The Ronda Guitar Festival: One of Romantic Ronda's Super Summer Festivals

Something prospective guests frequently ask before confirming their booking is if there is anything to do in Ronda. As La Cazalla provides accommodation for whole families and large groups, people like to make sure there will be something for everyone within a group of mixed ages and interests. The answer is always a resounding "Yes!" and we direct them to this blog where they can discover articles with our top ten recommendations of things to do in Ronda, details of adventure sports and activities, hiking, bird watching... we could go on and on.

However, what is particularly tantalising is how many parties, celebrations and festivals there are going in Andalusia (around 3,000 a year!), including fairs, pilgrimages, carnivals, mock battles between Moors and Christians and religious processions - there is scarcely a day in the year without a fiesta or festival. So let's have a look at at one that's coming up soon: the Ronda International Guitar Festival.

This year is Ronda's third international guitar festival and there'll be two concerts every evening plus a daytime program of exhibitions of artisan guitar makers, mini midday concerts and afternoon conferences. The festival strives to highlight the versatility and diversity of styles that the guitar embraces: classical, romantic, flamenco, jazz and contemporary, appealing to the musical tastes of a wide audience. This year's performing artists have been invited from Spain, Italy, Holland, USA, Croatia, Bulgaria, Germany and France.

What's so special about the Spanish guitar?

Well, there's this for starters:

This incredible piece is played by Paco de Lucía, referred to as "one of history's greatest guitarists". Born Francisco Gustavo Sánchez Gómez (21 December 1947 – 25 February 2014), Paco de Lucía was a Spanish virtuoso flamenco guitarist, composer and producer. A leading proponent of the new flamenco style, he helped legitimise flamenco among the establishment in Spain, and was one of the first flamenco guitarists to cross over successfully into other genres of music such as classical and jazz. Richard Chapman and Eric Clapton, authors of 'Guitar: Music, History, Players', describe de Lucía as a "titanic figure in the world of flamenco guitar". And where is the home of flamenco? Andalusia, of course!

Whilst the guitar underwent a great number of physical changes throughout the 13th to 19th centuries (including the type of wood it was made from, the shape, and the number of strings), Andrés Segovia (1893-1987) is considered as the father of the modern style and sound of Spanish guitar. Andrés was a marvel on the strings with flurried fast movements that were like nothing ever seen before. This self-taught genius left behind many new techniques that went on to shape the sound of the Spanish guitar in the 20th century, as it is now recognised by listeners around the world. The chords and style of playing that Andrés perfected helped the acoustics and amplification of the sound. Here's a recording of this magnificent maestro:

Who can we see at this year's guitar festival?

A full program of the Ronda International Guitar Festival 2018 can be found on the organiser's website here, but there will be evening concerts by Andalusians such as the Alberto López Trio and the Paco Seco Trio, renowned Spanish classical guitarist Eduardo Pascual, Marco Battaglia and Diego Campagna from Italy, Natan Zlodre from Croatia, Tom Kerstens from Holland, the Ian Scionti Trio (Spain/USA/France), Soenke Meinen from Germany, and (one of the few women taking part in the festival) Bozhana Pavlova from Bulgaria:

Evening concerts presented by the above guitarists cost € 15 per person, or € 60 for an 'All-Festival Pass'. Incredibly, the morning guitar makers' exhibitions (from 10:00 to 14:00) and the afternoon conferences at 18:00 or 19:00 are entirely free to enter, as are the matinee concerts at 13:00 each day, like the concert on Thursday 7th June by Paco Seco:

Yes, you read that correctly: a free concert by the above amazing musician, Paco Seco.

Don't fret (pun intended) if you cannot make the guitar festival in Ronda this year (we are actually fully-booked at La Cazalla throughout the first couple of weeks of June 2018) - you can enjoy Spanish guitar music throughout the year here. Paco Seco is not only one of the organisers of the festival, but he is also one of the founders of Ronda Guitar House where he plays daily.

Alternatively, if you can make the festival but have family members that prefer a beat and sound produced by technology, here's the lineup of DJs playing at the 2018 UVA Festival from 8-10 June in Ronda: 2 Bit Crew, AFRICAN ACID IS THE FUTURE, ALF KEIL, Budino, CALL SUPER, CPI, DA MATTA (LIVE), Debora Ipekel, DIRK 81, DJ CENTRAL, Donna Leake, DJ SPORTS, Dorado, Habibi Funk, Industrias94, Jonas Friedlich, Jonny Rock, Juanito Jones, La Mamie's, Metametal, Miss Jay, Moody Collective, O.BEE, OG JUAN, Orpheu The Wizard, Reginald Omas Mamode IV, Simone de Kunovich, Skee Mask, TITO WUN, Tomas Station, Zenker Brothers. The UK's DJ Magazine is calling it "A festival with a family-vibe that we're really digging the sound of, UVA could well go down as one of this summer's best."

As we keep saying, there's always something happening in Ronda! For information on cultural events happening during your visit, either take a peek at other articles within our blog, contact us with your questions, or visit Ronda's Tourism website and click on the Cultural Agenda (underneath the Heritage and Culture drop-down menu) for the next two months' of events. There truly is something for everyone in this amazing little city of dreams.