Owner and tour guide @ San Sebastian Urban Adventures. Tour leader @ Intrepid Travel. Love the Basque Country, gastronomy, pintxos, and San Sebastian.
It’s springtime in Spain, and that means it’s time for the Musika Parkean Festival in San Sebastián. The name, from Basque, translates to “Music in the Park,” and the purpose of the event is to offer music concerts from spring through to autumn in the many parks of the city.
But Musika Parkean is also about much more than hosting concerts in public spaces. The organisers have very clear aims: to make use of the natural areas of the city in a responsible way and to give cultural use to spaces that are traditionally used for sporting activities.
San Sebastián has three wonderful and clean urban beaches all along the city’s coast, considered by many visitors to be some of the best in the world. Beaches are at the centre of life in San Sebastián. During the summer, they are probably the busiest spots in the city, and during the winter, they’re the perfect spot for having a stroll while looking out to the chilly bay of Biscay (well, there are also some people who dare to jump into the water during the winter months).
Yet, as wonderful as the beaches may be, they’re part of the reason why Musika Parkean wants to take locals to other areas of the city, to areas where they can also connect with nature, if not necessarily with the sea.
Everyone who attends a Musika Parkean concert is invited to bring their own food and drink, so they can picnic with family and friends while listening to good music and discovering their own city’s secret spots. In comparison to other big festivals, like the International Jazz Festival, the main scene is taken inland and the colours change from ocean blue to leafy green.
Musika Parkean is celebrated in several parks throughout the city: the elegant Aiete and Cristina Enea, beautiful Ulia (where you can hike along the St. James Way), Miramar (with the Royal Palace) and Urgull (where you can climb into a charming funicular that’s over 100 years old). Each of the parks has its own story to tell, so the concerts are the perfect excuse to embrace the atmosphere of the diverse districts of San Sebastián.
It’s a small initiative, but it’s different, friendly, and, best of all, responsible.
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