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Friday, January 28, 2022

Carnival in danger due to refusal of the Port Authority to give up land for the stage

Stage for Carnival alongside the port in Santa Cruz in 2019

After the meetings being held with the carnival groups last week on Thursday and Friday, we had hoped by now to have had some news of the plans for Santa Cruz Carnival 2022, but it appears that they are not yet finalised and everything is still very much up in the air. 

The first meeting of the year of the Port-City Commission ended with a disagreement between the two institutions that, if not resolved, could lead to the suspension of the Santa Cruz Carnival in June. The council say that the Port Authority's refusal to give up the land on which the Christmas Concert is held so that Fiestas can set up the Carnival stage means, in practice, leaving the capital without adequate space to host the contests and galas, and respect the security measures that the current health situation entails.

The Port Authority explained that "the Port of Santa Cruz will not be able to assume the celebration of the Carnival in the port esplanade proposed by the City Council, as it is a plot in which they carry out port operations and whose availability is a priority for this use”. "This proposal to occupy the port for 60 days for 12 continuous events completely departs from the agreement that had been reached with the City Council to hold specific musical acts in the port area in a number not exceeding three a year", concludes the Port Authority.

Then yesterday, news was that Santa Cruz [Council] had given the Port Authority 24 hours to come to an agreement or the Carnival is in danger. Ultimatums aren't usually a successful strategy and, anyway, didn't they already say no? But, it appears that the Port partially capitulated, proposing to make the pier esplanade available for around a month - up to a maximum of 45 days - as opposed to the two months (60 days) the council had requested, to host the celebration of the Carnival events that will be held in the month of June.

This was revealed Thursday by the president of the Cabildo, Pedro Martín, who acknowledges that work is being done to find "a way out" after several "date changes" in the winter festivals due to the restrictions of the health pandemic. "It is not about doing an event in one day, there are many days and it complicates the situation quite a bit," he admitted, stressing that the Cabildo is also trying to change the entire programming of the Tenerife International Centre for Trade Fairs and Congresses so that the month of June is released. Martín has also proposed the Tíncer insular athletics centre which is "quite large, outdoors and has stands installed", and could be available from May 15 to June 31.

So, in response, Santa Cruz City Council has now ruled out organizing the Carnival in the Port and mayor, José Manuel Bermúdez, has "given orders" to the technicians to look for a new location. And accused the Port Authority of a "lack of respect". 

If you've got this far and still have a will to live, you've done much better than me! Following this has been like watching toddlers have a spat. And it's still anyone's guess when and where any carnival events will take place this year, which anyway, will only be galas and contests and not public events: there will be no parades or street parties