Budget-hit Spanish town charges for tomato-throwing fest

What do you get for your money at the Tomatina festival?

The debt-hit Spanish town of Bunol - world-renowned for its tomato-throwing Tomatina festival - is to charge entry for the first time.

Each year thousands of tourists pack the town to take part in the hour-long tomato fight that leaves the streets running in red juice.

But the event will now be ticketed over concerns about the cost of the event and ballooning attendance.

Tourists will now have to pay a minimum of 10 euros ($13; £9) to take part.

That has led to fears that festivals around crisis-hit Spain could be "privatised".

Among the top Tomatina ticket purchasers are Australians, Japanese, Britons, Spaniards and Americans.

Some 5,000 free tickets have been allocated for local residents, but the town is expecting an influx of ticketless people.

Officials say they will take a "zero tolerance" approach and are beefing up security measures.

"This is the first year we are charging for access to this popular festival due to the need to limit the crowd for safety reasons," Bunol town hall said in a statement, according to AFP news agency.

"We have had a problem for the past eight or 10 years: the Tomatina is not controlled, we don't know how many people are going to come," Bunol Mayor Joaquin Masmano Palmer reportedly told Spanish media.

But the cost of organising the food fight is also a burden for the town, said to be indebted to the tune of several million euros.

More on This Story

More Europe stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • SyedTanks instead of toys

    Lyse Doucet on the plight of children in Syria and Gaza


  • Silhouette of manSuper-shy

    Why do Germany's super-rich so often keep their heads down?


  • Detail from Gin Lane by HogarthMother's ruin

    The time was gin was full of sulphuric acid and turpentine


  • The two sisters in their bakery'Must be mad'

    Why two Spanish sisters started a bakery in a desert


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • EscaladeBling's the thing

    The ostentatious Cadillac Escalade cruises into 2015 with fuel-gulping gusto

Programmes

  • A sun bearThe Travel Show Watch

    The Borneo sanctuary coming to rescue of the world’s smallest bear

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.