Can Festis Artists Hotelc

a rural hotel located in deep in Alt Penedès wine Country.
It is also a bar and restaurant ideal for parties and celebrations but moreover it is a focus for cultural activities and creativity with concerts, performances, theatre and the organisation of festivals and meetings of artists such as Simbiosizart.
Stefan Lismond and Karen Vinckevleugel from Flanders, Belgium opened Can Festís at La Masia les Planes in Sant Pere de Riudebittles in 1997. Today they continue offering a laid-back atmosphere where public and artist can communication and interact.

Can Festís is reached by a country lane next to the roundabout between Sant Pere de Riudebittles and Sant Quenti de Mediona and Vilafranca del Penedès and Igualada. This XV Century wine farm is immersed in the rolling wine country of Alt Penedès.

Stefan Lismond has found the ideal location to develop a project based on creative exchange. An artist that connects with the spirit of Can Festís may stay and develop a project. In exchange, the artist shares the experience with the public through concerts or exhibitions.
Many urban artists need to escape to country hideouts to concentrate on their projects. Theatre groups such as La Fura dels Baus use this formula in another masia in the region of Tarragona, however , this is rarely a natural exchange as is the case with this Belgian couple.
Artists need to retreat and create in peace and tranquillity, and that is precisely one of the chief characteristics of Can Festís. “When musicians feel relaxed they play well” says Stefan Lismond while admitting it is a hard formula to justify on commercial grounds. There have been people working in this house since 1491, and you can sense that energy from the past. A person who is sensitive finds it magical. This is one of the things that make Can Festís unique. A species of artistic hotel where the evenings entertainment is always different.
The musical program has a strong jazz flavour, with a concert every month…20 March, Arthur Kell Quartet, 24 April Barcelona group, Nainonain. Every year there are three or four “occupations” by visual artists as well as festivals such as Simbiosizart, a multi media workshop open to the public.
All these activities are complimented by the eclectic culinary happenings at Can Festís, often related to the artist expression that may be happening at the time.

Cultivating the sensitive minority.

Can Festis forms part of theVia Via travel network, as one of twelve destinations around the world which offer an alternative way of integrating with the destination, quite the opposite from mass tourism. It’s not about eating an ice cream on the beach” emphasises Stefan. Visitors who choose this option get to know Catalunya in a completely different way. A meeting place for the visitor and locals. It’s an excellent way to present Penedès and Catalunya. This is tourism closely related to the land and local culture, genuine experience that leaves the soul with more questions than answers.
In the masia, the guest will find a house that has conserved much of its original details, intricately carved doors that don’t necessarily close well. “There isn’t the level of comfort of a hotel but if you are one of the minority of souls who understand the details of Can Festis, wild horses won’t make you leave.

This is a translation of an article by Raúl Maigí, El Punt 23 February 2004.
Paddy Mannion.