This summer marked the 70th anniversary of La Tomatina – the tomato-throwing festival in the small town of Buñol in Spain. In recent years the event has become more and more popular, with many people adding it to their bucket lists – me included – but the actual experience was like nothing I’d ever done before.
Since 2013, the traditional event has been ticketed, but despite numbers being monitored, it was pretty packed. We headed down into the centre of the town early in the day and watched events unfold, as teams of people tried to reach a ham positioned at the top of a greased-up pole two storeys high.
The tomato fight traditionally starts when the ham is reached, but things got underway at 11am despite no signs of the ham being tumbled. The centre of Buñol was full of people by this point, with locals all looking on from their balconies at the crazy participants below.
A series of trucks laden with tomatoes and accompanied by teams of helpers made their way through the streets over the course of the hour. Tomatoes are unloaded and the fight began, with absolute chaos ensuing and by 12 noon the streets ran with rivers of tomato.
All that was left was to get hosed down by some of the friendly locals and dry off in the sun, up by Buñol’s castle. Returning to our hotel our clothes were stained, shoes full of tomato and bits of pulp were still washing out of my hair two days later, not to mention my partner’s beard! You never realise that tomato has such a strong smell until you are completely surrounded by it.
Since returning from Spain, I have explained the scenes to various people and what it was like to be at the heart of the action. Despite such efforts, nothing can portray the intensity of La Tomatina better than a GoPro video.
If you are thinking of great ways to engage your audience with subjects that are out of the ordinary, video could be the perfect solution. If pictures speak a thousand words then video is worth a thousand pictures.
There are lots of fantastic ways to take your audience on a journey when creating content around travel. Guides, blog posts, photos and first-person travelogues are all great, but when it comes to the world’s biggest food fight there’s just one thing to do – strap a GoPro to your head and dive right in.