About 10.000 people attended the event. | Ultima Hora

If you live in a village, you know how it is. The annual fiestas come around and at midnight the local pop group plugs in its guitars and DJ Manic attempts to whip up a frenzy among fiesta goers that is even greater than several hours of drinking have achieved. You get used to it. It is only once a year, except where the village accommodates a similar party for the annual fair, while once a year for the fiestas doesn’t necessarily mean just one night.

We’re coming to that time of the year, so you know what’s going to happen. Options? One surely has to be staying up until the wee small hours while La Canción del Verano belt out their selection of summer songs or O-ERRA sing their own ‘La Canción del Verano’. Another is taking yourself off to somewhere else on the island and hope to God that they haven’t got a party going on as well. Yes, it’s simple enough to consult the fiestas’ calendar, but then there are the other parties, the ones that aren’t fiestas. You might not be aware that they’ve been organised. Meanwhile, back in the village, you will be only too well aware.

In Pollensa on Saturday, starting at 5pm, it’s La Fiesta del Verano. Nothing to do with fiestas as such, this is La Gran Verbena hitting Pollensa. Several hours of music, two stages, food trucks, a market, the whole partying nine yards. La La Love You top the bill. Not everyone on Saturday into Sunday may be loving them.

The publicity for this somewhat mysteriously refers to the venue as the Cecili Metel parking. Does this mean Can Conill or Can Bach, the great space behind the Renault garage? Not that it matters much. The Summer Party will still be heard, as other parties have been heard. No, this isn’t the village centre, but it is village. People live there.

I find myself torn by this and by other non-fiesta night parties in the open air. On the one hand they are good. Live music is being encouraged. People are having fun. What’s there not to like? On the other hand they disturb people. Need to be up for an early shift? Forget the sleep. As I don’t live in the vicinity of the parking, I’m not going to be affected anyway. Which was also the case with Canet Rock 2022 in Alcudia. It didn’t reach me, but it was clearly heard by people not so far away.

The town hall, having bought the finca opposite Pollentia with the intentions of there one day being further excavations and building a new museum, seems to wish to recoup some of the outlay by renting out the finca. Sure, Canet Rock does coincide with the fiestas, but every attempt is made to ensure that the sound direction isn’t into the village. Last year it went out and affected residents elsewhere. The festival is making a return on July 22*.

Back in Pollensa, why didn’t they stick La Fiesta del Verano in a field rather than in a ‘parking’? The town hall, whose logo appears on the publicity and who have been publicising the party on social media, have a field. The old Can Escarrintxo football ground was acquired back in March. It has staged plenty of music events. So why not this one? The venue would be far less bothersome to residents.

In Son Baulo, meantime, residents and hoteliers are greatly alarmed by the prospect of the two-day Reggaeton Beach Festival that is to be held on July 15 and 16. It isn’t just the noise, it’s the sheer number of people expected (up to 20,000). In addition, the site - three plots of land - has some environmental sensitivity. It is next to the torrent, while there are apparently branches from pine trees that haven’t been removed and which could represent a fire risk. Two hotels are right by this site, the Exagon Park and the Vell Marí. They are said to have been seeking legal advice.

This is a festival that runs from midday to midnight, so noise at night isn’t as much of an issue as it is with other events that can last until 5am or 6am. Even so, there will be the noise during the day and there will be all those people descending on Can Picafort for an event which last year was held at the Mateu Canyellas Sports Centre in Inca. That resulted in the organisers being sued by the town hall for damage caused, in particular to the athletics track.

The fiestas cause their noise and people by and large put up with it because they are the fiestas. Summer parties, beach festivals; they are a different matter entirely.

* Since this was written, Canet Rock 2023 has been called off. Nothing to do with noise or policing (the police actually congratulated the people who attended last year). The town hall has expressed regrets that it will not be going ahead. All relevant permissions had been in place. Something to do with the organisers.

Deirdrea Grace (right) with others at the Rafa Nadal Academy
Deirdrea Grace (right) with others at the Rafa Nadal Academy

Alcudia’s Deirdrea Grace heading for her fourth Special Olympics World Games

Alcudia’s Deirdrea Grace Pericas has been selected for her fourth Special Olympics World Summer Games. It is a record for any athlete participating in the same sport. The Olympic Flame, having travelled from Athens by foot carried by Special Olympic athletes en route to Germany, will be lit at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on June 17.

Deirdrea Grace will be competing in women’s singles and a new category called Unified Sports. It is a real effort at Inclusion for handicapped individuals to be part of a team outside of their classification as ‘Special Athletes’. Deirdrea Grace and Juan Carlos Chia from Palma both rank number one in Tennis Special Olympics España. They train at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Manacor and lead the Rafa Nadal Foundation’s ‘Mas que Tenis’ programme. They are the only two athletes selected from the Balearics and Joan Pons has now been their dedicated trainer for three years.

Both Deirdrea and Juan Carlos were selected for the last World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi in 2019 and returned home with silver medals in their respective singles’ categories. Lluis Mascaro from Porto Cristo, studying to be a sports teacher, will join Juan Carlos in his Unified Doubles Category after Juan Carlos competes in the men’s singles. Miquela Torrens, a Sa Pobla resident and at university studying nursing, is a former Balearic tennis champion. She will join Deirdrea Grace in her Unified Sports Category in the women’s doubles.

A Berlin TV station was recently at the Rafa Nadal Academy to film Deirdrea’s and Juan Carlos’s training sessions. This will be broadcast at some point during the games. All this coverage, so greatly deserved and mostly unheard of for Special Athletes, is in the true spirit of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics: “The fact is that exceptional children with mental disabilities can be exceptional athletes and through sports they can realise their potential for growth.” The motto of the games is: “Let me win but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”