All this week, the popular tourist destination of Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol holds its annual fair, with locals dressing up in traditional flamenco and horse-riding gear and enjoying warm autumn evening weather in 33 specially set-up casetas – small, enclosed bars – in which they can sip a glass of wine or local sherry.
So far, so normal. But this year there is one big change: a blanket municipal ban on playing any music that is not traditional Spanish folk.
The townhall’s list of what may not be played, at the risk of a fine, is impressively thorough: “no funk, rap, reggaeton, electro, metal, alternative, hip-hop, reggae, heavy metal, punk, goth music or latin rhythms in general” – such as lambada, tangos and the like.
Even good ol’ country ‘n’ western, arguably the closest in its rural spirit, if not form, to Spanish traditional dances, is not permitted.
Fuengirola is not the first Spanish resort in favour of bizarre bans. In Mojacar, an attempt was made this spring to prohibit loud noises, including dice games on the terraces of bars and ‘taconear’ – stomping around on high heels – in apartments.
The ban was later eased to allow walking around in flats “within a reasonable noise limit” – whatever that means – and dice can now be played outdoors “at certain times of day”. DJs wishing to play ‘non-Spanish’ music at Fuengirola’s fair, however, currently face fines, day or night.