Greater industry focus at Fira, marked this year by local citizen involvement

-       Professional activity at Fira Business Area increases with more industry professionals, more organisations, more speed date meetings and more people registered at the conference. -       The 18th Fira saw large crowd participation in the streets, 78% ticket bookings at venues and 20 fully-booked shows.

-       Professional activity at Fira Business Area increases with more industry professionals, more organisations, more speed date meetings and more people registered at the conference.

-       The 18th Fira saw large crowd participation in the streets, 78% ticket bookings at venues and 20 fully-booked shows.

-       The city of Manresa took a leading role, with considerable local involvement on a social, economic and institutional level.

-       Main artistic successes included: the opening show ‘In Somni’; the premiere of Roger Mas's new album; performances by Tomatito, Carles Dénia, Malpelo with Niño de Elche, Ester Rada, La Yegros and an acrobatics show by Les Ptits Bras.

-       New inroads: Fira advocated the pregons initiative, experimented with creation labs and upheld commitment to people-orientated forms of performing arts.

-       The 19th Fira Mediterrània Manresa will take place from 6 to 9 October 2016.

Manresa, 18 October 2015. Today the 18th Fira Mediterrània came to a close. This year, Fira has experienced a four-day performing arts extravaganza based on transformation, with overwhelming involvement by local residents. Fira welcomed 1,003 artists from 112 companies to the event, which hosted from Thursday to Sunday 302 activities comprising the official artistic programme, the OFF line-up, industry professional operations and the +diterrània programme with some 50 city-based activities. Audiences filled the streets and squares of Manresa, enjoying an extensive line-up, featuring broad-based popular culture and world music in equal measures.

Fira Business Area: the professional nerve centre of culture

Once again, Fira Business Area at the Technical Museum Manresa was flagged by attendees as one of Fira Mediterrània's focal points. Since Thursday, a total of 1,115 industry professionals and 594 organisations, 6% more than last year, attended a wide-ranging selection of professional activities. Of this figure, 848 (76%) were Catalan, 134 (12%) were from elsewhere in Spain and 133 (12%) were international. Registered organisations also increased this year by 4.21%, as well as speed date meetings by 22% and industry professionals registered at the conference by 22%. This is testimony to Fira’s steady growth and the continuity of its commitment to business, as well as its capacity to attract professionals from the culture industry.

Overall, Fira Business Area hosted 12 networking meetings, which included the second Wine & Fest Forum, a congress of World Music and Folk Festivals with a clear mandate to promote artists abroad. This year, 53 representatives from 30 international festivals attended -28 Europeans, one Canadian and one South Korean; 9 Spanish festivals - Aragon, Valencia region, Extremadura, Castell y Léon and Andalusia; and 14 Catalan festivals. Fira also hosted a range of events, which included a training session for people who work with fireworks and an event targeted at social transformation. Lastly, Manresa also hosted the launch of XTAC, the Catalan Network of Cultural Community Centre Theatres.

A new development at Fira Mediterrània this year was the launch of a New Performing Arts Fair, a showcase of productions still in the process of being created, or recently debuted, presented over the course of seven mini performances at different points throughout Fira Business Area. This new presentation format took place within the framework of the professional conference. This year, the conference focused on cultural innovation and entrepreneurship in relation to the industry’s potential and heritage, social, urban, economic and community-based aspects. A total of 253 professionals registered at the conference.

A people-orientated and street-based line up, with full venues.

High spectator numbers were registered at Fira, with packed street performance areas and squares. Since last year, Fira has been committed to delivering a people-orientated event, with an increase in free street performances, which represent 60% of its programme.

Audience figures at Fira reached 78.29%; tickets were sold out for 20 shows by Cia. Roberto G. Alonso (Zaquizamí), Teatre de lAurora (El Comte Arnau), Farrés Brothers (El silenci dHamelín), VAiVÉ with Brodas Bros, Xavier Bobés (Cosas que se olvidan fácilmente), the concert by Dhakabraka and Decanta with Joan Garriga and Carles Belda.

Fira got off to a great start with ‘In Somni’, by Cobla Sant Jordi-Ciutat de Barcelona and Kulbik Dance Company, a striking mix of sardanes music and hip-hop, and a resounding success among the general public and industry professionals. Another star act of this year's Fira was Roger Mas with the premier of his latest album ‘Irredempt’. The Solsona-born artist performed his new songs, accompanying himself on the guitar, with staging by Lluís Danés. Mas is one of the greats of this country, and with his new album the artist establishes himself as a forerunner of the cançó genre in Catalonia.

