About an hour up the motorway from where we live, there is a small town called Lorca. It is famed for its spectacular Spanish fortress high on a ridge overlooking the town, under which the motorway passes, tunneled through the mountain – and it is famous for the spectacular Rock Festival that is held there every year, bringing the cream of heavy rock from around the world to this small corner of Spain.
The last Lorca rock Festival. Shame on you, Mr Mayor.
But, while trawling the internet yesterday, Miki discovered that the Lorca Rock Festival is no more. This is just one more blow in a worrying trend. You see, they have a new Mayor. The Mayor doesn’t like Rock, or apparently, visitors, and has put such a huge amount of obstacles in the way of the organizers that they have found it impossible to continue. So the Lorca rock festival has died. How stupid can one man be? How short sighted? His vision is narrower than the tunnels that run beneath his Fortress. Much the same is happening in nearby Mojacar. The Mayoress here makes no secret of her dislike of the UK residents and tourists, to the extent that tourism here as all but dried up and the season, once as fulsome as a watermelon has shrunk to the size of an unpalatable prune. English couples, working on a dream of running a bar or some other service business here, are returning home dejected by the dozen. This area in particular, has experienced growth courtesy of the tourist euro from the Brits, French and Germans for over 30 years. Now it’s thanks very much, and goodnight.
The lack of foresight in Lorca and Mojacar is breathtaking. Only a couple of decades ago, these people were selling Asparagus by the side of the road to make ends meet. Now, every peasant that had a horse and cart drives a Mercedes. Mojacar was a dead village until the then Mayor (a man cut from considerably finer cloth than the current incumbent) offered up the empty houses at a tenner a throw – artists and musicians flocked here, and the village was reborn. They may have come a long way financially, but social finesse has been sacrificed on the altar of ‘progress’.
Does the Mayor of Lorca not realize that his town is known around the World because of the Lorca rock festival? Because of the song “Night train to Lorca” by The Pogues? Make no mistake Mr. Mayor, if you continue with this madness, your town will be little more than a forgotten archaeological footnote, barely visited.
Similarly, in Mojacar, the Mayoress is playing with fire. The Spanish tourists rarely spend money in the bars, the tourist industry locally is a fragile one, and is collapsing before our very eyes.
I must qualify this by saying our village, Turre, just 5 minutes away, seems to be run a little differently. But all it takes is a change of Mayor, someone who forgets, or who is too young to remember why this tiny forgotten area began to flourish in the first place, and it can happen here, and anyway, all these villages are in the same area, and the residents are hostages to the same ‘tourist eco-system)
The world economic crisis has badly affected the tourist trade, and steps should be taken to bolster it, not kick it while it’s down. The Brits, for one, are creatures of habit, and when they get into the habit of discovering that the likes of Florida and Turkey can offer more for less, they won’t come back.
Bring back the Tourists, and more importantly, BRING BACK THE ROCK!
Kev Moore – Turre, Spain Nov 1, 2010