Side Effects of Carnival Weekend in Sitges, Catalunya

A selection of costumes at Sitges Carnival


Speaking to locals about the Sitges Carnival the impression I got was that they enjoy the extra footfall from a business point of view but not the extra social cost. Firstly, many say that if you’ve seen the carnival once, you’ve seen it all. Twenty years of seeing the same thing every year would become tedious I imagine, rather like watching reruns of Friends.

The carnival at Sitges is a huge event in Catalunya and attracts a lot of visitors to the town. Sadly not all visitors are of sound character and the past weekend has seen an influx of beggars, pick-pockets and vandals, the latter only seeming intent on ruining things for others.

The aftermath of last night’s festivities included broken bottles everywhere, excessive litter, puddles of vomit, discarded carnival outfits in totally bizarre places (like the middle of a car park) and the general residue of human excesses and disrespect.

The beach front was alive today with the homeless (or pseudo-homeless) contingent who are able to afford liquor and tobacco but not food and who beg of, spit at, swear at and generally abuse non-generous non-beggars.

I have no issue with genuine homeless people who are in that situation through no reason of their own making but I can not find compassion for abusive opportunists who migrate to every social event like dehydrated vampires fighting over the last used tampon in town.

The mood at the beach today was bizarre and I mean that in a negative context. There is an arrogance about some of these interlopers which smacks of a self-righteous belief that they deserve hand outs from better-to-do strangers; a thoroughly misguided notion born of a false illusion.

Tomorrow is the final day of the carnival and the locals are expecting more hassle before the thing is done. Sitges is a beautiful town which deserves to be treated well and it seems that the carnival is becoming something of an albatross for the local people and council. The budget for security has been slashed massively due to Spain’s financial crisis and that means less manpower to deal with associated problems.

That said, I hope the festivities go well for the locals and those visitors who are there purely to enjoy it and that the town returns to normal quickly once the party is over.

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