In two weeks it will be 50 years since one of the saddest dates for the city of Toledo: the prohibition of bathing in the waters of the Tagus River. This is the reason why during this weekend, right in the same place where five decades ago thousands of Toledans enjoyed bathing on Safont beach, three protest days are being held, under the slogan 'Music for the Tagus. 50 years of our river', in which it is requested that the river be cleaned and that the residents of the regional capital can meet again in this place. The call has been a resounding success, as thousands of Toledans have come to this area to support this initiative with their presence, which is being enlivened with concerts, workshops, informative and awareness games for all audiences, as well as delicacies from the good gastronomy that is being prepared in many establishments in the city.
This Friday the 'Music Festival for the Tagus' has begun, an initiative that, convened by the Royal Foundation of Toledo, aims to unite the society of Toledo in the defense of a "living" river to be reintegrated into your day to day.
This has been stated by the director of the Royal Foundation of Toledo, Eduardo Sánchez Butragueño, who pointed out that this festive action serves "to commemorate, not to celebrate, something as sad as the 50th anniversary of the prohibition of bathing in the river ».
"I encourage everyone to come and claim, with joy and hope, the defense of the Tagus in an optimistic, hopeful, cheerful, playful and participatory way, through music, food and drink", repeated Sánchez Butragueño, who He asked "to flee from the pessimism and lamentation that has often guided the defense of the Tagus in recent years."
During these three days, 22 performances are being given by the groups and soloists who have recorded a song inspired by the defense of the river for the album 'Música por el Tajo', which in total has songs by 37 musicians and which will be make it public in digital format.
Music is being one of the main protagonists in these days, to which thousands of Toledans are attending who have not wanted to miss the concerts offered by artists such as Carlos Ávila, Pilar Moxó, Triple J Band, May (one of the largest public attracted to the banks of the river), Almez and Ana Alcaide, among others.
The good atmosphere and the high temperatures encouraged many residents of the Toledo neighborhoods to come to the area to share a different day full of nostalgia for some of the residents who, being very young, were able to enjoy bathing in the Tagus River and of the transparent waters that for many years have turned this space into the "green river" and polluted.
This is the case of Carlos (a health worker at the University Hospital of Toledo), who yesterday listened carefully to the words of Eduardo Sánchez Butragueño speaking in the morning to the attendees about 'The link between the Tagus and the people of Toledo through historical photography' . “This is a starting point and we must denounce and defend this river. What we are seeing is an unsustainable situation.”
Carlos, wearing the festival shirt and accompanied by several friends, recalled that, despite being young and having a bad memory, "I think my mother bathed me in the river," he recalled with a halo of sadness. "We have to revive what our parents experienced, the bathroom, because in those years the situation was not buoyant and the river was our beach," he said, insisting that recovering the Tagus is something important for the city, the province and for The ecology. "Our children have to enjoy it," he said, thanking the Royal Foundation for this protest festival.
A little further away was Pepe Martín, accompanied by his wife and young son, who was very excited about this meeting that aims to reclaim the Tagus River. "It was time for someone to claim things in Toledo as Educardo (Sánchez Butragueño) and part of the citizenry are doing to defend this space, which belongs to everyone," he remarked, stressing that in this initiative "more the politicians".
María Romero goes to one of the tables set up by some of the bars that participate in this party to meet her mother and brother and to be able to cover herself from the burning sun that fell on the Safont esplanade this Saturday. María, who is an environmentalologist and who, with the presence of her and her family, wanted to show her support for this initiative, told ABC that she works giving talks to secondary and high school children about the environment and the environment. Tagus river.
María, who specialized in the Tagus River because her final year project was on the physical and chemical parameters of the river's quality as it passes through Toledo, acknowledged that she teaches classes as they call her. She has already given a few in Talavera de la Reina and Toledo, sharing conferences with Julio Comendador at the La Milagrosa school in the regional capital.
This young woman explained that she sees it as a “very good initiative” that allows people to see how the Tagus River is and that it exists and “what it needs is to go back to how it was before baths were prohibited. That is what we all want », she repeated to encourage young people to participate. “We encourage three-year-olds to 18-year-olds to know that they cannot be littering because, after all, it is their future.”
Like many of those interviewed, María believes that these types of acts are positive, but “it is the politicians who must lend a hand. We can no longer do more », she assured.
For her part, María Ángeles Cortina (Maria's mother) explained that as a woman from Toledo and a resident of this city she had the opportunity, being very small, to have bathed in the river. "My brothers bathed in the Tagus, since it was a recreational area where you came here to spend the day," he recalled to compare with what happens today in the Alberche river, "as if it were a camp from which we could enjoy quietly and we were happy.
María Ángeles acknowledges that Safont beach was the specific area where she and her family spent many days of the hot summers that are lived in Toledo. “This situation is unfortunate. It makes me very sad », she assured. "My daughter became aware thanks to the fact that her father and I have instilled in her everything that the Tagus has given us," she pointed out.
She, who was also accompanied by her husband, José Ángel, and her son Juan José, reviewed what the Tagus was. That place to go fishing, eat and spend the day. «Before there were no swimming pools and what we enjoyed was our river and here you interacted with your neighbors. It is very hard to see it so dirty and full of mosquitoes », she lamented.
Dressed in the green shirt, symbol of this celebration, Ramón Conde was in the place, who did not hesitate to highlight the act as "a great idea" because the Tagus "is a shame and it is necessary to ask that on the one hand the waters of Madrid and also that the flow increases and for that they will have to limit the transfers, ”said this resident of Toledo.
Like many people from Toledo, Ramón had the opportunity, being very 'little', to bathe in Safont, although his parents did not allow him much because "it was very dangerous sometimes". He also stressed that he hopes that these days "will be an awakening to recover the river and return that blue color that it had 50 years ago."
The ‘Music for the Tagus’ festival concludes today with performances by Fernando Bernácer, Lucía Santiago, Miguel Montana and Niebla, as well as different activities for attendees.