A PAVILION TO DREAM, written by Juan Bolea on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the pavilion in 2015

The “Principe Felipe” Pavilion is inseparably joined to the modern Saragossa that emerged in the course of the period known as the political Transition, from the early 1980s until the present.

At the exact midpoint of that period, 25 years ago, this multidisciplinary infrastructure was erected; one that would provide so many satisfactory events to the city and to the Autonomous Community of Aragon, and that would come to provide many times over the services and benefits of other Saragossa pavilions already in existence: Salduba, La Romareda, the pavilion popularly known as “el Huevo” (“the Egg”), the indoor courts of some clubs, school playing courts, etc.

However, new winds were blowing, and, with great effort, over the 1980s and 1990s, Saragossa acquired a great number of infrastructures that it had clearly lacked.

Among these needed infrastructures was a multipurpose Pavilion that would be large, comfortable, capable of hosting the top basketball and handball teams, as well as other sports teams, promoting their domestic junior players and interests, their prestige and their results in the main national competitions.  However, it was not to be only that: such purely sports-oriented uses had to be parallel to others of more festive or cultural nature, at levels of similar quality.  Something – a plural characteristic that, at that time, and we are speaking of twenty-five years ago - was not to be found in practically any sports pavilion in Spain.

This is why, soon after the inauguration of the facility, the “Principe Felipe” Pavilion, well managed from the very beginning, with a correctly proportioned and qualified technical team, showed that its features could be alternated between sports and music of any type. From the sports show to the latest musical, from the Cirque du Soleil to the “Globe Trotters”, from sports events such as a Davis Cup or a Final Four basketball tournament with a “Disney on Ice” show, its programming became a permanent attraction, in a focus of education and fun, of leisure and learning. What is more, I would add, it became a miracle, because in the same week, different spectators could attend, in numbers of several thousand people, an opera recital, a crucial CAI basketball game or a Bob Dylan concert.

Incidentally, he is not the only legend of modern music who has performed on the stage of the “Principe Felipe”.   Artists that have performed on its stage are of the category of David Bowie, Joaquín Sabina, Joan Manuel Serrat, Manolo García, Bunbury, Amaral, Loquillo, Luis Miguel, Joe Cocker, Tom Jones, Santana, Supertramp, Depeche Mode, Backstreet Boys, Julio Iglesias, La Oreja de Van Gogh, Fito y los Fittipaldis, Rod Stewart, Leonard Cohen, The Who and many, many more, a staggering number of top-level artists who have delighted Aragonese fans and thousands of spectators coming from  very diverse origins. Certainly, hundreds of thousands, thus contributing to the amortization of one of the most profitable infrastructures of the capital of Aragon.

Good programming, proper customer service, and special care in offering quality and comfort at affordable prices have been some of the secrets and recipes for a shared success.  Shared by whom? By all those of us who have had the privilege to applaud, vibrate, feel, and get excited to the point of shouting or tears, singing, dancing, chatting, requesting autographs or initiating our children in sports and culture.  

Thank you, dear Pavilion, for giving us so much, and I hope you live at least twenty-five years more.