FESTIVAL REPORT 2016
fourth edition of the Tortosa English Festival (TEF) took place over the
weekend, April 15th. to April 17th. 2016. This year it
was even bigger and better than ever before with many people attending the
various events and attractions. There is a huge interest in the English
Language in Tortosa and Terres de L’Ebre, which is very encouraging in that the
people understand the necessity for learning English in this modern competitive
era. There are many private English Language Schools in the area as well as all
the national schools focusing much more now on English. The aim of the TEF is
to give these English Language students an opportunity to practice their
English through English based activities, competitions and shows. Being able to
learn a language better without having to do homework is an advantage! Our
slogan is: “U 2 can have fun learning English!” And FUN we had at all the
Events and Activities
Pre-Festival Teenage Music Concert & Tapas – Parc Restaurant
The Festival was announced at this Pre-Festival Concert. Three groups performed on a specially constructed stage with all the professional lighting and sound equipment: “Cor LaBinota”, “Ensemble of EMMT” and finally “Hellfighters”. The crowd of youngsters and adults were thoroughly entertained until the early hours of the morning! There is a wealth of young music talent in Tortosa and this afforded them a perfect opportunity to perform in English to an appreciative audience. Tapas provided by the Parc Restaurant. (Attendance: 900)
Festival Inauguration – University Rovira I Virgili
The Festival was officially opened by the Montse Roche, Executive Manager EUSES. In her speech she welcomed the Tortosa English Festival to Tortosa. She praised the committee for volunteering to put on this Festival and she expressed her best wishes for its success. Montse thanked Jen Welti and Jo Chapman from the University of Swansea in Wales, who travelled to Tortosa especially to attend the Festival. Alicia Lores, Coordinator of the Department of Foreign Languages at the Department of Education for Terres de l’Ebre, Emili Lehmann from the Town Hall Council and Paul O’Riordain, President of the Festival, also spoke at the inauguration. Jen spoke of the strong cooperation between her university and the Tortosa English Festival. She also commented on the university support for the Festival by way of a student grant as a prize for the overall debate winners, and she said that they were looking forward greatly to welcoming this year’s students from Catalonia to the University of Swansea. (Attendance: 400)
Inter School Debate
This year we had three separate debates. As well as secondary school students, third and fourth of ESO, we also had an inter university debate with two faculties of EUSES taking part. The debate was monitored by Jen Welti from the University of Swansea. Eight schools from Terres de l’Ebre took part in the senior debate and five schools participated in the junior debate. The students were given a number of chosen topics a month in advance and they were asked to prepared arguments in favour and against these following topics:
- Television is
the main cause of violence in today’s society.
- High school students should wear uniforms.
- The only way to learn English is to study in an English speaking country.
- You don’t need to spend time learning English because Google translate can do
it all for you.
- People should spend more time learning the languages of their neighbouring
countries and less time learning English.
- A region’s cultural identity is more important than a nation’s cultural
- Doctors should earn more than footballers.
- Technology is an unnecessary teaching tool in the classroom.
- Regional wealth should be distributed evenly across the country.
- It should be compulsory for teenagers to get a summer job.
- Military service should be compulsory for all 18 year olds.
- The government should pay for all university education.
- Social media comments should be protected by free speech.
- Governments should be allowed to monitor social media activity.
- National identification cards should be banned.
- Health care should be free all countries.
- Are single-sex schools more effective than mixed schools?
- Are security cameras an invasion of our privacy?
- Is it ethical for companies to market their products to children under 12?
- Celebrities should be allowed to have their own privacy.
All the debaters spoke well and there were many heated and entertaining exchanges. The eventual winners were the students from Col-legi Teresià, Tortosa represented by Paula Sebastia, Laura Faabregues & Maria Dolors Raventós. (Attendance: 220)
Bilingual Historic Book Presentation
On Friday 15th of April, the exhibition gallery Taller Cinta Dalmau held the presentation of the book La presa de Sant Mateu del Maestrat pels anglesos a la Guerra de Successió (Onada Edicions), by historian Enric Querol. The book consists of an introductory study plus an edition of a booklet published in Valencia, 1706, which was translated into English and published in London in 1707.
The act was co-organized by Omnium Cultural in Tortosa, with the attendance of its president, Josep Moragrega. Cultural activist and writer Emigdi Subirats presented the author and the book. Enric Querol himself explained the importance of the British contribution to the Spanish war of Succession and the political and public debate generated, with famous writers such as Daniel Defoe and Jonathan Swift, or also the newspapers and pamphlets taking part. (Attendance: 120)
Tortosa Market Concert
For the first year the indoor food market in Tortosa hosted an Irish Concert Evening. All the association stallholders opened their stall in the evening for the first time in their history! They provided drinks and Irish Tapas and decorated their stalls with an Irish theme. All displayed their products in English language and all many learned some English words to practice with the many people who attended this pioneering event. The first part of the entertainment on the night was Mag Ignasi, a local Magician who specializes in performing magic in the English language. He performed many tricks and illusions and had us all spell bound with his deceptions and routines. The children were amazed and the adults tried to figure out how he did the tricks! Before and after the magic show, we had a fantastic performance from “Irish Corner”, an Irish Traditional Music group from Barcelona who travelled to Tortosa especially for this performance. They played a number of Irish traditional tunes, songs and dances as well a few Galician tunes! They had the crowd enthralled with their performance and everyone clapped and joined in with the merry music. Some Guinness was consumed! (Attendance: 1800).
