Sitges Queer Fest is a unique cultural festival that takes place in Sitges from 28 September to 2 October.
- This year, Sitges Town Council joined the organisation of the event, together with the association Colors Sitges Link.
- The Sitges Queer Fest has been included in the Banc de Bones Pràctiques Culturals of the Diputació de Barcelona.
- Throughout the week there were various activities, such as Xpressar(t), a research and printing workshop designed for young people between the ages of 12 and 18 on 27 September; the cabaret theatre by Rubén Cardoso on the 28th in the Jofré Vila i Soler room of the Casino Suburense El Prado, and the Queer route and guided tour of the Pepito Zamora exhibition that ends that same weekend at the Museums of Sitges.
- Other events included a variety of actions and concerts, such as that of the band Rey del Glam Tributo Alaska, colloquiums on gender, gender expression, sexual orientation…, poetry workshops, storytelling for the whole family and the Colors Queer Talent, which this year was much more than a contest.
Familiar faces at the Sitges Queer Fest
If last year’s edition featured personalities such as Jordi Milán, director of La Cubana, Sandra Bravo, Rocío Vidal or Pablo Wessling, this year’s edition did not fall short, with collaborations such as the writer and poet Luis Antonio de Villena, the singer, actor and poet Dave Zulueta (known for his participation in OT 2018), Rubén Cardoso (who has recently been seen in the TV series “Merlí, sapere aude”), the actors Jimmy Shaw and Antonio del Valle.
In addition, the drawing that illustrates the official poster -designed by Joan Escofet- is the work of illustrator and artist Ignasi Blanch, on loan for the event and which perfectly represents the diversity, culture and traditional festival, so important in Sitges.
Main location at the Mercat Vell
One of the great novelties of this year’s edition was the location. The main venue of the Sitges Queer Fest was the Mercat Vell, a space that has been invited to change the concept of the event.
The Mercat Vell became a queer culture market, open from 11 am until closing time. Throughout the day, DJ music could be enjoyed in the intervals between performances or activities, many of them free or at popular cost.
The exception was the cabaret theatre LIVE! by the legendary drag queen Rubén Cardoso, who performed on 28 September at the Prado Casino Suburense.
On Thursday 29th, the writer and poet Luis Antonio de Villena was scheduled to give a lecture in the Sala d’Or of the Palau Maricel on “Wise and heterodox of Pepito Zamora”, and afterwards the attendees were invited to taste the cocktail Perfidia, by the Escola d’Hosteleria de Sitges, but a problem beyond the control of the organisation forced the event to be cancelled and we were left without tasting the cocktail. In the same place, on Friday 30th, historian Isidre Roset i Juan starred in La Peça del Mes, dedicated to the “Tríptic del Ral-li”.
At 8:30 p.m. on the same Friday, the inauguration took place in the Mercat Vell with the show “Queer Varietés”, which brought together the performative dance of Labitti, the humour of Alexia Luna, the poetic improvisation of Luca Andrea, the incredible voice of Marta Baldellou and the queer magic of Berni’s MagDrag. All of this was presented with the characteristic sense of humour of singer Dave Zulueta, who became popular with the TV show Operación Triunfo 2018. The finale of the variety show was a rousing finale. In an improvised way, all the artists ended up going on stage to accompany Marta Baldellou, who put an exceptional finishing touch to the night.
Saturday 1, the big day
Saturday began early with the penultimate Pepito Zamora route, which included a guided visit to the exhibition dedicated to the artist at the Museums of Sitges. The workshop “Find your poetic voice”, led by the rhapsodist and poet Trizas de papel, also started early and ran throughout the day on Saturday. Divided into two blocks, the participants had the chance to perform at the Fest’s closing show the following day.
At midday, the Vermut & Colloquium dealt with identities, gender and sexual diversity, very topical issues, and was led by María Melgarejo (jurist), Juan Ramón Quintana (journalist) and Lorena S. Gimeno (sexologist) and member of Sexualizados_as. A debate that should have lasted an hour but, due to the success of public participation and the interest generated, lasted almost two hours.
