The origins of the Descenso Folklórico del Nalón
The Descenso Folklórico del Nalón is a summer-aquatic-carnival recognized as a Festival of Regional Tourist Interest since 1991 and recognized as Festival of National Turist Interest on July the 2nd, 2020. This recognitions have been possible thanks to its extensive history. The first Folkloric Descent of Nalón took place more than 50 years ago in 1968 and, after successive renovations, has matured to be as we know it today.
Year after year, the party is getting bigger being the participation figures counted by thousands. There are already several editions in which the 4000 crew and 40 boats are exceeded.
Every third Saturday of August, thousands of people from all over Asturias and other places in Spain come to Laviana to enjoy our most international festival.
The Descenso Folklórico del Nalón is already part of Laviana and it is recognized as one of the most relevant annual events of the Council.
History of a picnic thru the Nalón river
Years back, in August 1968 and suddenly, with no preparation, an event, that has marked forever the features and character of our festival, took place.
That year, the Cultural Association "Eros" proposed to organize a "descent thru the Nalón river" for the picnic of the Pola de Laviana festivities . From such a simple fact our great party arises. A group of chavales organize a parade in disguise and accompanied by a troupe. The parade ends up going down the Nalón river by swimming or floating (some participants helped with floats).
The first edition was a humble race, a sprint among the participants. That year, the victory was for Daniel Piedra and José Luis Canal.
In 1973 the Descent begins to be more than a race, to become something more complex. A parade where original boats were built and curious costumes were improvised.
That year, a group of chavales from Peña "Club Náutico Campurra", will begin to give new approach to the Descent by establishing rules to be fulfilled by all the participants. These rules and organization is the start point of everything that would happen later.
I.- A minimum of four members and a maximum of 37. This number have been increased until levels that can be say 'no-limit'.
II.- Boats built by the participants themselves and without engine.
III.- Freestyle for costumes
IV.- A godmother in each team (or godfather on female teams)
The new rules and festival, encouraged other Peñas and towns in Laviana are to participate and towns such as Carrio, Villoria, Llorío, Tolivia, Canzana ... build original boats every year. Visitors are impresses to see the passion with which the boats are build in each town, and how they try to keep the secret until the end to overcome the neighboring town in beauty.
The first generation of boats is from 1968 to 1972. It is called "Mater Generation". At that time, the Descent was configured as a sprint or race. In that generation, Piedra and Canal are the main representatives.
The 70th Generation
The second generation covers from 1973 to 1980. At this moment, it is when the Descent is configured in the most similar way as we know it today. It is the "70th generation". In this generation, Peña "Club Náutico Campurra", Carrio, Antroxu, El Cuélebre and Villoria are the main representatives.
The 80th Generation
The 80s are characterized by a great boost to creativity. In this generation, previous Peñas are consolidated and new ones such as "El Piles" or "La Pajuela" are formed.
Generation ITN (Interés Turístico Nacional)
The 90s and early 2000s meant an important boost for the Descenso Folklórico del Nalón. Laviana had become an important town and local business wanted to contribute to make a bigger festival. This is "The Generation of Regional Tourism Interest".
The Festival will be very important, the press will dedicate information every year, and the level of details of the boats increase. At this time, Peñas such as El Riscar or La Pajuela would raise the Descent to Glory with several consecutive victories.
It is a generation where the Peñas allocate important economic resources for the construction of the boats, and where the Descent begins to "leave-the-river" and increases its involvement in different events of the community. Around the Descent raffles, dances and varied activities are organized during the different months of the year.
21st Century Generation
When the 21st century land in Laviana, a clear transformation of the festival begins, a period of transition to adapt the Descenso Folklórico del Nalón even more to current times and new mentalities.
This generation is called "Generation XXI" and here the Descenso Folklórico del Nalón becomes a more demanding event. The boats are almost authentic works of art, where the latest technologies are used, and knowledge of different disciplines are applied to achieve an optimal result that allows to obtain boats that are floats for a parade, and that pass through a river without being destroyed.
It is in this Generation where the Descent undergoes one of its greatest transformations by incorporating to the festive activities the cultural dimension as a key factor. Throughout the year, various activities such as the Cider Festival, hospitality competitions, workshops or conferences are carried out.
In this generation, Peñas like "Barettini", "Otero Team", "LDP" and "Los del Bajo" initiate their sailing.