"If they want a festival for themselves, they should pay for it." This is how blunt the leader of Vox de Dénia, Félix Redondo, has been regarding the Festival of the Humanities which was held last October in the city. According to Redondo, the money that the council has invested in the event "would be better in the pockets of the neighbors."
These statements were issued by the Vox spokesperson during a press conference that took place this Wednesday with which the mayor wanted to convey his position against tax increases such as water and IBI, as well as the expenditure of representation of local government. According to Redondo, given the current economic situation, they should have alleviated the expenses for the neighbors instead of demanding more money.
To emphasize the expenses that he considers unnecessary or inopportune, he has given as an example the campaign for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, since he considers it "absurd" and that it does not stop violence, and the recent Festival of Humanitats. Regarding the latter, he has been very insistent, since he believes that the more than 100.000 euros of investment should be used on the citizens themselves. However, in the case of the D*na Festival he showed a completely different vision, since when asked by journalists he indicated that he was completely in favor of its celebration and any investment in it because "it provides tourism" and has the support of well-known figures, such as Quique Dacosta. On the other hand, he assures that the guests of the Festival de les Humanitats are not known, it does not provide tourism and that, in short, it is a festival "for them."
The Vox leader has not detailed who he refers to by that "they", but everything seems to indicate that he is referring to the current local government as the main architect and beneficiary of a festival that he claims only serves "to promote the 2030 Agenda." However, the main organizer is not the Dénia City Council, but the Dénia Creative City of Gastronomy Foundation, whose main patrons are Baleària, the Association of Hospitality and Tourism Entrepreneurs of the Marina Alta and the Marina Alta Business Circle. In fact, both Reme Cerdá, president of AEHTMA, and Benito Mestre, president of CEDMA, have been opposed to these statements that they consider far from reality.
The organization's response
Although Redondo suggests that a humanities festival does not arouse as much interest as a gastronomic one, the truth is that attendance was massive in the last edition at each of the conferences, as Reme Cerdá recalled. "It is clear that citizens show interest in the issues," says the president of AEHTMA, who also praised its ability to deseasonalize tourism.
Benito Mestre, president of the Círculo de Empresarios, has also expressed himself in this line, who has agreed on the deseasonalizing capacity of the event, as he states has already been confirmed by having attracted international visitors. The festival, he insists, has helped promote the image of Dénia since "it can look any other festival in any big city in the eye." Furthermore, he considers that the councilor has not been fortunate in suggesting that the financing of the festival is based on public money. Likewise, he has valued very positively the scenario offered to businessmen, who are very involved in the Espai Lluís Vives.
Valencian translators for plenary sessions
As a result of the festival, Félix Redondo has criticized the attitude that he considers hypocritical of the council in relation to a supposed mandatory nature of Valencian for everything, without promoting English, with the exception of when the Festival de les Humanitats is celebrated. He recalled the technical deployment that took place in some of the conferences to carry out a simultaneous translation by distributing headphones among the attendees and has suggested that the same tools could also be requested for the plenary sessions to translate the Valencian. "They don't even use Spanish for education," he said.