It will be the biggest cultural event in Loja history and local officials expect hundreds of out-of-town guests, including many from outside Ecuador.
In fact, the 2017 Loja International Festival of Living Arts, to be staged from November 16 to November 26, will be the largest theater and performing arts event ever staged in Ecuador, bringing in top talent from around the world.
“From a tourism standpoint, this is huge for us since it will attract many people to Loja who have not been here before and will expose them to the rich culture that we have established,” said hotelier Jorge Alcazar, who has a long involvement with the arts scene in Loja. “We have many great facilities around the city to host this event — plazas, parks, theaters and galleries — and our hope is that the festival will put us on the world culture map.”
Ecuador’s Ministry of Tourism says it is confident that Loja can handle the influx of performance arts fans. The city has more than 3,400 hotel and hostal rooms, 116 restaurants, bars and café, as well as many tour agencies to assist visitors who want to see more of the area.
Tourism officials have worked with Tame Airlines to increase the number of flights from Quito to the Loja airport to accommodate extra demand. Tame is offering a special $99 round-trip fare for festival goers.
“A great amount of work has gone into preparing for the festival and making sure that our guests have the services they need,” Alcazar says. “Besides the city, this has been an effort of the national government, through the Ministry of Culture and Heritage and the Ministry of Tourism, as well as the municipal and provincial governments of Loja.”
The tourism ministry says it has worked with local authorities to increase the number of police and maintenance workers available during the festival. “The teamwork has been impressive since we began planning months ago,” says Alcazar.
According to the ministry of culture, the selection of Loja to host the festival was intended to “spread the cultural experience around Ecuador.” The vast majority of large cultural events in the country are held in Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca, says culture minister Raúl Pérez. “Loja is a great location for performing arts productions,” he says. “The city has been an icon of artistic tradition and great culture in this country for hundreds of years and it has the experience hosting successful events.”
Loja is located in southern Ecuador, 50 miles north of the Peruvian border, 120 miles south of Cuenca and 80 miles southeast of Guayaquil.
According to Pérez, the festival is conducting a wide-ranging promotional campaign in Ecuador, as well as in neighboring Peru and Colombia. “We are thrilled at how the 2017 edition of the festival is coming together and we are very happy to be hosting it in Loja,” he said.
The festival will feature a wide variety of live arts performances, including traditional theater, theater-in-the-round, street art performance, experimental theater, and works by mimes, clowns and others alternative acting professional.
Among the performing groups that will appear in Loja, are troupes from Belgium, Denmark, Spain, France, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Argentina and Mexico, in addition to Ecuador. In total, the event will showcase the talent of more than 400 performers.
One of the best-regarded groups at the festival will be the Spanish Els Comediants, internationally known for its interdisciplinary performance regime that mixes the traditional with the avant-garde. Els Comediants will present the world premiere of its latest production, Zibaldone, at the festival.
For more information about the Loja Festival of the Live Arts and to buy tickets, click here.