Ever wondered how well water can dance? No, probably not, but at the Magic Fountain show in Plaza España you can.
The Font Màgica de Montjuïc (as it’s known in Catalan) takes pride of place in one of Barcelona’s busiest squares, and it injects a certain surreal wonder into any weekend visit.
Rising up from the decorative base of the fountain, the water seems to dance in celebration to the music that plays out from speakers all around. Backlit by a rotation of bright colours, it bursts into a performance like no other.
More than 2.5 million people flock to the magic water show every year to watch the fountain wiggle its watery hips and sway in time to classic tunes and new-age beats.
Every half an hour throughout the weekend evenings (Thursdays too during summer) it comes to life in an ambitious flurry of colour, music, and dance.
It’s a pro at its game, too. Designed back in 1929 by Carles Buigas for the Great Universal Exhibition, it performed its first dance on May 19th of the same year after a lot of doubt that the idea would never come to fruition.
Luckily, Buigas proved everyone wrong and unveiled his masterpiece to the delight of numerous onlookers.
It wasn’t an easy project to conceive and create. More than 3000 people were hired to create the fountain and to ensure its whimsical display of acrobatics were top-notch.
Over the years, the fountain has added a few more choreographies to its repertoire, ranging from classical music performances and film soundtracks to 21st century remixes and pop songs by Freddie Mercury. There’s a lot of modern Catalan music billed in too for good measure.
You can expect the dancing fountain to blare out renditions of The Godfather and music from The Lord of the Rings, altering its moves to fit in with the beats on offer.
The fountain itself was erected on the spot where The Four Columns once were. These architectural wonders were a reminder of the Catalanism movement but were, unfortunately, demolished in 1928.
When the fountain was built to replace them there were a few grumbles and groans, but the magic show seems to have appeased local Catalans with its colourful representation of local culture. Anyway, the Four Columns were rebuilt a few metres away in 2010 to make everyone happy.
These days the Magic Fountain Show is at the top of its game. Before 1980 it was simply a display of lights and water, but the addition of music has brought a whole new dimension to the experience.
It’s even got with the times in an eco-friendly manner, as it uses a water recirculation system after a nasty drought in 2008.
For interested parties, the light shows take place in the evenings on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during summer and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in winter.
Visit during the day and you’ll see an ornate fountain sitting subtly in the square. But return at night and you’ll experience it come to life. There’s colour, there’s music, and there’s dancing (from all sorts of elements) – what more could you want from a fountain?