Guest Post: Portugal – International Sand Sculpture Festival
Sand. Good old sand. It’s been good to us humans. We can lie on it at the beach. We can use it to make sand castles. We can bury family members that we secretly hate up to their heads in the stuff. And we can use it to make some pretty awe-inspiring structures. Not everyone has the ability to do the latter, but the participants at this year’s International Sand Sculpture Festival in Portugal have honed their skills and will put your crumbling sandcastle to shame with their creations, as well as make you wonder how on earth they discovered that they have a special talent for constructing magnificent structures from the soft stuff. This year’s International Sand Sculpture Festival runs all the way through until October 25th, and takes place in Pera, in Portugal’s famous Algarve region, a popular holiday spot.
Getting to the festival should be a breeze, with cheap flights to Portugal being available from most major airports in the UK. You don’t need to worry about booking in advance either; First Choice have some pretty decent last-minute deals on offer. In between lazing on sun loungers and swimming in the hotel pool, visitors to the Algarve can enjoy marvelling at the works of art on display at the International Sand Sculpture Festival, which is now on its 11th edition, having started a decade ago in 2003. This year’s theme is ‘music’, so expect instruments, singers, musical notes, and more than a handful of abstract and possibly tenuous ideas being realised as the artists’ brains go into overdrive in order to express and impress. Full details and directions can be found here.
The preparations for the festival are long and arduous – artists don’t simply just show up and sculpt a treble clef or a cubist interpretation of Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl incident. Getting everything ready for the festival takes about eight weeks in total, with a technical crew watering, piling and compacting the sand, ready for the artists to sculpt whatever it is that they have in mind. Genres from across the musical spectrum are represented at this year’s International Sand Sculpture Festival, with rock, folk, classic and dance music among the inspiration for the artistic interpretations on display. And what interpretations they are – the sand sculptures can reach up to twelve feet in height, and over forty thousand tons of sand are used by more than fifty artists to create the sculptures.
Themes vary each year at the International Sand Sculpture Festival. Past themes have included Stories of Enchantment (think Cinderella, Pinocchio, Snow White), Wonders of the World, the Living World, Discoveries, and Hollywood Cinema. The artists participating in the festival are true talents, with penguins, E.T., the moon landing and mermaids being among the sand sculptures built at the festival. Needless to say, the event is one that’s popular with all the family, with little ones and the young at heart being particularly spellbound by the works of art on show.
The International Sand Sculpture Festival in Pera is a great way for people to bond over art, and get them discussing the unusually crafted creations that the artists are showcasing. Sure everything gets washed away and has to be continuously rebuilt, but putting an emphasis on art, no matter what form it may be in, gets the imagination whirring and may inspire kids to try something other than creating something in a vague castle shape with the bucket their parents bought them at the seaside beach shop. Then again, everybody has to start somewhere, right?
Disclosure: This post was written and sponsored by a third party.