Castells - Colles Castelleres de Catalunya

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Don’t they get hurt when they fall?
  2. Castells do not fall very often (about 3% of those attempted). Moreover, although falls can be spectacular, the perceived risk does not correspond to the objective risk. In most cases, the only consequences are slight knocks or minor injuries. The Coordinadora de Colles Castelleres de Catalunya (the coordinating body for human tower clubs in Catalonia) has carried out a study which concludes that the number of incidents in human towers is low, comparable to or lower than in other activities, such as sports. For serious injuries, the rate is also similar to or lower than that for these other activities.

  3. Who’s won?
  4. As you will see in the “Who’s won?” section of this website, in human towers there are no winners or losers. Not explicitly at any rate.

  5. Why are they celebrating if they’ve fallen?
  6. Sometimes, just crowning a castell, or human tower, even if it falls before being completed, is a success in itself. This often happens with constructions the club involved has never achieved before, or just a few times, or those with particular value.

  7. Why are they repeating the tower?
  8. When a colla, or human tower club, does not manage to crown the tower that it has attempted, it usually has a second chance: the so-called repetition turn or round. Be careful! Repetitions are one thing and dismantled footings are another. Mixing these up is one of the most common errors:

    - Dismantled footing: each club has three chances to put together the base of the human tower before the gralles sound.

    - Repetition: if an attempted human tower is not achieved (an attempt is considered to begin from the moment that the gralles sound), it can be attempted again in the repetition round.

  9. How many human towers are made?
  10. As explained in the “How does it work?” section of this website, a typical human tower performance consists of three castells and a farewell pillar.

  11. Why do they help each other?
  12. The unwritten rules of human towers allow castellers, or human tower builders, from other clubs and members of the public to help with the base (and only the base!) of a construction. This usually happens in most performances, except where there is a great deal of rivalry.

  13. How much do human tower builders get paid?
  14. Human tower builders do not get paid anything for building the castells. All they receive is the satisfaction of teamwork and collective success. The colles, or clubs, usually do receive fees for their performances, but these are used to pay the association’s expenses.

  15. Can I take part?
  16. Of course you can! If castells attract your attention, you can join any of the more than 70 existing colles. You just have to go along to their headquarters and sign up: you will be welcome and you will fit in straightaway. If you want to try it out before getting involved, you can also join the base of any human tower at a performance. Cooperation from the public is always welcome. However, do not forget to follow this advice.

  17. How many people does it take to make a human tower?
  18. It depends on the kind of castell being attempted: its height, whether it has an auxiliary or extra base, etc. But, to give you an idea, it is calculated that to make the biggest human tower achieved to date – the three of ten – about 800 people are needed. However, the vast majority of human towers require between 100 and 200 people.

  19. How high is a human tower?
  20. The height of a human tower varies, of course, depending on what kind of construction it is and the heights of the castellers, or human tower builders, making it up, but it is estimated that a nine-level tower is crowned about 10 metres up.

  21. How long does a human tower last?
  22. This will vary depending on the kind of castell, but the average is about three minutes from the completion of the base until the gralles stop.

  23. Where can I buy a shirt?
  24. Generally, shirts are not for sale. Human tower builders gain them by going to rehearsals and performances by the colla they want to join. However, it is possible to buy t-shirts and other merchandising items.

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