Aste Nagusia

Aste Nagusia is a nine day festival held in Bilbao and in the rest of the Basque country during the third week in August. In 2014 the festival is held between the 16th and 24th of August.

Aste Nagusia in Bilbao
Aste Nagusia in Bilbao

Aste Nagusia has been organized since 1978. The only exception was 1983 when it was cancelled because of flooding in Bilbao. Since 2001 the event starts with the launching of txupin (rocket) and reading of the proclamation at the Arriaga Theatre Square.

The festival is a real treat for all music lovers. They can enjoy in numerous rock, pop, jazz and classical concerts.

Aste Nagusia also includes fireworks,dance performances, strong man competition, “Concurso de Feos” (Ugly Competition), amazing gigantic puppets and many other attractions. Concurso de Feos is organized by a group calling themselves Txosna Moskotarrak. The winner of this quite bizarre competition is a person who manages to create the ugliest face.

All together there are 28 groups participating in the festival events. The oldest of them are Bizizaleak, Hontzak, Pinpilinpauxa , Satorrak, Tintigorri, Txomin Barullo and Uribarri.

Marijaia
Marijaia

The festival symbol is Marijaia. This big doll was designed by artist and writer Mari Puri Herrero (1942-). Each year a new doll is created. In 1997 a Marijaia got a song titled “Badator Marijaia” (“Here comes Marijaia”). The song was composed by a Basque musician and composer Kepa Junkera (1965-). The lyrics were written by a Basque writer Edorta Jiménez Ormaetxea (1953-).

The festival used to be ended by a burning of Marijaia at the Arriaga Theatre Square. Since 2009 Marijaia is burned while having a farewell walk along the river.