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The Concurs de Castells

The Concurs de Castells (Human Towers Championship) is celebrated every two years at the Tarraco Arena Plaça (TAP) in Tarragona. It is a unique and singular human towers performance for several different reasons. 

First, it is the only “castells” (human towers) performance that is explicitly competitive: it has a written regulation and a score chart, there is a jury to decide on disputes and there is also a final table of the results of the event. The participating “colles” (teams) have up to five rounds to try building their structures, but it is the best three “castells” achieved by each team determine their final score and, thus, their place in the final table. 

Besides, the Concurs is also unique because of the sheer volume of teams that take part: 30 “colles” perform at the TAP between Satturday afternoon (eighteen “colles”) and Sunday morning (the top twelve).  There is also a third session the previous Sunday in Torredembarra, where an extra dozen teams participate. Thus, the total number of teams involved is 42. They are invited through a ranking based on the previous year’s achievements. 

Finally, the Concurs de Castells is also an extraordinary performance in terms of expectation among fans –tickets to see the event live run out shortly after they are announced- and media impact, with a growing interest from international media, attracted to the event’s spectacular.  

At the same time, though, the Concurs de Castells is already one of the most traditional dates in the “castells” calendar. The first Concurs at the Tarragona bullring (the present TAP) was celebrated in 1932, and the biennial performance at this space has been taking place since 1970 with no interruption (though for a few years it didn’t have a competitive format). 

All these reasons allow us to say that the Concurs de Castells is the biggest human towers show all over the world. To that extent, the will of the organizers -the Tarragona City Hall- is that it becomes a big festival for all the “castells” collective and, at the same time, a showcase and dynamizer for this manifestation included by UNESCO on its Intangible Cultural Heritage Representative List.