Granada Festival, a unique experience for the senses

The Granada Festival of Music and Dance, or Festival Internacional de Musica y Danza, takes place every summer and draws some of the best musicians and dancers from around the world. The festival features orchestral concerts and dance recitals. Spilling out from the Carlos V Palace and the Generalife Gardens, where many of the concerts and recitals occur, is the FEX, what the locals call the extension of the official festival that sees many more concerts happening all over the city.

Discover the Magic of the Granada Music and Dance Festival: A Unique Experience in Spain

Attending the Granada Festival is a great way to experience not only leisure and culture in Granada, but also its architecture, food, people, and character. Thousands of people from around the world descend on Granada every summer — this year from June 21st until July 19th — and the city uses this opportunity to showcase its vibrant culture.

Granada Festival

Beautiful Venues

All of Granada’s performing venues are available for concerts and dance recitals. A few highlights include the Carlos V Palace, Generalife promenade, Alhambra’s Arrayanes Patio, and the Albaicin and Sacromonte neighborhoods.

The Generalife promenade is known as the “garden of paradise” and leads to the Patio de la Acequia, on the Fairgrounds, one of the most famous and celebrated spots in the city. After the scheduled concerts, the city lights up with after-hours recitals and concerts to keep the party going.

Nasrid buildings form most of the backdrops for the concerts during the festival. These ancient fortresses and gardens built centuries ago by Granada’s former Moorish rulers draw huge crowds and attract concert-goers from around the world.

Performances from Top-Notch Musical Acts

There are dozens of scheduled concerts in Granada throughout the city during the festival, ranging in ticket price from 10 to 60 Euros. Performers are some of the most celebrated in Spain and the world. This year, musical acts include Jesus Mendez, Vikingir Olafsson, Benjamin Alard, American Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan, and more.

All of these musicians and many more will perform in beautiful concert halls all over the city during the Granada Festival, promising an unforgettable experience.

A Brief History of the Granada Festival

As you might expect, the history of the Granada Festival stretches back over a hundred years. In 1883, the Cante Jondo flamenco singing contest was held at the Alhambra Aljibes, starting a tradition of prestigious, international concerts and competitions in Granada. In 1922, the flamenco contest was attended by many famous and prominent Spaniards, including Frederico Garcia Lorca, Manuel de Falla, and Ramon Gomez de la Serna, which propelled the spectacle for another 30 years, when in 1952, the first Granada Festival as we know it today was held. During the pandemic of 2020, the festival went online, holding the ‘Digital Granada Festival‘, which featured a sextet of renowned Spanish musicians being broadcast online and on national Spanish television channels.

A Focus on Education

One thing that makes the Granada Festival unique is its Manuel de Falla Courses, which are classes in interdisciplinary artistic areas from singing, playing various instruments, reading music, dancing, and even concert photography. The Manuel de Falla Courses debuted in 1970 and have been delighting festival-goers of all ages for over 50 years.

Long Traditions

For decades, the best classical musicians, dancers, and other artists have put on shows during the Granada Festival. The programming has been focused on classical music, ballet, flamenco dancing, and traditional Spanish dance, with yearly explorations of both ancient and contemporary music.

The best way to experience the best concerts in Granada this year is at the festival. Experience leisure and culture in Granada in front of the city’s most historic and beautiful backdrops while taking in some of the most skilled performers in the country.

The Party Continues with the FEX

The FEX, or the Extension of the Festival, is a tradition stretching back decades. Essentially a city-wide after-party, each night after a day of official Granada Festival events, informal concerts and performances pop up all over the city. These performances occur throughout all neighborhoods of the city and even outside the capital. All of these concerts outside the official festival programming are unticketed.

This year, several award-winning performers will delight after-hours concert-goers all over the area, including the Festival’s Baroque Academy, Clara Montes, flamenco artist Carlos de Jacoba, cellist Josetxu de Obregón, and resident artist Ton Koopman.

From the Port of Motril to the Sierra Nevadas, venues will be packed with concert-goers and beautiful music, dance, and dramatic performances. Another highlight in FEX programming this year is the Zarzuela La Lola Goes to the Ports. A Zarzuela is a Spanish spin on traditional opera, featuring alternating spoken and sung dialogue. This performance will be given by the University of Granada and promises to be an epic viewers will be talking about for years to come. Perhaps the crown jewel of the FEX this year will be a rare performance outside Granada Province at the Infanta Leonor Theater in Jaen by the National Youth Orchestra of Spain, conducted by the legendary Israeli composer Eliahu Inbal.

These concerts are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the events featured in the FEX. International bands and musicians will perform, as well as local acts from the many music conservatories and schools in the area, not to mention performances from the Music Band of Granada and a variety of samples from the Manuel de Falla workshop courses. Common Ground an international summit of many types of artists organized by Creative Europe, will also showcase events during FEX.


The Granada Festival and the FEX are cultural touchstones for the Province. They attract thousands of international and local tourists who flock to the city to bask in the music and art. The streets come alive in Granada with music and dancing, and no matter where you are, you’ll find a hopping scene to join close by.

If you’re interested in visiting Southern Spain, consider making it to Granada for the Festival. You will not be disappointed.