Spain’s Summer Festivals
Among the popular attractions offered by Spain during the summer months is an extraordinary number of music festivals hosted throughout its geography, from the urban electronic of Barcelona’s Sónar, to the raver’s favourite FIB (Festival Internacional de Benicàssim) in Valencia to the Azenka Rock festival of Vitoria-Gasteiz (capital city of the Basque Country). But of all the locations perhaps the most varied and high-profile is Madrid which includes Mad Cool Festival (early July), A Summer Story (late June) and Noches del Botánico which this year celebrates its third edition. An eclectic festival of live musical performance that has an intimate feel thanks to its privileged surroundings and excellent programme of music and more. A rare hybrid of outdoor venue with a comfortable ambience that includes everything from folk to flamenco, samba to rock, electronic to jazz.
The venue for Noches del Botánico is the El Real Jardín Botánico de Alfonso XIII accommodated within the campus of the Complutense University of Madrid, situated to the North West of the capital city in close proximity to Palacio de la Moncloa, the official residence of the Prime Minister of Spain. This year the festival dates take place between the 21st of June till the 29th of July with a packed programme of varied artists that features a line-up of national and international artists. Established and up-and-coming acts that provide music fans with an opportunity to see some of their favourites perform live, or discover new talents within an idyllic setting, just a few metro stops away from Madrid’s city centre.
Highlights of the 2018 Edition
Among the headline acts this coming edition is David Byrne (July 10th) who’ll be touring his recent album American Utopia, his first solo album in almost 14 years. This prolific artist, perhaps best known as founding member of new-wave band Talking Heads and whose awards include an Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe as well as being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Veteran Spanish singer-songwriter Serrat (June 26th, 27th and 28th) will present his touring Mediterráneo da Capo featuring songs from his renowned 1971 album Mediterráneo which has been his muse for over 50 years. Brazilian singer-songwriter Caetano Veloso performs with his sons Moreno, Zeca and Tom (July 23rd), old and new material in what can be described as a family show. German avant-garde group Kraftwerk (June 23rd) present their 3-D show that fuses live performance, graphics, animation and robotics. The festival kicks off with a rare combination of two talents that straddle Europe and South America, Elvis Costello & The Imposters together with Seu Jorge (June 21st) and ends with Norah Jones, the multi-Grammy winning American musician whose work includes elements of jazz, blues, soul and country.
Madrid’s Great Outdoors
The gardens of El Real Jardín Botánico de Alfonso XIII include an area of 6,000 sq.m. with over 800 varieties of plants and shrubs arranged within a circular layout that provides the perfect conditions for an urban summer festival; open space, clean air, well connected to the city’s transport system and best of all, no neighbours. The covered stage with outdoor seating in raked stands occupies the centre of the precinct, while the WCs, first aid and other amenities are near at hand. Madrid’s summer nights can be very hot so Noches del Botánico has become very popular, offering not only a programme of music but also a gastronomic smorgasbord of foodtrucks as well as design market with fashion and jewellery items as well as other merchandising on sale.
A City within a City
The Complutense University of Madrid is one of the oldest universities in the world and dates back to the 13th Century, its name is derived from the Latin word for its first location Alcalá de Henares. The current location dates from 1927 when the Spanish monarch Alfonso XIII ceded state lands to establish the University City of Madrid which since the 1970s accommodates both the Complutense University and the Technical University of Madrid. A rambling area of parkland and green space with individual faculty buildings at the heart of which is the Real Jardín Botánico Alfonso XIII situated on the Av. Complutense between the faculties of Pharmacy, Information Science and Botany. With a student population of approximately 90,000 the Complutense is Spain’s most important university.
For visitors to Madrid during the Noches del Botánico we highly recommend making a reservation at either The Principal Madrid or the Hotel Único Madrid, both hotels are centrally located and within easy distance from El Real Jardín Botánico de Alfonso XIII. The Principal Madrid, located at the start of Madrid’s most lively street Gran Vía, at Marques de Valdeiglesias, 1 is a great choice for anyone who wants to be at the very centre of all that the capital has to offer. The Hotel Único Madrid on the other hand is ideal for visitors looking for a calmer stay, with an understated luxury that is nevertheless within easy reach of everything.
Because the venue is part of the university its transport connections with the city are excellent. The metro stop Ciudad Universitaria is only a few hundred meters away fromt eh precinct, as well as a number of bus routes including the 82, 132, F, G, U and N20.
Private parking is also available and a bicycle lane brings cyclists straight to the venue entrance.
The times vary according to the artist so check web for details.
The best place to find tickets is the official web, www.nochesdelbotanico.com where single entrances start from 45 Eur.
Check out the Our Madrid section of The Principal Madrid and the Hotel Único Madrid websites for up-to-date recommendations for dining, shopping, sightseeing and playing while visiting the city.