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Festival Asalto is an International Festival of Urban Art that happens in Zaragoza, Spain every September. 2018 was the 13th edition of the festival and I was lucky enough to return to Zaragoza to see the festival in action. I really enjoyed learning about what the festival is, who gets involved and experiencing a local, cultural and creative event.
If you live in or around Zaragoza, you are thinking of visiting Zaragoza in September or you are an Urban Art enthusiast, this is why you should visit Zaragoza for Festival Asalto and all the information you need to visit!
An English Translation of Festival Asalto’s website can be found here.
It’s an urban street art project with the aim of bringing colour and life to unused spaces in and around the city of Zaragoza, the capital of the Aragon region. The organisers bring world class street artists from all over the world to Zaragoza every September to work on a piece of art either in an unused space or a space that could do with a splash of colour.
2018 marked the projects 13th year and every year it reinvent’s itself and goes from strength to strength.
Festival Asalto is a community project, the organisers and the artists work with the locals in the chosen neighbourhood each year to ensure that they are happy with the designs being proposed and the location of the pieces. The artists get involved in day to day life of the neighbourhood and usually their pieces will reflect the people of the area or a message that wants to be conveyed.
For example the below 2018 piece by Portuguese artists from HalfStudio translates from Spanish to English as ‘Look after what you have, and fight for what you want’. An important and motivational reminder to the people who live in the neighbourhood.
To SEE the festival, have a look at my Youtube video here:
Every September for about 7-10 days.
The artists are given time to start their pieces and on the last weekend of the festival an event is held for the local community and the wider community of Zaragoza to explore the neighbourhood and street art, and enjoy the stalls, music, and events that are put on to mark the end of the festival.
The dates in September do vary so be sure to check out the official Festival Asalto website for exact dates for the upcoming year.
The location of the festival and the neighbourhood of where the street art pieces are put changes each year. In the past the location has been very close to the city centre, for example in Las Armas. In 2018 when I visited the festival it was in the neighbourhood of Oliver, a 20 minute drive from the city centre.
Changing the location means that Festival Asalto can bring colour and life to more of the city with each passing year.
It also means that neighbourhoods that may not have had a reason to be visited by people who do not live there, are now visited and will become more well known as they now have a reason to be visited.
The two photos below show two different schools in Oliver that are now full of colour. The first school was picked because it had no colour at all and the children wanted to have a nicer school so that other children would want to visit it!
The end of Festival Asalto falls on a weekend and this is when the people of Zaragoza can come together and enjoy a weekend of fun.
I visited the Oliver neighbourhood on the second to last day of the festival to find the local park decorated in balloons and flags. There were market stalls set up selling local artisan products, there was music playing, a bar selling drinks and people enjoying picnics in the park. This is the general set-up on the last weekend of the festival no matter what the location is.
The organisers arrange workshops throughout this weekend as Festival Asalto is all about participation and learning. These workshops are for adults and children and they are a great way to not only learn and have fun, but to support the organisation of Festival Asalto.
Workshops and Activities can be booked directly on Festival Asalto’s website.
Another way to get involved in the festival and support it is to go on a guided tour of the street art. The guided tours run a few times each day at the end of the festival and don’t cost much. You will visit all of the pieces and have each street art piece explained to you so you can understand the intention and meaning behind them. The tours are run by the organisers who have had very close contact with the artist throughout the whole project and are therefore able to provide detailed explanations for each piece and answer your questions. It’s likely that you’ll also be able to see the artists finishing the last parts of their work.
Guided Tours can be booked directly on Festival Asalto’s website.
Alternatively you can visit the neighbourhood and the street art once the festival has finished. Some pieces will stay on the walls for just a few weeks, others will stay for a few years. It depends on what happens to the buildings. Oliver can be visited by taxi or by public bus from the centre of Zaragoza.
We were told on my guided tour that visiting the neighbourhood a week after the festival has finished is a great way to see all of the designs completely finished and spot some small new ones that may have been done after the official end of the festival.
If you want to visit Oliver and the 2018 street art, Oliver can be visited by taxi or by public bus from the centre of Zaragoza.
If you want to organise a group tour of the street art in the future, contact the organisers of the festival directly as they will be able to help you with this.
For more ideas of things to do in Zaragoza and how to spend your time in Zaragoza, have a look at these posts – Things to do and see in Zaragoza, Spain & 48Hour Guide to the Cultural Spanish City of Zaragoza.
The festival is very popular with the locals. Zaragoza’s calendar is full of festivals and events and Festival Asalto is definitely one of the most popular events of the year. The final weekend of the festival is good for families and groups of friends as it offers a nice relaxed and fun atmosphere.
Tourists are welcome to visit the festival, the official website is kept up to date and has plenty of information in regards to the dates and location. Visiting the final weekend of the festival when the guided tours are running, the fair and the music is on would really enhance a trip to Zaragoza and enables tourists to see a really local and cultural side of the city.
I was told that Festival Asalto has been rated in the top 5 festivals of urban art in the world so people who are urban street art enthusiasts should also make sure they visit Festival Asalto in Zaragoza!
Here are more pieces from the 2018 Festival Asalto in Oliver, Zaragoza!
Festival Asalto really is an incredible project. The festival is brightening up unused spaces and the lives of people who live in Zaragoza not only when the festival is on, but in the future months and years. The dedication and passion from the organisers and the artists is extremely humbling and I can see why Festival Asalto plays a big part in the Cultural Program of Zaragoza.
An English Translation of Festival Asalto’s website can be found here.
Have you been to Festival Asalto before? Are you from Zaragoza and go every year? Let me know in the comments below or by tweeting me @wandering_quinn!
For more posts on Zaragoza including things to see and do, places to eat and places to stay see:
I visited Zaragoza and Festival Asalto with Zaragoza Tourism but all opinions and thoughts are my own.