This year marks the 400th anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes. The author of “El ingenioso hidalgo don Quixote de la Mancha” died April 22, 1616. This year also marks the 44th Festival Internacional Cervantino – one of the oldest and largest celebration of Cervantes.
Celebrations are held all around the world, but there is none bigger than this Guanajuato, Mexico festival. It touts more than 700 acts and more than 3,500 artists over a span of 21 days in October.
Cervantino was officially named in 1972, in an era when people were acting out Cervantes plays in the town’s squares.
The festival lineup includes music, theater, dance, exhibits, academic activities, children’s activities and much more. On top of that, one of the festival directors, Marcela Diez has helped work out a way for people to attend this world-class festival for very little money. Last year, just under 400,000 people attended.
Some of the tickets this year cost as little as $15 MXN – less than an American dollar. The festival has lots of big sponsors but is receiving less government money than before. Often, Diez says, the festival barely recovers 50 percent of the box office. But despite this shortfall, she says the festival is important.
“The social situation in the country is not very good, so we need to let people access culture as easily as possible,” Diez says. “We see culture as hope. Art expresses most of our worries and hopes in life. In a way, it’s a cathartic situation for most countries when their artists express their way of looking at what has happened, or might happen, or will happen.”
Post by Beth Cortez-Neavel.