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The eight best music festivals in Spain this summer

Benicassim is just one of the great festivals in Spain this summer. Photo: AFP

With summer upo..



Benicassim is just one of the great festivals in Spain this summer. Photo: AFP

With summer upon us, music festival season is in full swing.

Primavera might have concluded on Sunday, but theres still plenty to look forward to on Spains festival calendar, with everything from Basque forest raves to all-night beach concerts on offer from June through to August.

Here are The Locals highlights.

UVA, Ronda, June 8th-11th

Beautiful Ronda. Photo: sepavone/Depositphotos

A newcomer to the Spanish festival circuit, UVAs big draw is its fairytale location, nestled on a hillside in a converted 15th century monastery in the beautiful town of Ronda. Boutique events like this offer a contrast to the gargantuan spaces and hectic mobs of festival giants like Sónar and Primavera – UVAs capacity of 500 ensures a far more intimate and relaxed experience. Its the perfect setting for a laid-back summer shindig soundtracked by underground darlings like Call Super and DJ Sports.

READ ALSO: Ten things that only happen in Spain when summer arrives

Sónar, Barcelona, June 14th-16th

LCD Soundsystem are playing this year. Sonar. Photo: Sonar

Undoubtedly one of the main events of Spains festival season, Barcelonas Sónar celebrates its 25th anniversary this June with headliners Gorillaz, LCD Soundsystem and Thom Yorke. Sónar has always booked interesting and diverse acts that reflect contemporary trends across the electronic music spectrum, and this years lineup is no exception: Friday nights SónarLab will see house favourites Bicep and Bonobo share a stage with grime icons Wiley and Preditah, while over at SónarPub by Thunder Bitch you can catch a live show from Swedish rapper Yung Lean before an early morning set from German techno star Helena Hauff.

READ ALSO: What's on in Spain: June 2018

Its also worth remembering that if you cant afford the substantial admission, Sónar is an event that reaches beyond the festival site and takes over Barcelona for a few days, with various Off-Sónar parties occurring at different venues around the city showcasing top DJs at affordable ticket prices.

Bilbao BBK Live, July 12th-14th

Situated in the picturesque Basque Country, Bilbao BBK Live offers a great balance of pop-oriented and underground acts. The main lineup, which includes Gorillaz, Florence and the Machine and Childish Gambino as headliners, is counterbalanced by the electronic-focused Basoa, a festival-within-a-festival that takes place in the forest and this year plays host to Glasgow heroes Optimo and Korean party-starter Hunee.

Mad Cool Festival, Madrid, July 12th-14th

Located just south of Madrids centre at Caja Mágica, recent arrival to the festival circuit Mad Cool is a worthy rival to Primavera in Barcelona, boasting an impressive roster for a young festival that includes rock heavyweights (Pearl Jam, Arctic Monkeys, Queens of the Stone Age), alternative acts du jour (Wolf Alice, Young Fathers, Slaves) and dance music luminaries (DJ Koze, The Black Madonna, Daniel Avery). As a bonus, the festivals early evening start time offers the perfect excuse for attendees to get out and explore Madrid during the day.

Festival Internacional de Benicassim, Valencia, July 19th-22nd

Festival goers chill out on the beach at the festival branded Glastonbury-on-sea. Photo: AFP

At FIB, hordes of raucous young music fans from across Europe descend on the coastal town of Benicassim to see bands play through the night on the beach. If that perfect recipe for a summer festival isnt enough make you pack your bags and head to the Costa del Azahar, then the stellar lineup should convince; this year sees The Killers, Pet Shop Boys and Liam Gallagher headline the main stage with Eric Prydz, Belle and Sebastian and Madness playing over the weekend.

Arenal Sound, Valencia, July 31st-August 5th

Just down the coast from Benicassim lies the town of Borriana, where another beachside festival is giving the well-established giant a run for its money. Its long duration in the height of summer generates a real party atmosphere, with a line up this year including Crystal Fighters, Azealia Banks and Steve Aoki.

DGTL Barcelona, August 10th-11th

Photo: DGTL

Closing out the summer festival season is this mid-august two day party, which exports the Dutch techno festival DGTL Amsterdam to the industrial Parc del Fòrum on the outskirts of Barcelona. Taking place at the hottest time of the year and favouring the uncompromising four-to-the-floor techno music of artists like Carl Craig, Maceo Plex and Amelie Lens, hydration will be essential.

DCODE, Madrid, September 8th

If you dont want to commit to several days worth of partying, consider this compact one day festival in Madrid. Coming in just after the main festival season on September 8th, DCODE manages to pack plenty into its short timescale: this year, Albert Hammond Jr, Jorja Smith and The Vaccines will take to the Universidad Complutense de Madrid campus to mark the citys last hurrah before the end of the summer.

By Rory Jones

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Spain’s far-right Vox seek to make gains in 28 May local and regional elections



Spain’s third largest political group in the national parliament, the far-right Vox party, is looking to make gains in the local and regional elections due to be held across the country on 28 May.

Since it entered a regional government for the first time in Castilla y León last year, Vox has attacked the unions and pushed polarising positions on social issues, including abortion and transgender rights.

It is now poised to spread its influence beyond the sparsely populated region near Madrid, with the party hoping to make gains in the elections at the end of May.

Surveys suggest the main opposition, the right-wing People’s Party (PP), could need the support of Vox to govern in half of the 12 regions casting ballots, just as it did in Castilla y León last year.

Polls also indicate the PP is on track to win a year-end general election but would need Vox to form a working majority and oust socialist (PSOE) Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and his coalition government from office.

Vox leader Santiago Abascal [pictured at a recent rally in Chinchón, near Madrid] has called the PP-VOX coalition government in office in Castilla y León since March 2022 a ‘showroom’ and ‘an example of the alternative Spain needs’.

It is Spain’s first government to include a far-right party since the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.

In Castilla y León, Vox has slashed funding to unions, which the party has vowed to ‘put in their place’ if it comes to power nationally. Trade union UGT was forced to lay off 40% of its staff in Castilla y León last month and scale back programmes to promote workspace safety. Spain’s other main union, the CCOO, is reportedly preparing to follow suit.

Vox has also angered LGBTQ groups by refusing to allow the regional parliament to be lit up in the colours of the rainbow, the symbol of the gay rights movement, for Pride festivities as in past years when the PP governed alone.

In addition, the regional vice-president, Vox’s Juan García-Gallardo, has railed against a law passed by Spain’s leftist central government that extends transgender rights.

The 32-year-old lawyer warned earlier this month that women would now be ‘forced to share locker rooms with hairy men at municipal swimming pools’.

Vox’s most contested initiative was a proposal that doctors offer women seeking an abortion a 4D ultrasound scan to try to discourage them from going ahead with the procedure.

The idea was swiftly condemned by Spain’s leftist central government, and Castilla y León’s PP president Alfonso Fernández Mañueco stopped the measure from going ahead.

The issue highlighted the hazards for the PP of joining forces with Vox, which was launched in 2013 and is now the third-largest party in the national parliament.


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Spain – Gas falls below 90 euros per MWh for the first time in almost two months



The price of TTF natural gas for delivery next month has fallen below 90 euros on Friday for the first time in almost two months and closes a week marked by the decision of the European Commission to cap gas with a drop of 29, 36%.
According to data from the Bloomberg platform, gas closed this Friday at 83 euros per megawatt-hour (MWh), 8.9% less than the day before and the first time it has lost 90 euros since last October 31.
After months of negotiations, the EU agreed on Monday to set a cap of 180 euros on contracts linked to the Amsterdam TTF index with a price difference of at least 35 euros above the average price of liquefied natural gas in the markets.

EU countries agree on a cap of 180 euros for gas with the support of Germany
In a report this week, the Swiss investment bank Julius Baer indicated that the chances of the mechanism being activated are low and pointed out that the chosen formula was not very effective in avoiding the multiplier effect that gas has on the price of electricity. However, he reiterated what was said in other previous reports: “Energy supply risks are minimal and prices should continue to decline in the future” due to the availability of raw materials from Asia to offset cuts from Russia.

Gas tends to fall during the hot months due to lower demand, but this summer it has reached historic heights as European countries were buying to face the winter with their tanks full and reduce their dependence on Russia. The price fell in September and October due to lower demand once the warehouses were full due to the high temperatures at the beginning of autumn, but in November it picked up again and 66% more expensive.

This article was originally published on Público

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Spain – The retirement age rises to 66 years



Ordinary retirement at age 65 ends for those who have contributed less than 38 years. In fact, 2023 will be the last year in which this can be done since it will be necessary to have a contribution career of a minimum of 37 years and nine months to be able to retire with the reference age of the last century, since it was established in 1919, and once the year is over another quarter will be added to be able to do it without cuts in the benefit.
This requirement means that to access ordinary retirement at age 65 without loss of pay, it will be necessary to have been working, at least, since April 1985 for those who exercise this right in December 2023 and since May 1984 for those who intend to do it in January.

More than ten million contributory pensioners
In the last decade, and coinciding with the implementation of the delay program, the real retirement age of Spanish workers has increased by one year, from 63.9 in 2012 to 64.8 in mid-2022, according to data from the Financial Economic Report of the Social Security included in the General State Budget.

Contributory pensions will have a historic rise of 8.5% as of January as a result of the disproportionate increase in the CPI, while for non-contributory pensions the revision will be 15%. This review will place the average pension of the contributory system at 1,187 euros per pay, while the retirement pension will rise to 1,365, the disability pension will reach 1,122 and the widow’s pension will reach 847, as a result of applying the 8.5% increase.

The Social Security forecasts point to next year, and while waiting to find out the real effects that the rise may have on the payroll due to its “call effect” to bring forward retirement given the opportunity to alleviate with it the penalties for anticipating it, the number of pensioners will consolidate above ten million, with almost two-thirds of them (6.37) as retirees, to which will be added 2.3 million widows and almost one affected by work disabilities.

This record number of pensioners will place the cost of pensions at 209,165 million euros, the bulk of which (196,399, 93.8%) will be used to pay benefits, including non-contributory ones. Health care has a budget of 1,890 million euros and social services another 3,791, while the remaining 7,144 are dedicated to operating expenses.

On the revenue side, the largest contribution comes from the contribution chapter, which will amount to 152,075 million and will leave the gap with contributory benefits at 36,765.
The imbalance will be covered by a contribution of 38,904 from the Government, to which is added a chapter of others worth 18,116 and which includes everything from sanctions to asset disposals, among other concepts.

Read more of this from the source Público

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