Friday, 2 September 2011

Five extraordinary human towers during Sant Fèlix in Vilafranca

As so often, the day of human towers celebrated on August 30, as a part of the Festa Major in Vilafranca del Penedès (Alt Penedès), presented us with the most impressive human tower exhibition of the season.

The local team, Castellers de Vilafranca – who had just returned from their tour in India – unfortunately did not manage with their two main challenges for the day. Their 2 by 9 with only one single additional support ring (Td9f) fell apart before being crowned and the monster construction 3 by 10 (3d10fm) made the top child hesitate, and collapsed while being dismantled. In spite of this, "the green team" (els Verds) proved their extreme strength by completeing (descarregar) three of the technically most advanced constructions (gamma extra): they opened with their 25th 4 by 9 dismantled via a pillar (4d9fa), and followed up wiht a 2 by 9 with two additional support rings (Td9fm) and a pillar of 8 (Pd8fm). Except for that this team also completed a solid 4 by 9 (4d9f).

The Minyons de Terrassa had put on a brave face by, in the last days before Sant Fèlix, announcing that also they were practicing a construction of ten levels. However, since they did not manage to mobilize as many “shirts” as needed they had to lower their ambitions. During the exhibition they still completed one magnificent gamma extra construction – a 2 by 9 with two additional support rings (Td9fm) - and also a 4 by 9 (4d9f) where they demonstrated an amazing will power. Unfortunately, they were not successful with their pillar of 8 levels (Pd8fm) – it collapsed just a second before being crowned.

Also the Colla Vella dels Xiquets de Valls drew a lot of applause this day by completing a gamma extra construction never seen in the plaça de la Vila of Vilafranca: an 9 by 8. Just imagine how many seasoned castellers you need to build a human tower of eight levels with nine people per level! Apart from this they completed a 4 by 9 (4d9f) and 3 by 9 (3d9f), but saw the top of their final pillar of seven levels (pd7) fall off right after it was crowned.

The fourth team, Colla dels Joves Xiquets de Valls, completed a 2 by 8 (Td8f), but saw both their 3 by 9 (3d9f) and their 4 by 9 (4d9f) collapse after having been crowned.

As always, la diada castellera de Sant Fèlix was a highly popular event, although taking place on a Tuesday this year. At the start of the exhibition, several thousands of people squeezed together in this emblematic square for castells and many of them were still there when it ended some good four hours later.

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Read more in Spanish - la Vanguardia - and in Catalan – Ara and el 3 de Vuit.

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I do not yet master my camera, which is the reason why I missed "the green team’s" first 4d9fa - my personal favourite of all human towers!

In my post on la diada de Sant Fèlix from 2010 I added some practical things to think about if you plan to come here next time and also made a brief comment on the names of the Catalan human towers.

In my post on the 2009 edition I explained why the plaça de la Vila of Vilafranca can rightly claim to be the number one human tower square of Catalonia (la plaça més castellera).

In my post on the 2008 edition you can at least see that I was there. ;)

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