Palma.— Aiming to save 100'000 euros, Palma City Council has decided not to put on its annual “Aiguafoc” firework display which traditionally closes the Sant Sebastian festival in January.

Cancelling the display is one of the most drastic measures yet taken by City Hall to reduce public spending. It means that the budget for next year's San Sebastian festival will be cut by 37 percent in comparison with 2012.

The news was given yesterday by Palma's Citizen Participation and Social Welfare Councillor Sandra Fernandez who said: “People will understand that given financial restrictions, we can't spend 100'000 euros on 30 minutes of fireworks.” The Partido Popular Council wants to cut spending on public festivals in 2013 by 60 percent in comparison with 2011, the last year of the Socialist coalition being in power in Palma. If successful, spending will have plummeted from 875'000 euros in 2011, to 545'000 in 2012 and to 350'000 in 2013.

Bargaining process
Fernandez said that the City Council is also going to negotiate the most favourable rates for paying for the musical artists that perform at concerts on the eve of Sant Sebastian. “What we're trying to do is bargain for market rates,” said Fernandez. “Until now, agents and producers have been providing the Balearics with a musical programme superior to that being offered to other regions of the country, and therefore it's been more expensive.” “But now,” she said, “the Council is aiming to get the concert budget down by 30 percent.” Money set aside for the Sant Sebastian concert in 2011 was 431'000 euros; the budget was reduced this year to 340'000 euros and will be slashed again in 2013 to 290'000 euros.

Fernandez said that spending less money on lavish displays doesn't mean that festivals are less enjoyable. “The key factor will be more citizen participation,” she claimed.

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