To create an awareness of the English Language in Terres del’Ebre through cultural and social activities
FESTIVAL REPORT 2017
The fifth edition of the Tortosa English Festival (TEF) took place over the weekend, March 31st. to April2nd. 2017. As the Festival grows from year to year, it gets bigger, with more events and more attendances. 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 various events!
Events and Activities
Saint Patrick’s Day Laser &Music Concert & Tapas – Town Hall Square 17th. March
Saint Patrick’s Day fell on a Friday this year and the Festival was presented and announced at this Pre-Festival Concert in the Town Hall Square.Three groups performed on a specially constructed stage with all the professionallighting and sound equipment: “Cor LaBinota”, “Hellfighters” and finally “SickRoom” a local heavy metal group!Before and after the first group, we staged a 25-minute Laser Show, complete with musical harp. The Town Hall was illuminated in green to celebrate Saint Patrick, as was the local Indoor Market. 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. Irish Tapas, Guinness and refreshments were provided by the Market and Paco Catering by Alqueza. (Attendance: 2000 +)
Festival Inauguration – University Rovira I Virgili
The Festival was officially opened by Mr. Ferran Blade, Director of the Generalitat Department of Culture. In his speech he welcomed the Tortosa English Festival to Tortosa and emphasised the cultural impact it was having on the people of Tortosa, especially the young. He praised the committee for volunteering to put on this Festival and he expressed his best wishes for its success. Ferran 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: 500)
Inter School Debate
This year we had three separate debates plus a special quiz for primary students. As well as secondary school students, third and fourth of ESO, we also had an inter university debate with representatives from 8 different universities 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 identity.
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 Teresanias, Tortosa represented by Jordi Bel, Anna Carlo &Sara Jaen.(Attendance: 500)
Book Reading Club for Adults
Lyudmila is the English Book Reading Club organizer and this year she invited Miguel Crespi to present a Power Point Presentation on Saint Patrick and some old Irish superstitions. After his presentation the group discussed many different aspects of superstitions and everyone contributed with their own fears, phobias and thoughts. Even some ways to negate superstitions were suggested!(Attendance: 25)
Tortosa Market Concert
This isthe second year that the indoor food market in Tortosa hosted an Irish Concert Evening. All the association stallholders opened their stall in the evening for the general public to come and enjoy! 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. 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 Galiciantunes!They brought the ‘Nuala Irish Dancers’ with them who performed a number of traditional Irish dances as well as encouraging the audience to participate in Irish style dancing! Both ‘Irish Corner’ and ‘Nuala Dancers’ had the crowd enthralled with their performances and everyone clapped and joined in with the merry music. Some Guinness was consumed! (Attendance: 1200+).
Manolitos English Premiership Football Jersey Draw
There was a draw in Manolitos Bar for two English Premiership Foodball signed jerseys - David Silva (Manchester City) &Oriol Romeu (Southampton FC). The tickets for the draw had been sold in advance as English Premiership Football is second in importance to Barcelona Football Club! (Attendance: 100)
University Video Presentation Competition
This year the University Roviri I Virgili hosted a video competition for their Marketing Students. Five teams entered the competition with a short two-minute video on Tortosa nd the Tortosa English Festival. The quality of the videos was very high and the Festival used the winning video in all their social network sites and general marketing and publicity. (Attendance: 50)
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 Silvia Panisello who has been performing children’s tales in English in Tortosa and further afield for many years. 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: 150)
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, Bar Ester & Risa Querol.
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. (Attendance 180)
This was the first year that we introduced Zumba Dancing in English. It was held in front of the Market and was led the Zumba Dance Leader from EUSES University in Tortosa. As well as putting on a fantastic Zumba display, the audience and public were invited to participate and everyone joined in this activity! (Attendance: 400)
Yoga in English Exercise
This event was presented again this year. The group of 25 participants was led by Yoga Instructor Pamela Sharp in the public library in Tortosa. (Attendance: 25)
FIFA Video Football Competition
This was another new event that was created this year. It was held in the Parc Restaurant in Tortosa. Over 80 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 six hours and the eventual winner waspresented with the prize of Canal Ocio products. (Attendance: 250)
Bar Quiz Night
The Bar Quiz Night was held in the Parador Hotelas 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 reasonable price and everyone enjoyed the evening immensely.“Fantastic Four” team won the first prize of a weekend trip for two persons toLondon, UK. (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 Xavier Altadillwho had entered the contest for the first time. His family and friends were very proud indeed! His prize was a weekend trip for two persons to Malta Island. (Attendance: 200)
Traditional Bingo in English
This event was another new event this year! Before the Karaoke singing we had two rounds of traditional bingo with fantastic prizes (Attendance: 250)
This was held again this year in the Tortosa Cathedral and was celebrated by Fr. Jordi Salvador and Paul John Turnerof the Anglican Church. The El Perello Coral Decibels once again performed many wonderful Gospel songs. (Attendance: 200)
The breakfast this year was hosted in the Nave of the Public Park 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: 250)
Car Boot Sale
This was another great event to this year’s Festival activity. 30 cars in total came. 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 car booters said they would return again next year. This was a new event 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. This has become one of the most popular events! (Attendance 700+)
Kiddies Entertainment Show
Thisis another new event for the Festival. The Travels of XXXXX was organised by the cultural department of the local Town Hall. This was a musical presentation in English with animation telling the story of Rolf. The performers from Barcelona were called “The Pinker Tones” and their show lasted for an hour. (Attendance 500)
Prize Giving Ceremony
In attendance were Ferran Bel, Mayor of Tortosa, Meritxell Roigè, Member of Catalan Parliament, Emili Lehmann, Tortosa Town Hall Council and many business leaders 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 250)
The 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 diary!
Committee and Volunteers with Mayor and Local Council Members
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