It’s that glorious time of year again where Southern Europe hosts the foremost word in alternative music and for one weekend the masses descend on Barcelona for Primavera Sound Festival 2014.
Having been lucky enough to attend last year’s event it is easy to see why artists and audience alike come swarming back here each year. Thirteen years, in fact. As the music promoter reaches its turbulent teens we are focusing on the future rather than its illustrious past and letting our mouths water at this year’s incredible event.
Apart from the amazing architecture, awesome bars and incredible people, Barcelona holds one of the best nighttime festivals of the year on its Parc Del Forum industrial site, something that in muddy old England we have never seemed to grasp. The site is complex in its layout with stages on different tiers, connected by steps and slopes (one of which is predominantly used as a slide post-3am) a concrete auditorium and a wonderful view of the sea and skyline all compounded by it’s 6pm – 6am curfews.
But the main feature of the site is that it is pretty much slap-bang in the middle of Barcelona meaning two things. Firstly, that ‘thank the Lord’ there is no camping, most festival goers being either Catalan or more than happy to stay in such a beautiful city. Secondly, once all the music is done (it finishes at 6am) the city erupts into a morning of 5 euro Thai massages and free pouring Mojitos on the beach and when you have been dancing all night to some of the alternative scene’s best and brightest you need it.
The music after all is why we are here, right? Okay, there is 3 euro Gin on offer at certain Marches and beers come in cans to make you feel like a giant but the overriding sense of this, in comparison, fairly small festival is that the audience are true music lovers. Luckily, there are no V Festival wankers with day-glo paint and ‘crazy’ shades, no horse-faced girls from Buckinghamshire preparing ‘Coachella Chic’ outfits or beefed up rugby boys sinking Stellas and souring Anglo-Spanish relations. There is however a genuine desire to catch the huge array of artists and revel in the sounds that spring across the seaside stage before they disappear from their continent
This year they will not be disappointed with great artists from top to bottom on the bill. The headliners are some of the biggest bands on the planet with some of the loyalest fans in the world. From the moody 80’s vibes of Pixies to the instrument swapping, genre bending Arcade Fire and Saturday’s rock royalty: Nine Inch Nails, there’s a little something for everyone here.
Those bands may be the top of the bill (technically) but they are almost superseded by the eclectic mix that lies before them. Great indie acts such as the awesomely sullen The National and Neutral Milk Hotel to the dance demons of Disclosure and Jamie XX who will bring all his left-field ammunition, they all combine to make up a complex crucible of people all mingling and discussing sunburn whilst being treated to great music across the board.
There is local talent on display as well, with Barcelona 82 and Caetano Veloso making up part of the contingent and proving Primavera Sound takes after British events – letting Catalan bands have a go at warming up the crowds before the foreigners arrive to take it by storm. We are happy to say there are also some Far Out favourites in the lineup too.
There are some bigger hitters too with Foals, QOTSA and Haim all set to take Barcelona by the balls. The fantastic setting will also be treated to the inspiring Mogwai, the callously contagious Black Lips and the ever mellow, sun-basking Californians The Growlers. We also have some slightly nicher sounds to sink our greedy teeth in to.
Courtney Barnett has been touring the UK of late and she is set to descend upon the sunny shores of Spain to play her own style of Dylan-esque modern folk. Metronomy will also be there, though your coherence of thought might be a touch off by the time their stage call arrives at 3am. As well, Girl Band, St Vincent, Caveman and Pond all make up this incredible bill. Oh, and there’s tapas, did I mention tapas?
Primavera Sound offers quite a lot then? It offers a fantastic city with which I have fall in love with more upon every visit. A huge array of culture; the Dali museum, Gaudi’s various masterpieces, Picasso places and Hemmingway haunts. It even offers an almost guaranteed sun tan all whilst being next to the seaside and part of incredible and encapsulating bohemian lifestyle. But apart from all this it’s most premium offer is great music.
Simply put, it’s one of my favourite places and times in the world. Roll on the weekend.