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They [festivals] evolve around artists, their art and their vision of society, which offer food for thought and feed dialogue.
Ján Figel’, European Commissioner for Culture
Santander: plaque commemorates 60 years of Santander International Festival
Santander, Friday, 02-09-2011
The Regional President, Ignacio Diego; the Mayor of Santander, Iñigo de la Serna; and the Director of the Santander International Festival (FIS), José Luis Ocejo, uncovered a plaque on Thursday, 1 September 2011, on the Porticada Square in Santander to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the festival, which is "among the elite" of European festivals.
After uncovering the plaque at Porticada Square, which was the venue of the FIS for nearly 40 years, Diego highlighted the role of the Square as a "driving force behind culture and the economy".
Furthermore, as part of the tribute that the Santander International Festival has made to this central part of the city, the President recalled that from 1952, when the festival began under Ataúlfo Argenta and José Manuel Riancho, until 1991, when the event moved to the Palacio de Festivales, the Porticada was "the music square of Spain", whose stage had seen international greats from music, ballet and theatre.
He said, for many Cantabrians and Santander citizens, including himself, the Porticada Square and the festivals in this place “are a nostalgic but enormously attractive memory,” while he valued its capacity to attract a specialised sector of tourism to the city of Santander each summer.
In reference to its previous period of cultural activity under the auspices of the Menendez Pelayo International University (UIMP) from 1948, the Cantabria President praised the festival’s history, as the FIS is part of “the elite” of European festivals and the oldest festival in Spain alongside the Festival Internacional de Música y Danza de Granada.
"The Santander International Festival has kept its commitment to the people of Cantabria and after 60 years continues to back excellence, for top quality and for a varied offer and always seeking the best," he said.
During the tribute the Mayor of Santander assured that this recognition has been "widely demanded" by the citizens of Cantabria and Santander, and added that the Porticada, which guarded the “most memorable memories” of the festival, still continues to be an important focal point of culture in Santander.
He further referred to the Santander International Festival as "one of our most important cultural resources" and deemed this year’s edition a success despite its reduced budget.
Finally, festival Director Ocejo thanked the collaboration of the institutions throughout the life of the festival that today maintains the "vigour and success" with which it was born 60 years ago. In his opinion, the combination of the Porticada with the FIS represented an "admirable formula of popular culture."
Related news: "60th edition of Santander International Festival draws to a close" (26 August 2011)