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The Black Week

Negra is the week in Gijón

The Black Week

Negra is the week in Gijón

This new edition 2019 of the Black Week takes place in the vicinity of Naval Gijón behind the Aquarium, from the 5 to the 14 in July.

It has been almost three decades since Gijón hosted for the first time the popular appointment of his Black Week. A multitudinous encounter to get lost in a thousand and one cultural corners that is celebrated for ten consecutive days from the second week of July, becoming an unavoidable appointment of the summer of Gijón and one of the most important cultural events of the peninsula.

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Ten days that start with the arrival of the popular Black Train from Madrid, loaded with writers and journalists. This is the kick-off to one of the craziest weeks of the year, at least the most "black" week and, also, the week with more days, that's for sure. You can fully enjoy a miscellany of all kinds and artistic conditions, in a festival that is of any color and of all, always mestizo and multicultural, surrounded by official and alternative acts, bustle and punctuality.

There is everything: food stalls, book fair, more than 50 cafes and outdoor bars, lots of music, fairground attractions, circus acts, night festivals, ballroom dancing, illusionism and magic, multicultural street market, interracial playroom, outdoor video-chat, juggling, photo journalism ... in short, the popular festival of popular genres. Possibly because the scope of the crime novel has that generosity; it is not exclusive and, honoring its social commitment, it gives shelter to all the other genres: comics, cinema, science fiction, history, strangers, exhibitions, social movements, demands, subversives, emigrants ...

The bookstores they have a structure very similar to that of food and beverage stalls; the roundtables they happen in tents in the middle of the street, and the one that passes stays if it wishes it. With this a kind of contagion mechanism is promoted, which is that who goes to a rock concert can stay at a round table of literature, film, comics or photography, or who goes to a debate can end up going to the Wheel of Fortune. The lunatic-cultural menu of the Semana Negra is absolutely eclectic.

"The idea is to articulate, in a non-sinful way, the culture of minorities with that of the masses, in more festive, more elaborate forms. It is certainly the triumph of a savage populism, I admit it, and I know that this is something that makes the academies very nervous, "he understands. Paco Ignacio Taibo II, the Mexican writer, decided predecessor of this multievent from 1988 and current conductor of the Black Week. On one occasion he defined the event in Gijón as an event that "claims the right to read a book with one hand while, with the other, you hold a churro".

We are talking about a festival that announces annually about two hundred authors and artists from the universe of Novelty, but also historical, science fiction, comics or photography. And more than a hundred accredited journalists from almost all of Spain and the five continents.

There are near 300 linear meters of bookstores and a large space for the exclusive sale of second-hand books, in which to find, perhaps, that book or comic book that one has been looking for so long.

Someone puts in our hand the A Quemarropa, newspaper of the Black Week that is put on sale to the old one, with the sellers kicking the streets, and in which we are informed punctually of the activities of the day and the night.

We enjoy the inter-ethnic market Most popular in Spain, there are small concerts on all sides, street artists everywhere, a huge fair and two large exhibitions.

In the early morning, surprising once again, the program has planned a poetry reading for dreamers of the night, and gathers hundreds of people in reverential and respectful silence.

A Zeus who drinks a Pepsi, a devil who reads Quevedo and a hand from the Guernica that comes out of the ground ... What else ... the ferris wheel, in the amusement park improvised for these days. A great Noria that has also become a symbol of Black Week and that goes round and round, like us, prey to the frenetic activity of this festival, festival, contest, contest, solidary meeting, cultural event or whatever you want to call it.

We forgot: the black week has already got two Guinness world records, with the longest row of conga in Europe in which more than 6.200 people participated (1991) and the longest row of books (1.650 meters), donated by attendees to Cuban readers at 1994.

Text: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com

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