The Grec Festival in Barcelona, which has hosted nearly a hundred artistic proposals from June 27 to this Friday, this year has gathered a total of 107,888 spectators, a figure much higher than the 23,572 of last year, very marked by the pandemic, and close to 137,737 in 2019, before the emergence of the covid.
“Barcelona needs a sense of normality, we have tried to give it to them and I think we have succeeded,” said its director, Cesc Casadesús, at the balance press conference.
A “difficult to achieve” feeling, he has recognized, in the middle of the fifth wave of the pandemic, with an initial capacity limitation of 50% that, with the festival already started, went to 70% and with mobility problems that have affected hiring of international artists.
Only two works canceled
Despite the difficulties, Casadesús has been satisfied that “only two works had to be canceled due to the covid.” Three other performances have been suspended and four shows postponed to autumn, but “in general all the artists and workers of the Grec have made an effort to resolve the difficulties” and the viewer could enjoy the maximum number of proposals this year.
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To compensate for the capacity limitations, the Grec has increased the number of exhibition spaces, functions and dates “to achieve an exceptional year, both due to the quality of the proposals and the exceptional nature of the situation imposed by the pandemic.”
In total, 15 shows have exhausted all locations, including those of Rodrigo Cuevas, Omara Portuondo, S Ilvia Pérez Cruz, Peter Brook and Angélica Liddell.
The average occupancy of the Grec Montjuïc, which directly manages the Grec festival, has been 83% and that of the Grec Ciutat, which promotes together with the Barcelona venues, 66%, figures “very good, if we take into account that half festival we had to change the capacity limits “and put on sale tickets that until then were not available.
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The director of Cultural Programs of the Barcelona City Council, Esteve Caramés, has congratulated the director of the Grec for the work carried out during these years of pandemic and has confirmed that he will continue in office for two more years.
From Africa to Europe
Casadesús, which during the last five years has scheduled as many editions of the Grec with the five continents as thematic axis, has announced that, after this 2021 dedicated to Africa, the Grec will return to Europe.
“At a time when there is a strong questioning about what Europe is, I propose a diptych in which artists from both the old continent and other latitudes offer us their vision of Europe,” he clarified.
“It is as much about reviewing the past and the founding texts of Europe as it is about looking to the future and getting artists from the new generations to come to Barcelona who have never or only recently come to Barcelona”, he added.
In his opinion, “it is important that exceptional and singular proposals reach Barcelona and break the isolation that the city has had with respect to international theater.”
Casadesús trusts that the epidemiological situation will allow the Grec programming team to travel again to look for proposals “because programming without traveling, watching videos that they send you”, as it has had to do this year, “is a limitation”.
Caramés has underlined the interest of the city council to make the festival grow, but has clarified that “in these difficult times” it cannot increase its contribution, so it is working to “weave alliances and create complicities” with other administrations and festivals.