Festival report 2017
The sixth edition of the Tortosa English Festival (TEF) took place during the week, April 9th. to April 15th. 2018.
This year the Festival included youth social activities where the student volunteers spend time the with people who are in hospital and nursing homes. As the Festival grows from year to year, it gets bigger, with more events and more attendances.
The Sixth Tortosa English Festival was a great success with many new events this year. The weather was glorious and the participants enjoyed all the events. From the Saint Patrick’s Day Concert in the Town Hall Square to the Festival Prize Giving in the Felip Pedrell Theatre, the various events were well attended and the level of spoken English was very high throughout. Our special relationship with Swansea University and Enjoy English Experience, as well as our sponsors and the Town Hall, make the Tortosa English Festival a reality and a very important event in the cultural and social calendar of Tortosa and Terres de l’Ebre.
The young and older volunteers and committee work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the festival runs smoothly and efficiently.
Social English Activity
Saint Patrick’s Day Irish Concert & Tapas
Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations were held on Friday March 16th. this year The Festival was presented and announced at this Pre-Festival Concert in the Town Hall Square. Three groups performed on a specially constructed stage with all the professional lighting and sound equipment:
“Cor LaBinota”, “Cor Flumine” and finally “Ian Lints Music Band” an Irish Rock and Pop performer! Magician Mag Ignasi acted a Presenter and performed some tricks for the younger audience. The crowd of youngsters and adults were thoroughly entertained until the early hours of the morning! There is a wealth of young music talent in Tortosa and this afforded them a perfect opportunity to perform in English to an appreciative audience. Irish Tapas, Guinness and refreshments were provided by the Market and Paco Catering by Alqueza. (Attendance: 800 +)
Saint Patrick’s Day Festivities
For the first time, we celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day with a Parade through the Indoor Market in Tortosa. Prior to that, the flag throwing tea of Tortosa performed a demonstration of flag throwing using the flags of the four provinces of Ireland as well as the national flag of Ireland. This is the first time that such a demonstration was carried out either in Catalonia, or indeed on the whole peninsula of Spain! (Attendance 800+).
The Festival was officially opened by our new Lady Mayor of Tortosa, Meritxell Roige. In her speech she welcomed the Tortosa English Festival to Tortosa and emphasised the cultural impact it was having on the people of Tortosa, especially the young. She praised the committee for volunteering to put on this Festival and she expressed her best wishes for its
success. Meritxell thanked Jen Welti and Jo Chapman from the University of Swansea in Wales, who travelled to Tortosa specially to attend the Festival. Ferran Bladé, Coordinator of the Department of Culture from the Catalan government i Terres de l’Ebre, Xavi Farre vicedirector URV Campus Terres de l'Ebre and Paul O’Riordain, President of the Festival, also spoke at the inauguration. Jen spoke of the strong cooperation between her university and the Tortosa English Festival. She also commented on the university support for the Festival by way of a student grant as a prize for the overall debate winners, and she said that they were looking forward greatly to welcoming this year’s students from Catalonia to the University of Swansea. (Attendance: 700)
This year we had three separate debates plus a special quiz for primary students. As well as secondary school students, third and fourth of ESO, we also had an inter university debate with representatives from 8 different universities taking part. The debate was monitored by Jen Welti from the University of Swansea. Eight schools from Terres de l’Ebre took part in the senior debate and five schools participated in the junior debate.
The students were given a number of chosen topics a month in advance and they were asked to prepared arguments in favour and against All the debaters spoke well and there were many heated and entertaining exchanges. (Attendance: 700)
Quiz at the Museum
Tortosa Market Concert
This is the third year that the indoor food market in Tortosa hosted an Irish Concert Evening. All the association stallholders opened their stall in the evening for the general public to come and enjoy! They provided drinks and Irish Tapas and decorated their stalls with an Irish theme. All displayed their products in English language and all many learned some English words to
practice with the many people who attended this pioneering event. We had a fantastic performance from “West Moon Group”, an Irish Traditional Music group from Barcelona who travelled to Tortosa especially for this performance. They played a number of Irish traditional tunes, songs and dances as well a few Galician tunes! They brought the ‘Nuala Irish Dancers’ with them who performed a number of traditional Irish dances as well as encouraging the audience to participate in Irish style dancing! Both ‘West Moon Group’ and ‘Nuala Dancers’ had the crowd enthralled with their performances and everyone clapped and joined in with the merry music. Some Guinness was consumed! (Attendance: 1200+).
