Jordi Viñolas, president of Pipel and manager of Sala El Cau: “One must dare to have fun”

Jordi Viñolas / ©Rafael López-Monné

There is a hedonist, shouty and party Tarragona, which claims the universal right to have fun whenever possible, and Jordi Viñolas is one of its main exponents. President of La Pipel Entertainment, a group of friends that have successfully reinvented popular parades such as the “Sindriada de Sant Magí” or the “Baixada del Pajaritu”, Jordi likes to be known as “El Feriante” or “El liante”, and spent his early years coordinating massive events in PortAventura; he has also spent some time, as he says, being a do-it-all man in the health centre Santa Tecla Llevant; and, at the age of 30, he gives everything he’s got for any kind of leisure events in the city.

One must dare to have fun”. By their fruits ye shall know them. People tend to relate Viñolas –a man of many words and not much sleep– with some of the most original proposals Tarragona has seen in the last decade. His head is always full of ideas, and he’s always wearing trainers, so that he can run faster, and get everywhere that little bit earlier. We find some examples in the ideas he’s implementing to give a new push to El Cau, the legendary pub in Part Alta; or the changes introduced to Pipel in order to update the “Sindriada” or the “Baixada del Pajaritu”, the craziest and most rule-breaking event in the Carnival’s programme.

Almost in its 10th edition –the last four years under the management of Pipel Entertainment–, the “Pajaritu” has become the most participatory farce in the city; a race of homemade old bangers that gathers almost 4,000 people in the streets, and that works as a satirical counterpoint to the more luxurious parades, full of textile filigrees and dancing competitions. Whereas the rest of events, such as the “Rua d’Artesania” and “Disfressa d’Or”, represent glamour, exhibition and rivalry between troupes, the “Pajaritu” represents the grotesque, buffoonery and collective enjoyment. “There are indeed winners and prizes, although nobody really cares about it”, says Viñolas.

We defend the critical spirit, the unlimited mocking spirit you’ll find in Carnival… and also the fact that shocking and entertaining people does not become a business or cost much money”, he explains. In fact, the “Feriante” says that all the activities set by Pipel are low-cost, and that profit is only for expenses. “None of us earns any money with these things, and nor do we tend to ask the local government for it”, explains Jordi. This year, the very first time the “Consistori” will actually invest some money in the “Pajaritu”, organising the most uninhibited Carnival event will only cost 3,000€.

Great part of the success is due to those behind the scenes. Pipel, officially set in 2012, have been able to join the inner talent of a group of friends –born in the 80s– with both professional and personal inquisitiveness. They are the same kind of active, qualified and brave people with which Viñolas has been surrounded for another project, SPAM, responsible for the mappings that gathered so many visitors in Tarragona during the Christmas holidays: on New Year’s Eve, using the Cathedral’s façade –up from the flat roof on “ca Viñolas”–, and also during the Three Wise Men parade at Palau Municipal.

A final vision: Tarragona wants to evolve towards a new sustainable, more effective and efficient energy management thanks to public resources, and so, due to the organisation of the 2017 Mediterranean Games, the local govern has asked local companies to use the event as an international technologic showcase. In this sense, Viñolas can see other doors opening in the same direction.

Tarragona has a very respectable festivity tradition. Thousands and thousands of citizens get together every year in order to organise and take part in a large number of festive events, more or less protocoled, which go from the Tarraco Viva to the endless number of popular expressions taking place during Santa Tecla. The moment has arrived to look ahead, says Viñolas, make the most of the experience gained and position the city as the actual event manager. “We’ve got experience, creative and qualified people. We can design useful entertainment, move forward and make Tarragona known not just thanks to its historic background, but also as a place for innovation, which is a model for exportable leisure organisation”, he says.

Text: Oriol Margalef (@OhMargalef on Twitter)
Pictures: Rafael López-Monné (@lopezmonne on Twitter)
Translation: Artur Santos (@artur_1983 on Twitter)