Musicians and locals unite in fight to save festival sign now

For the attention of the Junta de Andalucia, Department of Culture, Youth and Local Cooperation of the Diputación de Granada and the town hall of La Taha.‬

In 2002 Cat Jary and her musician colleagues, pupils and friends, under the umbrella organization The Alexander Music School (AMS), started planning the first series of projects which has since brought hundreds of professional and young musicians from throughout Spain and abroad to play concerts in La Alpujarra, Andalucia.‬

This has enriched the area culturally, supported the local economy, and initiated local choirs forming, who have performed alongside internationally known soloists, ensembles and choirs, in prestigious venues in Granada and the Province and on national television.‬

In 2004, an informal collaboration began between AMS and the town hall of La Taha, in which the town hall agreed to pay a small percentage of the costs involved in bringing the musicians to La Taha but in return prohibited the musicians to perform outside of La Taha. The town hall honoured their side of the agreement to begin with but the collaboration bécame unviable because:
1. In 2007 the new mayoress began to say that money promised for 2006 was unfortunately never going to be paid.
2. Another grant from the Sierra Nevada National Park, intended for an agreed contribution to the recording and making of the 2008 CD, was cancelled in a phonecall between the mayoress and an employee of the Sierra Nevada National Park after its inauguration.
3. In 2009 La Era Cultural Association (adminstered by the mayores and employees of the town hall), received a large grant for 24.000 euros from the Sierra Nevada Park, but questions have arisen over the expenditure of the money, which once again left the musicians, AMS and friends to cover many of the costs.
4. A suggestion was made by Cat Jary to allocate 500 euros from the budget of 24.000 euros for La Taha choir, which had been lauded for its success in integrating the foreign and local Alpujarran communities, who were involved in many of the projects and concerts. The town hall laughed and ridiculed the suggestion, and the choir was awarded nothing. ‬

By this time, the musicians had decided it was unwise to carry on giving La Taha the exclusivity of their concerts because the town hall were so frequently unable to honour their side of the bargain and showed such a lack of support and respect for their own local people involved in the project.‬ The musicians concluded that the aims of the town hall were incompatible with the spirit of the festival.

Currently, the town hall of La Taha is attempting to take over the festival and gain the credit for the years of work by the AMS and local people. They have threatened the Alexander Music School that if they carry on directing and programming the festival Music in the Mountains, legal action will be taken to stop them.‬

This petition has been requested and organised by the participating internationally renowned musicians, local Alpujarran villagers and the music-loving public, who have united to express why the specially trained, qualified, experienced musicians from AMS should continue to programme and direct Music in the Mountains.‬
A second aim is to pressurise the town hall into explaining what happened to the public funding which they had promised to AMS and the musicians, but which then ‘disappeared’ on several occasions.‬

Lastly, everyone is in agreement that Music in the Mountains should function throughout the whole of thee Alpujarras and not La Taha exclusively..‬

If the town hall succeed in preventing AMS and the musicians to continue then the essence of the festival will totally change because there will be no international collaborations, resulting in:

1. Diminished cultural enrichment of the villagers, local choir and visiting musicians
2. Reduced income for struggling bars, hotels and all those in the tourism sector.
3. Reduction in the quality of music-making as world class musicians will no longer give their services for free

So far the project has cost AMS, the visiting musicians and friends of AMS in the region of half a million euros. Cat and all the other musicians from AMS organise and dedicate their time to the project and concerts for free, the priority being to encourage the love of music in the region.‬
The mayoress and town hall employees, all of whom are paid very generous salaries, are musically untrained and unqualified with none of the professional experience necessary to understand the programming of a festival. Neither do they have an endless amount of pupils, colleagues and friends in the music world to invite to play in and enrich the festival and local community.‬ They lack the creativity, vision, or sense of vocation to organise the international projects and exchanges, and the generosity of spirit to dedicate themselves to looking after and building relationships between the visiting musicians and local people.‬

In November 2010 the town hall entered the project for a national prize, without notifying AMS, the musicians, or the choir, and without asking for their permission to use their names and photos. The mayoress was also seen on Youtube receiving another prize for this project.‬
What is particularly surprising to most of the musicians is that there is, in fact, a town hall as their involvement has been so minimal.‬
Unfortunately all these experiences would indicate that the town hall‬
is neither genuinely concerned for the well-being of the musicians nor for the cultural enrichment of the lives of their people, and is only interested in the taking the glory and prestige and using it for their own self-promotion.‬
Please add your support for the hundreds of musicians and locals who would love to see AMS extend Music in the Mountains throughout La Alpujarra. By signing this petition.

We, the below signed, call on the town hall of La Taha to leave the festival in the hands of the AMS, withdraw any threat of legal action, account for the money that should have been paid to them and allow the festival to be a part of the whole of the Alpujarra.

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Música en las MontañasBy:
Culture and SocietyIn:
Petition target:
Music lovers

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la alpujarra, music


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