- Thousands of residents celebrate Christmas on the Orihuela Costa
The international beach festivals, which are a benchmark of the Christmas holidays on the Orihuela Costa were celebrated once again with lots of music, food, Papa Nöel costumes, swimming and barbeques on local beaches.
The largest of the celebrations was at La Zenia where over five thousand residents dressed up in festive costumes as they just wanted to have fun under the sunny December sun which, although it threatened to stay above the clouds in the overcast skies, eventually broke through to flood the area in bright sunshine.
It was an international party comprising of a British majority, who were enjoying Christmas alongside a large Scandinavian presence together with many Spanish and German participants.
The party on La Zenia was first enjoyed over ten years ago when a group of musicians from Just Brass Band first took their instruments down to the beach for an impromptu celebration. Since those early days the number of participants has grown from a couple of hundred to many thousands.
Initially the festivity was purely informal, although in recent years the Ayuntamiento decided that, for security reasons, there should be a police presence, however in recent years the councillor for the coast has attempted to take the event over as a result of which they installed a large stage and brought in ‘paid musicians’, the result being the easing out of the original Just Brass ensemble.
Last year the Expat band were not allowed to use the stage, which was occupied by musicians engaged by the Orihuela Ayuntamiento and an announcer designated by the Councillor for the coast, with Just Brass relegated to a small adjacent area. Similarly, despite being the founder band they were not allowed to strike up until after the professional band had completed their gig.
Musical Director Jayne Illingworth said that she feels that the band have been let down and now squeezed out by the council so they have no desire to play at La Zenia Beach again. However, in the true festive spirit the members decided that the band must play on, but at a different venue so a decision was taken to move along the coast to La Gea, Campoamor, beach.
Jayne said that the band just wanted to get back to a situation mirroring the early days where they could play carols and Christmas songs to an appreciative gathering who would listen and even join in, which was no longer the case at La Zenia which had now outgrown the original purpose.
And whilst La Zenia attracted it’s usual crowd the number at Campoamor was rather more selective and relaxed, perhaps two or three hundred participants, who all sang along to the band for an hour or more.
But the important people were most certainly there, not least of which were local journalists and radio presenters who I know will all spread the word and make the Campoamor occasion just a little bigger and better in 2019.