DJ music by Julian Kabak livened up the intervals between activities while visitors came to the Mercat Vell for refreshments or to browse the Queer Market’s varied stands: the fabulous photography of Mexican artist Cuitláhuac Correa, the genderless toys of Leona Games, the fantasy painting of Eva Navarro, the unique clothing of Chicos de Falda, the genderless clothing of How dare you? and Boutique de Premsa bookshop were present throughout the weekend.
In the afternoon, the Sitges Queer Special Route took place: a walking route through the queer history of Sitges. And Saturday night arrived with two fabulous concerts: the young Alexia Riva gave way to the music band Rey del Glam Tributo Alaska, who, through a journey through the diva’s career in her different musical formations (Pegamoides, Dinarama and Fangoria) got the audience dancing and singing during the 90 minutes the concert lasted.
This edition has young artists and children in mind
If Tuesday 27th was for young artists with the Xpressar(t) printmaking workshop, run by the popular painter Núria Corretgé, on Sunday 2nd it was the little ones who were the stars of the show. More than twenty children of all ages enjoyed, sang and danced to stories about diversity and live music by Javi Clancarakol.
After the last guided tour about Pepito Zamora, the Vermut & Jazz started, by queer singer Vicky Branch, one of the most spectacular voices that gave the TV show La Voz 2017. And she more than proved it. With an initially shy audience, the hall gradually filled up with spectators who came in from the street attracted by the music. Vicky Branch managed to get the audience on their feet and, moved by her voice and her stage charisma, they asked for encores.
The final of the Queer Talent competition brought this second edition of the Sitges Queer Fest to a close. The Talent has evolved to become a showcase of queer talent not only of the contestants but also of artists with a long career who collaborated, altruistically, with the Sitges Queer Fest project.
The mayoress, Aurora Carbonell, Prado García and Martín Martín (vice-president and treasurer of Colors Sitges Link), addressed the audience before the start of a finale that was full of talent and good work.
Rubén Cardoso once again participated in this Sitges Queer Fest, this time as master of ceremonies, conducting the Talent as only he knows how. The final of the competition featured performances by last year’s winners, Gvillermo Rueda and King G., as well as the participants of the “Find your poetic voice” workshop (Alice Agostini, La Loca Samurai and Dante Martín), as well as Trizas de Papel.
In the end, the jury formed by Jimmy Shaw, Dave Zulueta, Cristina Falcinellà and Antonio del Valle had a hard time selecting the best talents. So much so that they consumed more than 25 minutes of deliberation. The result was: Emmie Reek in third place, Kevin Jackson in second and Yeison Forero in first place. The jury insisted on how complicated everything had been, and wanted to give a special mention to the extraorinarie Liaam Iman.
(You can find out more about the finalists here).
Volunteering and the support of local sponsors are to be highlighted.
While it is true that the Ajuntament de Sitges joined as organizer in this edition, such an ambitious event would have been impossible without the collaboration of entities such as the Sitges English Theatre Company, El Retiro, or La Indomable, and without the sponsorship of local businesses such as Sweet Sitges, la Pícara restaurant, Merci Sitges restaurant, Queenz, Parrots group, Hotel 1883 and Hotel Boutique Casa Vidal.
Special mention must go to the great team of volunteers, as well as to the artists who participated altruistically, or with very reasonable salaries, because they believe in this project in which, through culture, Colors Sitges Link aims to create complicity with Sitges and its organisations, and to involve the citizens, as well as to contribute another grain of sand so that the town is recognised for the cultural and artistic aura that it has historically had.
The LGTBIQ+ Colors Sitges Link association has promoted and organised, together with Sitges Town Council and with the support of the Regidoria de Turisme (Sitges Anytime), this cultural festival from a queer perspective, understanding the concept as the public manifestation of the person who lives life and, by extension, art, in a different way to that established by hegemonic and normative society.