We called ourselves Sanfermin because ‚ÄúI liked the image very much of a mass of people running like the devil to save their lives‚ÄĚ


San Fermin Band Jackrabbit

We learn from an article by Natxo Velez¬†for eitbKultura¬†that the Brooklyn¬†band ‚ÄúSan Ferm√≠n‚Ä̬†is called this name because the group leader,¬†Ellis Ludwig-Leone,¬†liked the image ‚ÄúThe image of a mass of people running like the devil to save their lives‚ÄĚ.¬†The ‚ÄúSan Ferm√≠n‚ÄĚ group is bringing out their second CD in April with the name ‚ÄúJackrabbit‚ÄĚ. Back in January,¬†2014¬†we spoke about this group at Sanfermin.com¬†and since then the band has moved on from being ‚Äúpromising‚ÄĚ to now being a reference in the pop music world.¬†You can read the whole interview here.

From the text that eitbkultura shows us, we have taken the extract that refers to the Sanfermin fiestas:

Natxo Velez. eitbkultura.eus
First of all, I would like to ask you about the group‚Äôs name. Why ‚ÄúSan Fermin‚ÄĚ?
I just liked the image of a mass of people running like the devil to save their lives.

What part of the Sanfermin fiestas do you like best? Had you ever heard about the connection between the fiestas and the American writer, Ernest Hemingway?
I think I prefer the romantic version of Hemingway that the real one, which seems to be a bit confounding. In any case, I would like to check it out for myself!

Have you ever been in Pamplona during the Sanfermines fiestas? Will you take advantage of your European tour to pay a visit this time round?
No, I have never been there but I would like to visit them as soon as possible. I think this coming tour  in April we will be in London, Dublin, Amiens, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Paris and Brighton. Nothing at all in The Basque Country, unfortunately.

Running in front of the Bulls is dangerous, without any doubt, but don‚Äôt you think that bringing out a conceptual CD (‚ÄėSan Fermin‚Äô, 2013) in this day and age also has its risk factor?
Luckily, it seems you have bet on a creative aspect more than on a commercial aspect…

(Laughs) I think that bringing out any kind of musical work has its risk factor. Once your work has entered the public domain, anyone can say whatever they like about it, which is a bit of a frightening thought. But, personally, I feel that the satisfaction you get from bringing out the work more than compensates for any bothersome aspects that may arise.

You can read the complete interview here.

The II San Fermín international Photography Competition is looking at a fiesta for all ages


Jes√ļs Urrutia -gerente de Luminosos Arga-, David Martinez, Nuria El√≠a y su hija Irene -del Asador Martintxo-, Myrna Urrutia de Luminosos Arga y el fot√≥grafo y miembro del jurado Mikel Muruz√°bal.

We have just learned some details about the II San Fermin International Photography Competition which is being organized by¬†Luminosos Arga Digital. The organizer, Myrna Urrutia, tells us that this second consolidating edition of the competition hopes to ‚Äúshow that our fiestas are not dependent on any particular age group and that it is by no means only for the young adults among us. Children, middle-aged and senior citizens all equally enjoy the fiestas and indeed, everyone has their place in these Sanfermin fiestas.‚ÄĚ At the same time, she underlined during her press conference that the philosophy behind the competition lies in revealing a truer picture of the fiestas than that which is generally shown by the media. That is why some original images that go beyond the more clich√© images of the partying will be appreciated in this competition. The jury will bear this point in mind as well as evaluating the technical and artistic factors. The following names have been chosen to make up the jury members: Javier Villarreal, Jos√© Luis Pujol, Mikel¬†Muruz√°bal y Pedro Armestre. The Rules and Regulations of the competition may be downloaded here¬†(spanish language)¬†as well as getting more information on those details which particularly interest you.

The winning snapshot will receive a prize of 1, 200 euros as well as a prize-winning dinner for two at Asador-Sidrería Martintxo Cider house restaurant. There is also a case of wine from the Bodega y trujal La Perdigana winery and Olive Oil Company. Second prize consists of a cash prize of 800 euros and the third prize has 500 euros. Both these runners-up winners will also be invited to partake of a dinner for two at the Asador-Sidrería Martintxo restaurant and also receive a case of wine from the Bodega y trujal La Perdigana. The Jury will make an initial selection of 20 finalists and the winning photos will then be chosen from this group.

Subsequently, there will be two exhibitions held of the finalist photos ‚Äď at the La Morea shopping Mall and at the cider house restaurant, Asador-Sidrer√≠a Martintxo. Each entrant may submit up to five photographs before the closing date of 29th of July to the e-mail address:¬†concursosanfermin@digitalarga.com

At the press conference which was held at the Cines Golem located inside the¬†La Morea shopping mall, two – of the jury members were present – Jos√© Luis Pujol ‚Äď shown first on the left ‚Äď and Javier Muruz√°bal ‚Äď first on the right. Also shown in the image is the Cultural Councilor from Pamplona City Hall, Ferm√≠n Alonso ‚Äď second left ‚Äď and Myrna Urrutia, from Luminosos Arga Digital.