Tortosa Market English Competition
Another event this year was the English competition among the stall holders at the indoor Market in Tortosa. All the members of their association participated in promoting the English language by way of English signs and names of products on sale. Many of the stall holders used the English language in their conversations with their many customers. This activity lasted for one week up to and including the Festival weekend. It drew a great awareness to the Festival’s other activities and certainly raised the public profile of the Tortosa English Festival. The eventual three winners were: Sorolla, Montero & Risa Querol. (Attendance: 500)
Manolitos English Premiership Football Jersey Draw
After the market concert, we had a draw in Manolitos Bar for two English Premiership Foodball signed jerseys - David Silva (Manchester City) & Juan Mata (Manchester United). The tickets for the draw had been sold in advance as English Premiership Football is second in importance to Barcelona Football Club! (Attendance: 120)
Video Presentation Competition
The presentation of the schools’ videos was held in the Public Library on Saturday Morning. This competition is open to primary school children. They were invited to make a short video on the topic: “how do you like my town”? Many videos were entered in the competition and the standard and quality of all the entrants was very high. The children embraced the general idea and seemed to have enjoyed their experience greatly. The eventual winners were the school from the Sagrada Família in Tortosa and their prize was a class school day-trip to the Delta in English. (Attendance: 250)
Kiddies Tale Reading
Like last year, this event was held in the public library in Tortosa on Saturday morning. The reading was performed in the main hall of the library on the ground floor. Many children enjoyed another short story by Anna Puigdefabregas. The parents and other audience members seemed to enjoy it also! The children were invited to read from the story books and we were both surprised and impressed with the high level of English these young children have. (Attendance: 275)
Book Reading Club for Adults
Montse Subirats, an excellent local English speaker who regularly reads at the English Book Reading evenings held in the Library, led the group in a short story reading. Afterwards, there was lively interaction as the group discussed and debated the finer points and merits of the story. This event was attended by local Catalan people with a strong interest in English language and literature. They found the session both entertaining and beneficial. (Attendance: 100)
Classic Car Parade
Another new and innovative event this year was the classic car parade. Many of these fine old classic cars gathered in the square outside the market in the centre of Tortosa on a very sunny Saturday morning. There were cars from England, Germany and Holland and the general public were able to walk around and marvel at their beauty and age. The owners were very accommodating and explained to people the full history of their cars and even allowed the public to sit in them. Afterwards they formed a procession around Tortosa led by the Policia Local (Attendance: 800)
American Basketball Demonstration
This was a repeat event introduced last year to involve the young people of Tortosa in the sport of basketball. The four members of CB Cantaires, Tortosa, performed some amazing basketball tricks in front of the Tortosa Market. They entertained their fans speaking to them in English and demonstrating various basketball moves. They even managed a small match, allowing the youngsters to get the better of them at times! (Attendance: 170)
Yoga in English Exercise
This was another new event introduced this year. The group of 16 participants was led by Yoga Instructor ………………… in the public library in Tortosa. (Attendance: 50)
Canal Ocio FIFA Video Football Competition
This was another new event that was created this year. It was held in Padal Colors in Tortosa. Over 40 teenagers played a number of FIFA video games. The event was attended by the players and their supporters who cheered them on at every given opportunity! The duration of the competition was four hours and the eventual winner was Aleix Lopez. Attendance: 200)
Family Entertainment Show
This was another new event that was created last year. It was performed and run by ‘KinderMusik’ from Ulldecona and this year the performance was held in the Public Library. Once again, it was deemed to be a great success. The leaders of the show encouraged full children and parent participation. They played games and sang songs for children aged 2 to 7 years old. The Library Director, Irene Prades, participated with the children, sitting on the ground and clapping her hands to the music! (Attendance: 250)
Bar Quiz Night
The Bar Quiz Night was held in the Parador Hotel as last year and the quizmaster’s job was performed once again by Malachi Haynes of Haynes Idiomes in Sant Carlos de la Rapita. There were eight different category rounds with eight questions in each round. The questions were a little more difficult this year and the thirty participating teams had to work hard to answer the questions. The Parador provided an excellent supper at a nominal price and everyone enjoyed the evening immensely. “Messi Tax Returns” team won the first prize of a weekend trip for two persons to Swansea, Wales. (Attendance: 300)
This event was held in the Parador Hotel immediately after the Bar Quiz Night. Like last year, there was a big crowd of people there to cheer the many contestant’s endeavours in the Karaoke competition. The level was sometimes very high and sometimes the singers were very brave! Master of ceremonies for the night was young Gerard Ginovart who did an excellent job of encouraging the performers to come up and try their luck at Karaoke singing! The winner in the end was Asier Lechuga who had entered the contest for the first time. His parents were very proud indeed! His prize was a weekend trip for two persons to Swansea, Wales. (Attendance: 300)
