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The controversial and overcrowded Saloufest begins.

29 Mar

 “It´s huge… It´s back… and it´s better than ever!“. That´s the advertisement of the polemic Saloufest, that will take 9.500 British University students to the township of the Golden Coast this year for taking part of a sport festival which, actually, also involves long nights of revelry and wildness. It´s the thirteenth edition and it´s breaking records of participation (last year 8.500 people came). Never before too many young people had been signed to the Saloufest -In Salou (Tarragona)-, which in his web page claims to be “the best festival of the world” and guarantees “the best week of your life” for a little more than 200 euros.

The young people, aged 18 to 25, are students of english, scottish and welsh universities. They will arrive in three batches: 4.000 participants arrived yesterday after a long travel from their hometowns that more of them made by bus. The students will lodge in seven hotels and apartments in Salou untill March 29. Since April 1 to 7, a group of 4.500 young people will arrive in Salou. Similarly, the next day 1.000 students will land on the city.


Some of the students in the Pacha disco.

The college crowd travel to the municipality anxious of fun, party and sex. Although in their baggage, the students have room for sport clothes, because during the day they usually play sports. This year include two new modalities, “handball and riding“, according with Doreen Straatman, accountable for Sol Active Tours, the company which organize the event. However, much of their baggage are full of colorful costumes because after the sunset, thousands of young people -generally scantily clad-, join next to hotel pools for then going out to streets looking for alcohol.

Transformed in herds of Hawaiians, superheroes, playboy bunnies and cheerleaders, they travel through a route of bars and clubs until morning. Some of them end in fast food restaurants, tumbling in sidewalks or urinating in corners. Much of them, finish looking for parts of a lost costume. Despite the college crowds, Straatman argues that never have been serious incidents or altercations.

In addition, facing the neighbors complains about noise and the image of drunkenness tourism that project for some of them, Straatman defends the date helps to extend the tourist season. “They come in off season and they’re more seen, but the noise an English student can do is the same that others”, he says. In a economical crisis context like the current one, the festival leaves substantial economic benefits to Salou, about five million euros.

The organization puts on offer trips to Port Aventura, parties in the Pacha’s disco, routes in boat along the Golden Coast, breaks to Barcelona and daytime celebrations in the pool with happy hour. The Saloufest has passed barely unnoticed until 2010, when a participant reported a violation. Then, the festival had an international repercussion when it was discovered it was advertised by using lures such as drinking alcohol from a shoe or having sex in an elevator. The Generalitat was about to retire the seal of familiar tourism off Salou. After the torrent of critiques, the organization suppressed this kind of devices.

Source: El País    Photo: Google Images