Last year‚Äôs winner of this competition was Pablo Lasaosa¬†with his photo ‚ÄúTradici√≥n‚ÄĚ which was selected as the best from among the finalists and now this year the search is now on for his successor.

© Pablo Lasaosa.

Beyond the Walls , Organisation


Escudo de Larraga

By Matt Dowsett

Pamplona. Home of the running of the bulls and the fiesta to end all fiestas. San Fermín draws a varied and international following, but very few foreign visitors are aware that Pamplona is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fiestas and bulls. Across Spain and beyond there are many hundreds of fiestas and thousands of encierros every year. Within the old walls of Pamplona a local drama is played out on an international stage, but beyond the walls are the unseen and untold tales of the people, the bulls and the streets of these other fiestas.

You see it out of the corner of your eyes in fiesta. It doesn’t truly register because you are busy enjoying yourself and thinking of the encierros, the parades, the fireworks or simply where to go for your next drink. But it is there, in the background and hidden in plain sight.

The cogs turn, the engine throbs and the wheels move forward. Fiesta races on, but there has to be someone there to keep it working; someone to look after things and make sure it all runs smoothly.

We don’t want to admit it, because frankly the idea interrupts our fiesta mood, but quite a few people actually WORK in fiesta, do the crappy jobs in fiesta or have to spend time organising fiesta. There are plenty of elements of fiesta that are not much fun and thankfully they are generally done by someone else; bar workers, street cleaners, Police, medical staff, shop workers and event organisers. For them fiesta is not simply a party, it carries responsibility too.

Marisa, the Mayor (Alcaldesa) of Larraga from 2007 to 2011, was kind enough to give me an intimate peek behind the locked doors of the ayuntamiento. While nothing like the scale of San Fermín, the fiestas of San Miguel still hold all of the elements of a typical Navarran celebration and still need a lot of organisation.

Marisa explained that San Miguel was once 9 days in September but was reduced to 7 and moved to August in line with so many others of the region. Organising these fiestas is ultimately the responsibility of the Mayor who gets help from a consejal as well as a commission that meets to agree the events and to gather the opinions of local people who are paying for everything after all. Fiestas are funded through local taxation, an amount that varies depending on what events are wanted and also the economic situation. The downturn, for example, saw a reduction in events in many fiestas due to families being skint.

Planning normally takes 3 months in Larraga and while the core of the fiesta remains largely the same, there are still new or different elements every year.

Not surprisingly the most stressful element is the encierro. There are no corridas in Larraga but plenty of encierros and capeas. The last thing the Ayuntamiento wants is the bad news from some ignorant person getting on the front page of the Diario de Navarra for getting hurt in the encierro. Fortunately injuries from the vacas are rare. All the same a bare minimum of two ambulances must be present and paid for, sourced from different ‚Äúempresas‚ÄĚ. These are not state and there is actually a lot of competition and ultimately the choice will be determined by price. Minor injuries are dealt with onsite and more serious cases result in a ride to Pamplona, about 20 minutes away. Marisa told me that the encierro caused her the greatest worry as well as the fears for the families of anyone getting hurt. The Police, or more specifically the Alguacil, (Sheriff), is ultimately responsible for safety during encierros, cohetes and fireworks and can inflict fines on the town if it has not acted in a safe manner.

For Marisa in fiestas there was a lot of work; making sure everything was running smoothly and attending events with little time for family and friends. She admitted that she felt some dread as fiesta approached because of this. But similarly there were many good things, from lighting the cohete to start the fiestas, to giving the youngest babies and children their pa√Īuelicos and the very moving day of the Patron Saint.

Despite an allegiance to a political party Marisa expressed her belief that politics and fiestas should be kept apart and that fiesta is for everyone. And like Pamplona on 15th July Marisa pointed out that in Larraga, when fiesta is over, life gets back to normal incredibly quickly, practically the next day.

Ikea promotes its new sales outlets with some Sanfermin images


Ikea Pedido encierro de Sanfermin

IKEA Espa√Īa¬†has presented its¬†new system of Retail¬†on its web page and it has made use of some Sanfermin images for its promotion. And the firm has done so because the first of these new retail outlets has been opened in Pamplona and as the presentation video itself explains :¬†‚Äúfor this great Chupinazo-type opening what‚Äôs better than to set up the first of the IKEA Retail Outlets in a city which knows how to celebrate things in high style: Pamplona‚ÄĚ. Here is the video.

The video recording shows us how we can have the opportunity to make out our order to the Swedish Factory from Mercaderes Corner or from the Plaza del Castillo, and then later on, go to the outlet to pick up the order. The Sanfermin atmosphere starts with the fact that the good news sets off a kind of Chupinazo adrenalin and then goes on to show significant places around the city such as the monument to the running of the bulls, the cathedral or the façade of City Hall. Then the video tells us that we have the possibility of making out our orders from any part of the stretch of the running of the bulls, or from the main square in the Plaza del Castillo or even from the monument to Sarasate.

