Every year Sitges in Catalonia is home to a carnival which, according to regular festival fetishists, has become less of a spectacle with each passing year.
Twenty years ago the festival was like a small scale Rio Carnival with mirrorball floats and colourful costumes paraded by the largely gay community. Locals would join in with the cross-dressing and the whole place buzzed with a sense of freedom and excitement that was talked about for months to follow.
In two decades the carnival has evolved into something less personal and with the town flooded by waves of badly dressed interlopers ready to revel in the party atmosphere, the old guard see their tradition slipping away.
I witnessed the new wave of costumes and they pale in comparison with the once extravagant efforts of bygone festival goers. Wigs and lipstick are about as risqué as it gets and while some argue that it’s now a family orientated affair, that was always the case regardless of the colourful and almost pornographic nature of participants.
The real problem seems to be that the effort has gone out of the event. There are a few who have dressed up well and shop staff have taken to aping Minnie Mouse, slutty police officers or similar characters but the flair of the old days seems to have died.
Despite the lack of ostentatiousness, Sitges is enjoying the party atmosphere and visitors from all over Europe have flocked to the little Costa Dorada town to be part of the five days of fun. Maybe the costumes are less gregarious than previous but the guests are still determined to have a good time.
Please let us know if you found this helpful by leaving a comment or talk about it on our forums by clicking here.