Now in its 17th year, the annual Luna Mora Festival transforms the normal, inland Malaga village of Guaro into a magical, candle-lit celebration of Andalucía’s Moorish, Andalusi and Sephardic past.
Village streets, normally only buzzing on markets days, are packed with thousands of visitors, taking in the authentic ‘Zoco Morisco de Artesanos’ (the artisan Moorish style street souk, selling crafts, and artisan foods); the street theatre; dance performances; and free music concerts.
The local bars that normally are not really that renowned for food, really push the boat out and create specially tapas and menus based on Andalusi and Sephardic dishes, as well as some Spanish snacks and drinks.
The signature theme of the festival is candles; thousands upon thousands of white candles line the streets, as well as the balconies and terraces of the village houses.
With so much free stuff going on (even story telling for adults, that starts at midnight each night, including themes of love, death, sex and madness!) only a fraction of the 10s of thousands of visitors buy tickets to see the head-lining artists.
Yet now that Guaro has its purpose built, 1,600 seater, open-air amphitheatre it’s really worth seeing some of the acts. Over the years, the programme has attracted artists of national and international note, including Sara Baras, Vicente Amigo, Diana Navarro, Pablo Alborán, and Paco de Lucía.
This year the artists include singers India Martinez, Dorantes, and Manuel Lombo; the well-known group Chambao, the singer El Lebrijano, the flamenco Orquestra Chekara, and the soprano, Maria Gabaldon. Tickets are available online or from Guaro’s visitor information centre.
I’m really looking forward to seeing Chambao – the group has real resonance for me as they kind of represent Andalucía! I first heard them on the regular Andalucía TV spot that used to run all the time when I first moved came to Spain, so it’s sort of ingrained into my subconscious!
For details visit Guaro’s website. Recently the web presence of the festival has been really poor, so I hope that in the future they outsource that and get the kind of online impact the festival deserves.
(Updated 8 September with iphone photos taken night before).