Sinsal: a secret line-up on the magic San Simón Island
The Sinsal festival is quite unique. Close to the Rande Strait, at the inlet Ría de Vigo, there is an islet called San Simón, praised by the Galician troubadours in the Middle Ages. Every summer, hundreds of people take a boat to this magical place to attend the concerts of artists and bands, whose names are not revealed until they take the stage. The line-up is secret and the audience goes blindly; but, due to the quality and reliability of the festival, the tickets sold out in a few days.
The aim of the organisers of the festival is to bring up-and-coming artists, and others connected with the contemporary creation. Some of them will perform at important festivals and concert halls all over the world. The festival at San Simón is so special that most artists choose its stage to play in Galicia for the first time
Heritage and nature go hand-in-hand on San Simón Island, the hallmark of the festival. San Simón, an island full of history, served long ago as a convent, leper house, concentration camp, military residence… But nowadays it is an important cultural centre in Galicia. Templars lived there in the Middle Ages; Sir Francis Drake and his pirates sacked the island, and in 1702 it was the setting of the Battle of Vigo Bay, where the English and Dutch fleet defeated the Spanish and French. Its past gives this place a special atmosphere.
The festival promoters bet on sustainability. The organisation describes the event as “close, participatory, social, open, educational, respectful of people and environment friendly, as well as committed to the preservation and promotion of the natural and cultural heritage”.
What to see nearby
San Simón, connected to the small San Antón Island, is located near the Cesantes Beach, which has a characteristic triangle shape and it is highly appreciated by water sports enthusiasts.
It is a must to visit the Castle of Soutomaior, a 12th century fortress that was turned into a palace in the 19th century. The Castle has just become a museum and currently it is owned by the Deputación de Pontevedra. There, you can learn about the castle and the figures linked to it, such as the noble Pedro Madruga and the writer María Vinyals. Its garden was designated an International Camellia Garden of Excellence by the Spanish Camellia Society. Arcade, a village located in the same municipality, has plenty of restaurants, where you can enjoy the international renowned oysters cultivated in this town.
San Simón Island and Cesantes Beach belong to the municipality of Redondela, known as the town of viaducts, with an interesting archaeological heritage in its forests. Vigo, the biggest city in Galicia, is nearby. Its bustling old town offers from its viewpoints, especially the one called O Castro, amazing panoramic views of the inlet.
On the other side of the Ría it is the Morrazo Peninsula, with incredible beaches. Nearby, the archipelago Illas Cíes is considered the guardian of the territory and the gem of the Galician Atlantic Islands Maritime-Terrestrial National Park.
To the north of Redondela and San Simón is Pontevedra, the capital of the province, by the Lérez River. There, you can go for a walk in its old town, which boasts wonderful public squares and monuments such as the Sanctuary of Virgen Peregrina a or the Basílica of Santa María.