Sunday, May 9

The province’s festive entities reduce quotas to avoid the exodus of partners due to the pandemic

Costumes that remain saved from the Festival Commission “San Andrés” of Elche. | ANTONIO AMORÓS

The cancellation of festivities in the province as a consequence of the pandemic orforced a large part of the entities to reduce their quotas to a minimum, and even in some cases to cancel them provisionally, waiting to be able to resume the acts in the coming months. This situation has prevented a “massive flight” of partners. The president of the Undef, Pepa Prats, explains that the health crisis is “affecting the sector a lot” and that they, despite not receiving subsidies, have also “abolished quotas.” Prats assures that he has agreed with the Minister of Health, Ana Barceló, to maintain a meeting during the month of May «to assess the situation».

The racó of the Baver-Els Antigons bonfire, which remains practically without activity due to the covid, like the rest of the bonfires in Alicante. | RAFA ARJONES

The president of the Association of San Jorge de Alcoy, Juan José Olcina, sees with fear what may happen when normality returns and “the quotas have to be resumed”, adding that “many people will not be able to assume 100% of the payments and it is then when there will be casualties ». Meanwhile, he insists, there is no “evidence of a significant loss of partygoers.” Along the same lines, the president of the Alicante Federation of Moors and Christians, Juan de Dios Bermúdez, adds that “the problem will be when the situation normalizes, and the effects of the crisis on the festivities are really seen”; something in which the president of the San Blas Moors and Christians Festival, Mar Martín, also agrees. For his part, the president of the Association of Moors and Christians of Elche, Julián Fernández, recalls that “since the first state of alarm was decreed, activities such as exhibitions and contests have been tried so that the flame of the festival is a little lit ”.

Visit to the exhibition of steps of Santa Cruz de Alicante after the suspension of Holy Week. | PILAR CORTÉS

Luis Manchón, president of the Moors and Christians of Crevillent, trusts vaccination as the only way to stabilize the situation, although he points out that “the celebration will have to be different.” While normality recovers, they assure that they have not had casualties because the troupes and the association itself are not collecting membership fees since the beginning of the health crisis. The president of the festive entity in Santa Pola, Asunción Pérez, for her part, talks about the importance of maintaining the number of partners after the 2020 municipal subsidy was intended to alleviate the effects of the covid. In San Vicente, Mutxamel and El Campello there is no evidence that there have been casualties in the Moors and Christians Festivities, given that since they were not celebrated during 2020, the corresponding lists have not been requested, although the installments during this time. “From the Federation Union of Comparsas de Moros y Cristianos Ber-Largas, as there are no parties, there is no quota until it can be done,” they explain from the group.

The president of the Federation of Fogueres of the city of Alicante, Toñi Martín-Zarco, begins to look forward and has already “commented with the commissions that they think about the future.” From now on, he says, “the important thing will be not to disappear.” “If you have to have the most modest party for a few years, then it will be done”, adds Martín-Zarco, who represents a group of about 15,000 members in Alicante who, for now, has not suffered the consequences of the pandemic in the number of partners: «There have been no leaks, except for a few specific ones, which have been compensated with discharges. The commissions have had to reduce the payments, some to 50%, others to 80% and sometimes paying only small amounts to cover the rental of the headquarters and the payment of supplies. In the Bonfires of San Vicente they calculate about fifty casualties and explain that until they know if the acts will be carried out, a scale can not be made to decide the quota.

In relation to Holy Week, the Greater Board of Brotherhoods of Elche also adds that the fees have either not been collected or have become voluntary, so they do not receive dropouts. In the Greater Board of Brotherhoods and Brotherhoods of Alicante it shows its concern about whether “the situation continues and there may be a flight of people at the end,” according to its president, Alfredo Llopis, who emphasizes that “there are expenses (such as maintenance images and social work) and the only source of income is the membership fees.

In Benidorm, from the Association of Penyes Verge del Sofratge they explain that the «supporters» who paid the fees before the pandemic have them «saved» for when the Fiestas can be celebrated again. Meanwhile, everything is in “stand by” and it will only be possible to know whether or not there is a decrease in festivals when they can be celebrated again.

Lastly, from the Manager of Popular Celebrations of Elche, they have not taken stock of the number of festeros during the pandemic, but They estimate that a good part of the twenty commissions are having financial difficulties. The facilities have been closed for a year and they have no way of earning income to pay for expenses such as renting the premises. For this reason, there are commissions that are choosing to rent storage rooms “because they cannot bear it and some agree with owners of premises for reduction or forgiveness,” explains Fernando Jaén, president of the Elche party entity. This alternative has also spread among other celebrations in the province.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *