Fira B! 2017 gathers almost 8,000 spectators and over 500 accredited participantsNúria Abad
More than 750 meetings only within the Professional Sessions
As its third edition comes to an end, Fira B! is becoming firmly established as a major Balearic music and performance arts fair
Palma.24.09.2017.- Fira B!, the Professional Balearic Music and Performing Arts Market, held from Wednesday 20th to Sunday 24th September in Palma, is bringing to an end the third edition of this “space for creative flow and knowledge transfer between industry professionals, around areas such as financing, distribution and hiring outside of the islands”, as explained by Francesc M. Rotger, coordinator of Fira B! and director of the Institut d'Estudis Baleàrics. This institution has organized the event as one of the main initiatives of the Ministry of Culture, Participation and Sports of the Balearic Government.
Amongst the attendees, it is important to note the presence of a large number of industry professionals, amongst which were the members of the coordinating team of Spanish performing arts fairs (Coordinadora de Ferias de Artes Escénicas del Estado Espanyol - COFAE), such as for example FiraTàrrega or MADferia. Feria de Artes Escénicas de Madrid. The executive director of FiraTàrrega and member of the directing team of COFAE, Oriol Martí, highlighted the fact that, although it has emerged recently, Fira B! “is a mature event that is surprisingly well organised and has already become a key gathering for the industry in the Balearic Islands, and is attractive and useful for industry producers”. Martí added that “Fira B! is held at a good moment of the year” because it coincides with the period when theatre producers start to work on the programmes for the upcoming season, which then “become set around April”.
Attendees in general have valued very positively the qualitative jump forward that this year's event has offered, also with regards to the venues that have been chosen, both for the shows and for the Professional Sessions. The organizers of Fira B! very much appreciate that being able to use spaces such as Ses Voltes or the gardens of Sa Nostra's Cultural Centre has allowed a great deal of unplanned meetings to happen.
The manager of MADferia, Salvador Sanz, has on his part highlighted that “fairs are always expected to provide good quantitative results, which are complicated to extract, and there is an aspect that is often ignored but which is of key importance: the qualitative side of the event”. In this sense, he explained that Fira B! “was open to the general public, which facilitates a social interaction in Palma that holds huge potential. As future editions unfold, this will turn the city around”. Sanz has praised the organization of the fair: “Fira B! knows how to combine a duality that is not easy, between the freshness of a young project and the maturity of an experienced team”.
Fira B! in figures
A first estimate of the audience numbers, and with the final count still pending, the third edition of Fira B! has attracted about 8,000 spectators who have attended a total of 44 concerts, including two extraordinary concerts within Nit de l'Art (26 Balearic bands, 3 Catalonian ones, 2 from Valencia and 1 from mainland Spain) and 24 performing arts shows (20 by local companies, 1 from Catalonia, 2 from Valencia and 1 from Argentina), who have performed in 12 different exhibition spaces that are dotted around the city of Palma. Last year, as a reference, Fira B! gathered 5,000 spectators. In total, 206 musicians and 142 actors have performed. The presence of guest producers has been essential, and thanks to a good timetable planning, most professionals have been able to attend a large number of shows.
Out of the 509 accredited participants for the Professional Sessions, 259 were professionals (150 local venues, 70 from mainland Spain and 40 international ones) and 250 were artists. The latter have come from the Balearic Islands (mostly Mallorca), Catalonia, Valencia, Madrid and the Basque Country. Others have come from further afield: various European countries such as Germany, Holland or Britain, and Canada or Argentina, amongst others. As well as the programmed meetings and the organised sessions and activities, many informal meetings have happened in and around the different spaces offered by Sa Nostra Cultural Centre. These conversations have favoured many new connections, facilitating partnerships, exchanges, contracts, proposals and new projects.
The Professional Sessions have managed to generate, along the 6 sessions throughout the four days of the event, more than 750 programmed meetings between professionals and artists. Also, 17 content-filled conferences have been held, with over 800 people assisting.
Fira B! closed on Sunday 24th with the première of the show Calbó o el viatge d'Orfeu, as part of the commemorative Year of Pasqual Calbó y Caldés. This took place at 20h at the Xesc Forteza Municipal Theatre within Fira B!'s programmed activities.
The theatre play, which commemorates de 200th anniversary of this enlighted painter and writer, is directed by Menorcan Pitus Fernández and performed by Marc Joy, Enka Alonso, Joan Manel Vadell and Josep Orfila. With this show, jointly promoted by the Menorcan Island Government and the Balearic Ministry of Culture, Participation and Sports, one of the main aims of the celebration is achieved: to bring to the audiences one of the most relevant Menorcan artistic personalities of the 18th century: Pasqual Calbó y Caldés (Maó, 1752-1817).
The piece has relied on the collaboration and advice of Miquel Pons Povedano, an expert on the painter's biography and autonomic commissioner of the Calbó Year. The play spans Calbo's lifetime and experiences: his birth in Maó, his training in Venice and Rome, his adventures at the palaces of Viena, his discovery of American exotism, his return to Menorca and his later years, when he focused on his educational side through his scientific writings.
The programme for the closing Sunday included, as well as the final piece Calbó o el viatge d'Orfeu, the representations of Carinyo, by Perez&Disla, at 12h at the Teatre Principal; Smiley, by Somni Produccions, at 16h at the Mar i Terra Municipal Theatre; and Melosa fel, by AMC Produccions, at 18h at the Catalina Valls Theatre.