga del Rosario (both Cádiz) and Ronda (Málaga) and and was organised by Juan Castro (Montejaque), Josu Camacho (Madrid) and Philip Plata (Austin, Texas, USA) via the Fundación Sierra de Libar, a local charity foundation.

60 bands from as far afield as Austin, Texas, Barcelona, Cádiz, Canada, Finland, France and Madrid made up the roll call. The musicians paid their own travel expenses but were provided with board and lodging free of charge by the councils of the four villages involved. They were not paid for their appearances. However, the artistes viewed the festival as a great shop window for their music. One band, Joe King Carrasco, has attended all five festivals to date, but many, such as The History Department, Robin Mordecai and Civas were making their debuts. To a man and woman they all intend to return in 2023, stay for longer and maybe pick up paid gigs on the Costa del Sol, or in bigger cities with a vibrant music scene, once the local festival is over. Indeed, some of the bands this time went on to play gigs in Estepona, Marbella, Madrid, Chinchón, Logroño and Santander.

The aim of the festival is to bring together musicians and the public for meetings and cultural exchanges. This proved to be the case, particularly for me. I was based in Montejaque and had the great pleasure to get to know most of the musicians who played there. Several Texas bands took to drinking tinto de verano on my recommendation as an alternative to the dreadful Cruzcampo, which they swore is worse than the atrocious Budweiser, ubiquitous in the USA.

As well as attending most sessions in Montejaque, I also went to Ronda for the Saturday night session. Performed in the open-air Greek-style theatre, Auditorio Blas Infante, with its stunning mountain backdrop and the setting sun, this was a spectacle and a half. The acoustics were perfect and the atmosphere was buzzing.

My personal favourite bands were, in alphabetical order, Blueroomess (Barcelona), Civas (Madrid), The Del Valle Trustees (Austin), Donovan Keith (Austin), The History Department (Austin), Robin Mordecai (Austin), Sefo (Cadiz), Los Widowmakers (Madrid), and two acts which were totally different, Country and Western duo The Chisum Cattle Company (Madrid) and Jack King Noir, a solo Blues slide guitarist from Finland. There were several jam sessions where musicians who didn’t know each other played remarkable music together. During the final jam session in Montejaque , there was a guest appearance by 14-year-old Diego from England on guitar and drums. We hope he’ll be back next year.


Paul Whitelock

The Culture Vulture is a retired former languages teacher, school inspector and translator, who emigrated to the Serranía de Ronda in 2008, where he lives with his second wife, Rita. He spends his time between Montejaque and Ronda listening to live music, doing DIY, gardening, writing and managing his portfolio of holiday rentals. 

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