Festival Dos Abrazos in Santiago de Compostela, Spain
The paths through the City of Sacred Pilgrimage, otherwise known as Santiago de Compostela, have been smoothed over by centuries of foot travel. Most of the city exists, both literally and figuratively, in the shadow of la Catedral de Santiago which casts a somewhat stagnant and stale artistic environment outside of the church. However, Santiago is attempting to revamp its image with The Festival Dos Abrazos. The first annual summer festival of Gallician music, dance, multimedia and performance art, the intention of the festival is to rediscover less frequently traveled spaces of the city through outdoor art and performance.
As a tourist here for two weeks, the festival not only provides an exciting cross-section of Gallician culture but also pulls me around the city by way of roads less traveled. Highlights thus far include a midnight experimental jazz concert against the backdrop of illuminated stone sculptures and avant-garde dance performances set in less inhabited areas of the city. Although an initiative of most, rare is a festival that provides such a deep and generous slice of what a region has to offer beneath its tourist-friendly facade.
The festival will last until the end of August, culminating with a late-night theater performance in the Parque Alameda. If you're in the area be sure to check it out.