The International Festival of the Celtic World, which is the full name of this event, is an internationally renowned music festival held in the small town of Ortigueira, a 7000 people village in the north coast of Galicia. The first edition of the festival took place in 1978, as a result of the attempts of the Ortigueira Bagpipe School to have a local Celtic music festival like the one celebrated in Lorient, France. The Festival was also an attempt to claim the Celtic origin and culture of Galicia, and its traditional music and crafts.
There was a brief period when the festival didn't take place, from 1987 to 1995, due to financial struggles. It has since then grown both in number of bands and in assistance, at the same time as it has improved many of the facilities and services it offers. The International Festival of the Celtic World now receives around 100.000 visitors every year, and leading bands from all over the world can be spotted performing on its stages. The ancient tradition of this region of Spain is evoked and recuperated through the celebration of the Celtic music, in an incomparable site that works as the perfect scenario for the complete Celtic experience.
Originally a festival to celebrate the music of the Celtic world (Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, Isle of Mann, Brittany, Asturias and Galicia), the festival has in the recent years opened up to other musical genres like pop and rock, in an attempt to attract a younger crowd. There are two stages in every edition of the festival (sometimes a third one has been added): the main stage, situated by the seaside and called Estrella Galicia, where the headlining bands perform; and the Runas stage, dedicated to the promotion of emerging artists, which has in the last years gained a lot of notoriety. The main stage has seen perform such bands as Berrogüeto, Luar na lubre, The Chieftains, Terrafolk, Kepa Junkera or Carlos Núñez. Another important site of the festival is the camping area in the Morouzos pine forest, between the village and the sea, where the party goes on after the concerts throughout the night.
Many other activities happen around the festival during these 4 days of July, like a traditional craftwork fair, food and drink shacks and different workshops for kids and adults. The vibe and energy that drenches the small town of Ortigueira, the beautiful natural setting of the festival and the different activities and concerts make of this festival a must-see event of the Spanish summer. Don't forget your bagpipe!