Get your groove on: Summer music festivals in Barcelona
With its sizzling beach culture, eclectic architecture and sultry Mediterranean flair, Barcelona
has won itself a loyal following as a world-class travel destination in Europe. And there’s no better time to see it than in summer, when jugs of sangrias flow endlessly, beaches are sprinkled with bronzed holidaymakers and music-lovers get in the mood for some action.
Every year from June to September, Barcelona puts on its funkiest party gear and transforms into a major staging ground. From punk rock to jazz and gospel, immerse into the city’s music scene with our guide to Barcelona’s best music festivals.
San Miguel Primavera Sound Festival
30 May – 3 June
As Barcelona’s biggest festival of the year, Primavera always delivers a wow factor with its impressive line-up of indie music performers from different background and genres. A huge legion of bands and performers has taken to the stage here, along the likes of The Cure, Björk, Pet Shop Boys, Pixie and Van Dyke Parks. But more importantly, Primavera is also a showcase for newly established acts.
Held in the handsome Parc del Fòrum overlooking the Mediterranean, the event takes place in the Diagonal Mar area of Barcelona’s Sant Martí district. It’s wise to get a hotel room in the area, so after a day of grooving, you’re just a short walk away from your pad. The crowd here is young, energetic and stylish, so don’t forget to put on your best dancing shoes and leather leggings for the mega music event.
Venue: Parc del Fòrum
Tickets: Day tickets cost €80 plus booking fee (or €85 at the box office); entry for the entire event costs €195 plus booking fee.
14-16 June 2012
The biggest electronic music event, “Sonar” is now in full swing at Barcelona. Tweeps if you’re spending summer there, check it out
Attracting over 80,000 people each year, Sónar is one of the biggest electronic music events in the world. As an advanced music and multimedia art festival, it showcases the best in today’s progressive music scene. Big names like the Chemical Brothers, Orbital and Grace Jones have graced its stage. This year’s line-up features Fatboy Slim, Nicolas Jaar, deadmau5 and James Blake. It’s a worldwide music festival, having taken place in London, Tokyo, New York, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Frankfurt and Seoul – but Barcelona is still where it all started, so be prepared to party till dawn with world-class acts.
During the day, Sónar takes place in the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB) in downtown Barcelona, while the evening concerts are held in Fira Gran Via L'Hospitalet, the city’s convention centre. Hugely popular amongst electronic music lovers, tickets get snapped up fast so book your tickets in advance. The last night of the festival often features the biggest names, be sure to conserve your energy to last you through the three-day event. As the parties go on till dawn, dress comfortably and prepare for a havoc night of heavy rock-banging.
Venue: All over Barcelona and the outskirts
Tickets: A one-day ticket (noon-10pm) costs €39; a night pass (entry after 10pm) €60; a two-night pass €100; and a three-day pass €155.
Barcelona GREC Festival
1- 31 July 2012
As a classical performing arts festival, the Barcelona GREC Festival is a long-standing international theatre, dance, music and circus festival with 35 years of history. The event has a dual mission: to support local Catalan production and to present the most outstanding works from around the world in Barcelona. Well-known international musicians like B.B. King, Youssou N’Dour, Bob Dylan, Celia Cruz and Miles Davis have all participated in this showcase of musical talent. The GREC festival has also staged countless productions that feature world-famous writers and directors in the likes of Dario Fo, Lindsay Kemp and Paco de Lucía.
The festival’s name is taken from its main venue, where the opening sessions invariably take place: Montjüic’s Teatre Grec, an open-air theatre built for the 1929 Universal Exhibition. Apart from the opening ceremony held at the Greek Theatre, many of the events are held in various venues across the city including Teatre Nacional de Catalunya and L’Auditori. The festival takes place during the hottest month of the year, July, so most events are scheduled for the evenings when temperatures cool down to a comfortable level.
Venue: All over Barcelona
Tickets: Each show has its own ticket prices; refer to website for schedule and rates.
San Miguel Mas i Mas Festival
28 July – 11 September 2012
This all-encompassing music festival is well worth experiencing if you’re a big fan of live music. Since 2003, this festival organised by the Mas i Mas group (chain of clubs and bars) has had a very clear goal: to provide quality live music of all genres and styles in Barcelona. Today, it is a classic among the festivals held annually in the Catalan capital and has evolved from a Latin-centric festival to a jumble of live music performances – from jazz, to blues, salsa and gospel.
World-recognised artists Buena Vista Social Club, Alaska, Nina Hagen and Diego el Cigala have all performed at this festival. Concerts take place at various venues, including the Palau de la Música Catalana, Gran Teatre del Liceu and L’Auditori where several seasons of live music have also been held. The opening and closing acts are often the most popular shows and usually feature highly acclaimed musicians, so be sure to get your tickets well in advance.
Venue: Various venues
Tickets: Ticket prices vary widely, from €6 to €35 per session.
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