The coronavirus couldn't stop the Sitges International Film Festival of Catalonia, a symbol of the town's identity. And it won't be able to stop the town's most distinctive DNA chain either: its Carnival. Of course it will condition and limit it. And that's the way it has to be to keep everyone safe and healthy. But in the same way that you can't put gates on the countryside, you also can't lock down an entire town's pride.
The infection that has been spreading for weeks now is the locals' excitement over changing the appearance of Sitges' streets and stores, over bringing color to them and dressing them up just the way the Carnival King Carnestoltes likes them: daring, crazy, impossible and surprising.
This year's program won't include the traditional 'Disbauxa' and 'Extermini' (debauchery & Extermination) parades, both unique and inimitable. And neither will there be (jeeeez, what a shame!) public or in-person events (we had planned theater, concerts and even children's activities). But yes, at the very least, from February 8th to 17th, the streets themselves will become the center of attention. They won't be seeing costumes as they parade by, but they WILL be wearing them. And to enhance the atmosphere, Sitges' 'Collas', or Carnival troupes promise to shine by dressing up store windows in each one's own characteristic style.
As you can see, it’s all set to go. And it's all set to go thanks to the passion and dedication of the Sitges Carnival Commission, which has been guided over the last few months by a very Sitgetan mantra: Nothing is impossible. 'Nothing', stresses the Commission's 'presi', Núria Escarp, who transmits (yes, transmits) positive energy: "It was very clear to us that, taking all the necessary measures and following all the precautions, we had to hold the Carnival this year; we want the streets to be filled with color, movement and atmosphere, and we want the locals to participate and enjoy themselves. And even though it won't be exactly what we would like it to be, the Carnival will be present." Escarp admits: "We need the Carnival, because it's something we all feel deep inside, as well as for our mental health, because it will help us all."
There's another reason why the Carnival can't stop precisely this year. And that is to provide visibility and dynamism to those sectors in Sitges that are having the hardest time: restaurants, stores, hotels, theaters... The president of the Carnival Committee, a DJ by profession, knows exactly what she's talking about, "which is why we trust that the Carnival will also contribute a little to encouraging all the great professionals and hosts we have in town."
The main disappointment, and on this point we all agree, is, as we mentioned before, we won't be able to organize public events and, furthermore, many of you won't be able to travel to Sitges due to the current mobility restrictions. But we want you to feel close to us, so we will be broadcasting everything that happens inside and out of the Carnival on our official YouTube, Facebook and Instagram channels. And it will be done in the style it deserves: outlandish, very outlandish; crazy, very crazy. Even if it's only on screen, you should just go with the flow.