Many foreign tourists wonder if bullfighting in Madrid is still an event that they can attend. And the answer is ‘Yes, of course!’. This region is one of the most passionate about this Spanish tradition and many official institutions and private associations promote it among people of all ages. The most important reason is that bullfighting is one of the strongest Madrid tourist attractions.
Even though bullfighting has been banned in some regions like Catalonia, based largely in part due to political issues rather than cultural ones, this tradition is still very much alive in Madrid. Controversy doesn’t stop Spanish people from attending these shows and many tourists buy a bullfighting ticket to discover why this spectacle is so rooted in this country.
Among all institutions and companies that promote bullfighting in Madrid, local governments stand out, especially the ones of the Community of Madrid and the City Council. These institutions sponsor many shows and organize events related to this ancient tradition. Some examples are conferences and exhibitions, as it’s easier to make bullfighting more interesting for foreign people.
Feria Arte y Cultura, sponsored bullfighting in Madrid
The best example of how local government promotes bullfighting in Madrid is the Arte y Cultura Fair. At this fair, that takes place right after the peak of the season in the capital of Spain (San Isidro Fair), its sponsors come directly from the governments of the Community of Madrid and City Hall.
Approximately ten shows are set in this fair, gathering some of the best toreros of the world. A big stand is also erected in front of Las Ventas bullring in order to host many different events. Last year, some of those events were conferences staring retired bullfighters, exhibitions about brave bulls and meetings to rethink this activity in 21st century. In 2014, the Arte y Cultura Fair will not exist as a separate fair, but it will be integrated in San Isidro Fair as the latest shows of it.
Additionally, the Community of Madrid organizes its own fair, called Feria de la Comunidad de Madrid. It takes place at the beginning of May, right before San Isidro Fair, and it is considered to be a very good preface to the peak of the season.
Guided tours for school children
Institutions not only try to make bullfighting one of Madrid’s tourist attractions, but also interesting entertainment for young people, as they know children should be the future of it. The youngest of the country will one day attend the corridas and become famous bullfighters to keep the flame of this tradition on fire.
In order to do this, the Community of Madrid has made a deal with bullfighting institutions to promote this tradition among young students. In this program, several schools will organize visits to Las Ventas bullring as an extracurricular activity. They go on a tour around the grandstands, the chapel, the nursing, the press room and other important places in this stadium, as well as the ring, of course.
Figures of bullfighting in Madrid and Spain
Although there is financial struggle in Madrid and Spain, especially in this sector after the rising of VAT taxes for these types of shows, bullfighting tries to go forward and the figures for the last seasons have been pretty good.
In 2013, Las Ventas bullring organized more than 60 shows, of which at least half of those were booked during the peak season of May and June. Thanks to this, institutions say that the amount of money bullfighting collects from public attendance is about 6 million euro, thanks to VAT tax and other activities related to this spectacle.If we talk about figures in the whole country, the amount of money collected by bullfighting is higher than the one earned by the Spanish film industry.
That is one of the main arguments given by those who defend bullfighting in Madrid as a specific push to local economy. In general terms, this tradition can be considered one of Madrid’s tourist attractions, capable of bringing foreign people to the region and generating wealth.