Traditional Bingo in English
This event was another new event this year! Before the Karaoke singing we had two rounds of traditional bingo with the fantastic prizes of two signed English Premiership Football jerseys – Angel Rangel (Swansea) & Santi Cazorla (Arsenal). (Attendance: 300)
This year the mass was held in the Cristo Chapel in the Purisima Convent and was celebrated by Fr. Jordi Salvador from l’Hospitalet de l’Infant. He was assisted by Jennifer Hoskins, Reader-in-Training of the Anglican Church of St. Christopher's on the Costa Azahar. The El Perelló Coral Decibels once again performed many wonderful Gospel songs. This celebration is now very much part of the Tortosa English Festival and brings our communities, both spiritual and cultural, together. (Attendance: 200)
The breakfast this year was hosted in the Patio of the Purisima Convent in Tortosa. Once again, the breakfast was sponsored by Ous Roig. The eggs were ‘free range’ from Happy Hens and were delicious! These were accompanied by Black Pudding, Bacon and sausage. The Irish Breakfast was served by our smiling young volunteers. Santi Pelejà and his happy team of senior volunteers served up a fantastic and filling Irish Breakfast for everyone who came. (Attendance: 300)
Cat Salut Health Check in English
This year Dr. Josep Clua and Nurse Elizabeth ………. Were on hand to check the heart rhythm of festival participants. (Attendance: 100)
Car Boot Sale
The car boot sale was held in the Placa Dolors Square, between the Public Library and the Purisima Convent. The weather was glorious and many car-booters came to display their goods. A mixture of native English speakers and Catalans brought their cars full of household goods that were unwanted by them. Business was excellent and all the sellers said they would return again next year. This car boot selling idea is new to the people of Tortosa and once they understood the concept, they came in great numbers to look over all the interesting things for sale. (Attendance 800+)
Gascó Kiddies Magic & Entertainment Show
This is another new event for
the Festival. Our young volunteers performed their own theatre act on the theme
of the Irish Leprechaun! It was written, performed and directed by themselves
and was greatly enjoyed by both adults and children alike. Afterwards, Mag
Ignasi, once again, amazed the children with his interactive magic show. (Attendance
Sheffield Treasure Hunt
The Treasure Hunt
this year took place in the Old Quarter of Tortosa. The route began from the
square in front of the Purisima and led the hunters through the old part of the
city, then up to the Parador Hotel where refreshments and snacks were provided
at the half-way point by the Parador. The second half of the route brought the
participants back down through the old parts of town, finishing at the door of
the Cripta. The eventual winners were Jose Carlos Altava Prada & Family.
Prize Giving Ceremony
attendance were Ferran Bel, Mayor of Tortosa, Meritxell Roigè, Member of
Catalan Parliament, Emili Lehmann, Tortosa Town Hall Council and many business
leader of Tortosa, including Daniel Cortijo, President of the Small Business
Associate of Tortosa. Ferran Bel, the Mayor of Tortosa, gave out the prizes and
thanked the committee for organizing the Festival, the participants in each of
the various events and competitions, as well as the audience and supporters of
the Tortosa English Festival. He emphasised the importance of this festival for
Tortosa and Terres de l’Ebre. He recognised the cultural and tourism value of
the events and pledged his support for the future. Paul O’Riordain, Festival
President spoke of the committee’s great work in putting on this year’s
festival. He thanked all the volunteers, the sponsors and of course, the
participating public. Paul emphasised the need for young people to improve
their knowledge of the English language to secure their future. English is such
an integral part of European business nowadays that it is imperative that
candidates for key jobs have a high level of English. The various sponsors and
promoters of the Festival were on hand to present the prizes with the Mayor to
the deserving winners of the Festival events. (Attendance 500)
Fourth Tortosa English Festival was a great success with many new events this
year. The weather was glorious and the participants enjoyed all the events.
From the Youth Concert in the Parc to the Festival Prize Giving in the Cripta
the various events were well attended and the level of spoken English was very
high throughout. Our special relationship with Swansea University and Enjoy
English Experience, as well as our sponsors and the Town Hall, make the Tortosa
English Festival a reality and a very important event in the cultural and
social calendar of Tortosa and Terres de l’Ebre. The young and older volunteers
and committee work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the festival runs
smoothly and efficiently. We look forward to the fifty edition of the Tortosa
English Festival which will be held on the weekend of March 31, 1 & 2
April, 2017. There will be a special Pre Festival Concert on Saint Patrick’s
Day, Friday March 17th. 2017 – be sure to put these dates in your
Irene Fores, Gerard Ginovart Senior, Gerard Ginovart Junior, Emili Lemann, Marc Pelejà, Santi Pelejà, Núria Móra, Paul O’Riordain, Irene Prades, Francesca Estorach, Clara Curto & Pau Subirats.
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