The co-production by El Niño de Elche and María Muñoz (Malpelo) of ‘Siete Lunas’ was certainly one of the most impacting performances of this year's Fira. Carles Dénia and Nova Rimaire also gave a sensational performance at Sielu on Friday, with their showcase of the rich music culture of Valencia to an audience comprising many foreign industry professionals. Other artists who gave dynamic performances include the Ukraine artists DakhaBrakha, Ester Rada with ethio-soul, the Argentinian singer La Yegros and the exciting recital by the legendary Tomatito accompanied by young band members.

Fira promoted three national figures of creativity with the Pregons project, which played on the concept of popular culture. The three renowned guests, Màrius Serra, Xavier Albertí and Carme Ruscalleda, filmed the advertisement spot for Fira, in which all of them asserted, respectively, that Catalan is the mother of all languages, all musicians worldwide have Catalan origins and the fork is a Catalan invention. The initiative upholds the rich surrealist and satirical tradition of Catalonia, championed by figures such as Pitarra, Pujols and Dalí.

Another project to emerge from Fira this year was ‘A Vore’, an experimental adventure based on the jota from the Ebro, performed on Friday and Saturday in the Kursaal courtyard. The jazz trio Astrio performed alongside the dancer Sònia Gómez and players of traditional music Pere Gumbau, Pau Puig and Carme Balagué, directed by Ramon Balagué.

As regards street performance, the Belgian group Les Ptits Bras attracted a huge audience in Plaça Major, in which was probably the most popular show, featuring a traditional circus performance. Demonstrating Fira's commitment to new types of people-orientated performing arts, the French company Les Mobilettes also attracted a big crowd with its fun show ‘Caffé Frappé!’, on the terrace of the Las Vegas restaurant. New types of performing arts at Fira also comprised the much-applauded performance by Xavier Bobés for just five spectators, as well as shows by Aflel and Companyia Ponten pie.

Fira marked by the involvement and participation of Manresa city local residents

Fira established different channels of citizen involvement, based on social transformation and popular culture, which enabled full participation and involvement by local residents. An example of this can be seen in the performance Públic Present 24 hores, in which Ada Vilaró spent the entire day sitting in Plana de l'Om and was visited by eight different organisations from Manresa. Another example of citizen involvement consisted of two cultural associations included in Fira's official programme: the human tower team Tirallongues de Manresa, which delivered its now customary display of human towers in Plana de l'Om on Saturday afternoon; and Xàldiga, which put on a fire display at 7.30 pm.

Third-year-secondary students from IES Pius Font i Quer School are set to showcase the result of the ‘5 Days to Dance’ project today, which consisted of 120 students working together over a five-day period to perform their choreography in the main auditorium at Teatre Kursaal. De Loopers dance2gethers, two experienced choreographers, headed the project which saw them adopt new roles and innovative communication.

The FiraEscoles initiative represents a long-standing collaboration between Fira and different schools throughout the city. The four productions produced this year were:  Zaquizamí, by Cia. Roberto G. Alonso, El Comte Arnau by Teatre de lAurora, El silenci dHamelín, by Farrés Brothers and VAiVÉ with Brodas Bros. A total of nine shows was put on, all of which were fully booked.

The city of Manresa was also involved with the economic aspect of Fira this year. Through the creation of Club Mecenes, launched in September, Fira saw local commitment from ten companies: Esteve, Iberpotash, Regió7, Dental Manresa, Kids&Us, Oller del Mas, Eco7, Món Verd, UBIC and Mundoabuelo sponsored Fira Mediterrània. This is an invaluable collaboration that Fira aims to uphold and promote in coming years.

Lastly, Fira's commitment to the city of Manresa was highlighted one week ago on 11 October, with its involvement in the 60th Anniversary celebrations of the emblematic programme Aires de Catalunya of Ràdio Manresa, with a concert at Teatre Kursaal, featuring Quico el Célio, Noi and Mut de Ferreries with Esbart Manresà and Orfeó Manresà, only days before the start of the 18th Fira.

Cuisine at Fira

A large range of food trucks filled the outdoor area of Taverna Estrella Damm, bringing Fira's selection of cuisine out of the Casino Gardens marquee, which had the effect of attracting more people. Those present were able to enjoy a range of sushi, creative Catalan pastries, Moroccan cuisine, and signature pizzas and hamburgers.

18th Fira Mediterrània Manresa Facts and Figures

Total number of industry professionals: 1,115 (compared with 1,053 in 2014)

Catalan: 848 (76%)

Rest of Spain: 134 (12%)

International: 133 (12%)

- 594 professional organisations

- 12,216 tickets

- 78.29% ticket bookings

- 60% free shows

- 20 sell-outs

- 253 people registered at the professional conference

- 220 fully booked speed date meetings

- 45 stands occupied at Fira Business Area

- 89 stands at Fira Passeig

- 17 Schools in Manresa and the Bages area that participated in FiraEscoles