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Every year millions of Brits flee to the Canary Islands for a holiday. The islands are blessed with a warmer climate than the UK, even though we know this isn’t difficult. Sitting off the coast of Africa means that even winters are pleasant. Gran Canaria for instance averages temperatures of around 20°C in January and February, which is only about 6° lower than their average August temperature.
So if you’re thinking of a winter break to sunnier climes, Gran Canaria is a good bet. Especially for music lovers. January and February are when several music genres festivals are held on the island. OK so it isn’t going to be party central, but for lovers of other types of music it could be a great winter break.
Festival de Musica de Canarias
This month long festival starts early in January and runs through until February. It is a well respected classical music festival throughout Europe and attracts many top performers. The Gran Canaria Philharmonic Orchestra and other international orchestras, as well as soloists and conductors are keen to grace the festival with their presence.
Next year’s festival is scheduled for January 10 – February 19th.
Festival Internacional de Musica Popular
In late January/early February there is a popular folk music festival in Las Palmas. Like the classical event, this one also attracts many visiting performers and concerts are held. With music comes dancing and there’s plenty of it.
Festival de Opera
This festival also begins in February but goes on until June. During this time various operas are performed in Las Palmas including Puccini’s La Boheme, Mozart’s Die Entfuhrung aus des Serial and Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera. All the main events are held at the Teatro Perez Daldos.
Gran Canaria’s WOMAD takes place in mid May when you can see and hear continuous concerts of world music for 3 days. There will also be workshops, demonstrations of traditional dancing and more. Admission is free. The original concept was created by Peter Gabriel and now WOMAD takes place in several venues around the world.
Festival Internacional Canarias Jazz
Mid July brings the sounds of international jazz to the islands. It lasts for about 3 weeks around the islands. Keep an eye on the calendar for next year’s line up in Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Lanzarote.
Other festivals – Festival de Canarias
February is Carnaval month. Las Palmas sees most of the action, although there are festivities around the island. The concentration is on parades, competitions, drag acts and Latin dancing. Not only do they elect a Carnaval Queen but also a Carnaval Drag Queen. There’s a strong party atmosphere and often a host of famous celebrities. It’s the biggest carnival after Rio so well worth a visit.
Don’t miss this annual event full of colourful characters proudly parading the streets in a variety of costumes. It will bring out some of the best drag costumes. The 2013 event will take place in Maspalomas over 9 days starting on 4th May. Don’t miss the Friday Drag Gala, pool parties, art exhibitions and some great club nights.
Traida del Aqua
August in Telde sees Traida del Aqua or Waterfight. Fireworks, parades but the main attraction is a huge water fight. Thousands come to watch and take part.
Festival of Almond Blossom
You’ll find the celebration all over the island but Tejeda is the focus. This is a celebration of the coming spring and the opening of the Almond blossom. Folk dancing, concerts, almond wine tasting and food stalls will help you enjoy this seasonal festival.
Get in the festival groove on cheap holidays to Gran Canaria.
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Kelly is both a glampacker and a resident travel agent at Beat the Brochure. Kelly is a solo travel and Europe expert starting her travels as a rep in Ibiza. Kelly dreams every day of living in Hawaii with a very hunky, tanned man and would be much closer to this dream if it weren't for a high heel obsession.