Where’s the best place to hold a concert?

 

Casa de la Ermita

The answer is “inside” if you live in the UK, or “anywhere you fancy” if you live in Spain.  Spaniards are optimistic people – I guess it comes with having all that sunshine – and so we listened to concerts both outside Teatro Vico and also on the Paseo in brilliant sunshine last December (though the conductor did glance anxiously at some dark clouds overhead!)  I can’t see anybody being mad enough to hold a concert outside in the UK during the winter months, however in Spain it happens quite a lot and usually the weather is kind to them. 

New Year's Eve concert

The latest venue is the Patio de Armas in the Castillo de Jumilla, which recently reopened after extensive restoration works.  We persuaded our friends John and Lesley to come along to the opening concert, which really impressed them both, so they took little persuasion to accompany us to the second concert. 

“It will be even better,” I promised them.  Nothing to do with the fact that Salva, the son of our Spanish friends Juana María and Salvador, plays in the band!

Luckily our friends agreed that the concert by the Asociación Jumillana de Amigos de la Música was very good and highly entertaining.  The musicians played with great feeling, some of the music was quite demanding but it highlighted the talents of individual players and the conductor threw himself into the music, bringing out the best in his musicians.  Not only that, but the sun was shining, the surroundings were lovely and the audience was enthusiastic.

Concert in the Castle

After the concert we all headed to the nearest bar for tapas: Bar Chaparral on Avenida de Yecla.  The bar downstairs was almost full and the only available table wasn’t big enough, so we had to go upstairs.  Juana María had said they might join us, as they had never been there before, and when she turned up she had her sister-in-law Belén and husband Pablo as well as Salvador.

Our Spanish friends were impressed by the food and even more impressed by the bill!  It was less than 100 euros for eight of us, including beer and wine, coffees, lots of tasty tapas and a plate of fresh fruit at the end of the meal. 

We even had free entertainment, provided by the boisterous hen party enjoying themselves at a large table behind us.  John had spotted a young man with a case, so there was speculation about the possibility of a male stripper, however the men dragged us home before things got too interesting!

A superb evening out, with an excellent concert in the castle and an enjoyable meal afterwards, so what else was happening that weekend?  Music and wine in the bodega on Sunday was next on the agenda.

Bodegas Casa de la Ermita

John and Lesley kindly acted as our chauffeurs on Sunday as Bodegas Casa de la Ermita is in the middle of the countryside, between Jumilla and Pinosa.  Although we have drunk their wine, which sells well in the UK, we had never visited their vineyards and bodegas.

What a beautiful and peaceful setting it was, and with the sun shining they could have held the concert outside, however it took place inside the Bodegas.  We had heard the flamenco group Al Golpe before, performing outside the Jardín del Rey Don Pedro, but with the acoustics inside the bodegas they sounded even better.  The atmosphere was incredible, with everybody enjoying themselves, clapping their hands and dancing to the flamenco music.  I even managed to catch Pedro, the President of the Ruta del Vino and organiser of Música entre Vinos, strutting his stuff!

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=404082279018

While we listened to the music, staff were bringing out bottles of wine and plates of tasty food, which obviously enhanced the experience for us.  So where’s the best place to hold a concert?  In a bodega of course!

Al Golpe

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