Book Reading Club for Adults
Lyudmila is the English Book Reading Club organizer and this year she invited Montse Suberats to present a Power Point Presentation on Saint Patrick and some old Irish superstitions. After her presentation the group discussed many different aspects of superstitions and everyone contributed with their own fears, phobias and thoughts. Even some ways to negate superstitions were suggested! (Attendance: 25)
Kiddies Tale Reading
Like last year, this event was held in the public library in Tortosa on Saturday morning. The reading was performed in the main hall of the library on the ground floor. Many children enjoyed another short story by Silvia Panisello who has been performing children’s tales in English in Tortosa and further afield for many years. The parents and other audience members seemed to enjoy it also!
The children were invited to read from the story books and we were both surprised and impressed with the high level of English these young children have. (Attendance: 150)
Tortosa Market English Competition
Another event this year was the English competition among the stall holders at the indoor Market in Tortosa. All the members of their association participated in promoting the English language by way of English signs and names of products on sale. Many of the stall holders used the English language in their
conversations with their many customers. This activity lasted for one week up to and including the Festival weekend. It drew a great awareness to the Festival’s other activities and certainly raised the public profile of the Tortosa English Festival.
This was the first year that we introduced Zumba Dancing in English. It was held in front of the Market and was led the Zumba Dance Leader from EUSES University in Tortosa. As well as putting on a fantastic Zumba display, the audience and public were invited to participate and everyone joined in this activity! (Attendance: 400)
Yoga in English Exercise
This event was presented again this year. The group of 25 participants was led by Yoga Instructor Pamela Sharp in the public library in Tortosa. (Attendance: 25)
FIFA Video Football Competition
This is one of the most famous event. It was held in the Parc Restaurant in Tortosa. Over 80 teenagers played a number of FIFA video games. The event was attended by the players and their supporters who cheered them on at every given opportunity! The duration of the competition was six hours and the eventual winner was presented with the prize of Canal Ocio products. (Attendance: 250)
The Bar Quiz Night was held in the Parador Hotel as last year There were eight different category rounds with eight questions in each round. The questions were a little more difficult this year and the thirty participating teams had to work hard to answer the questions. The Parador provided an excellent supper at a reasonable price and everyone enjoyed the evening immensely. (Attendance: 300)
The Karaoke was held in the Parador Hotel immediately after the Bar Quiz Night. Like last year, there was a big crowd of people there to cheer the many contestant’s endeavours in the Karaoke competition. The level was sometimes very high and sometimes the singers were very brave! Master of ceremonies for the night was young Gerard Ginovart who did an excellent job of encouraging the performers to come up and try their luck at Karaoke singing! (Attendance: 200)
The Traditional Bingo in English event was another great event this year! Before the Karaoke singing we had two rounds of traditional bingo with fantastic prizes (Attendance: 250)
This was held in the Chapel of the Teresianas School. The El Perello Coral Decibels once again performed many wonderful Gospel songs. (Attendance: 200)
The breakfast this year was hosted in the Car Park of the Felip Pedrell Theatre. . Once again, the breakfast was sponsored by Ous Roig. The eggs were ‘free range’ from Happy Hens and were delicious! These were accompanied by Black Pudding, Bacon and sausage. The Irish Breakfast was served by our smiling young volunteers. Santi Pelejà and his happy team of senior volunteers served up a fantastic and filling Irish Breakfast for everyone who came. (Attendance: 250)
International PETANGUE demonstration and competition in English
Car Boot Sale
This was another great event to this year’s Festival activity. 34 cars in total came. A mixture of native English speakers and Catalans brought their cars full of household goods that were unwanted by them. Business was excellent and all the car booters said they would return again next year. This was a new event to the people of Tortosa and once they understood the concept, they came in great numbers to look over all the interesting things for sale. This has become one of the most popular events! (Attendance 700+)
Prize Giving Ceremony
In attendance were Emili Lehmann, Tortosa Town Hall Council and many business leaders of Tortosa, including Daniel Cortijo, President of the Small Business Associate of Tortosa. All the dignitaries gave out the prizes and thanked the committee for organizing the Festival, the participants in each of the various events and competitions, as well as the
audience and supporters of the Tortosa English Festival. Paul O’Riordain, Festival President spoke of the committee’s great work in putting on this year’s festival. He thanked all the volunteers, the sponsors and of course, the participating public. Paul emphasised the need for young people to improve their knowledge of the English language to secure their future. English is such an integral part of European business nowadays that it is imperative that candidates for key jobs have a high level of English. (Attendance 250)