The Sanfermin fiesta atmosphere continues by showing the moment of sending off the order to the Factory with a visual of a runner escaping from a bull and also showing a Kiliki figure as it chases after some kids. Finally, as we quietly await the delivery of our order, we can see a classic moment of a Hemingway figure having a drink at what seems to be a terrace bar in the Plaza del Castillo square.


ikea-plaza-del-castillo ikea-kilikis ikea-pedido-vino-toro

Once again Sanfermin fiestas show us the relevance of its image for many big commercial brands whenever Pamplona is being referred to. It is very clear that the Sanfermin icons and the terminology of the fiestas are easily recognizable in any corner of the Spanish state. We liked the video quite a lot.

Sanfermin, according to Alessandro Baricco, for Vanity Fair Italian Edition


Vanity Fair Italia San Firmino La corsa del tori

One of the best-written views taken of the last Sanfermin fiestas was that of the Italian journalist and writer, Alexandro Baricco, for Vanity Fair Italia. In the paper edition of this magazine published on the 19th of July in Italy, there were four full pages given over to the fiestas of Sanfermin. While the photos were exclusively dedicated to capturing The Running of the Bulls and the Txupinazo, the written text in fact hardly mentions The Running of the Bulls and most of the text deals with the customs that exist for the fiestas in general and more particularly for the opening Txupinazo event.

The headline of the report reads ‚ÄúThe Bulls are coming (and I have nothing to put on)‚Ä̬†and the subtitle takes us directly into the fiesta scene:¬†‚ÄúAnd so I went to Pamplona and I discovered that San Ferm√≠n is not the patron of that city and that my jeans made me look like a foreigner. I also discovered that it is not a good idea to be on the streets of the old quarter between 8a.m. and 8.02 a.m. I also learned that there exists a selfie which is better not taken and I discovered one of the 25 most elegant ways of dying.‚Ä̬†

This suggestive approach to the fiestas of San Fermín by way of Running of the Bulls indicates an original and distinctive kind of writer. Baricco is recognized worldwide for his literary piece
-Seday-¬†and other works such as City,¬†Ema√ļs¬†or¬†This Story¬†(Consult references¬†here). With the quality shown in his report here he approaches the level of acclaimed writers such as Dos Passos or Hemingway who discovered the greatness of these fiestas through their quality writing.

Alessandro Baricco arrived last 6th of July to Pamplona and he attended the first Running of the Bulls on the morning of the 7th after spending all of the 6th enjoying the opening Txupinazo event which continued into the morning of the 7th and the first bullrunning. We know this because he himself narrates this in his report and we also know that his agency had rented a balcony from one of the Balconies de¬†Sanfermin.com by Locals¬†in Estafeta¬†Street to watch the bullrunning event from there.¬†In his report Baricco tries to resolve the dilemma which he had long held in mind ‚Äď whether the Sanfermin fiestas were a total nonsense or whether they could really provide a fantastic experience which shouldn‚Äôt be missed by anyone. As a novel witness and participant in the whole scene he describes a passionate and intense initiation into the fiestas and mentions some of the norms to aid in getting a total immersion in the fiestas such as dressing up in the traditional all-white gear, for instance.

Baricco also tells us about the great surprise it was for him to discover that San Ferm√≠n is not, in fact, the patron saint of the city of Pamplona and develops the idea that having the fiestas in November was not a very wise thing to do and holding them in July was much better. He also asks himself why – given that there are many other places around Spain that hold bullrunnings, and in many cases in prettier places than Pamplona, – why is it that Pamplona has become the world-wide reference for The Running of the Bulls. His answer is clear ‚Äď it is thanks to the influence of¬†Ernest Hemingway and perhaps to two of his sentences from his novel Fiesta:¬†‚Äú I can‚Äôt stand the idea of seeing my life pass by and not do anything to live it to the full‚Ä̬†as well as the line¬†‚ÄúNobody really lives all his life to the full, except bullfighters.‚ÄĚ

Vanity Fair Italia Running of the bulls Alessandro Baricco

The Chicago Bulls will also hold a draw with a top prize of a trip to Sanfermin 2015 just as Kukuxumusu are doing


Run with the bulls Chicago Bulls 2015

The Chicago Bulls are going to hold a draw with a prize of a trip to Sanfermin 2015 thus joining in with the Kukuxumusu initiative of having a draw with the first prize of a trip to the greatest party of them all. The NBA ha set up a  special site on the web page of the Chicago Bulls for all those who wish to participate. However, admittance is restricted to all legal residents within the areas of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin and who are over 21 years of age. The competition has been open since the past 9th of February and the closing dateline will be the 23rd of March.

The top prize is a trip to Spain which includes a flight from Chicago to Madrid with three nights in a hotel in the capital. Then a further three nights in a hotel in Pamplona and special¬†VIP¬†treatment as guests at the Running of the Bulls event. Two runners-up prizes consist of special passes to watch the Chicago Bulls in action with access to the basketball court and the gift of a signed jersey from Pau Gasol. The prizes are sponsored by the Chicago office of¬†Tour Espa√Īa.

Chicago Bulls, Pau Gasol, running of the bulls