When: 29 May – 31 May 2014
Where: Parc del Fòrum, Diagonal Mar
Cost: 175€ for festival pass, or 99€ for day ticket
At the end of May, Barcelona hosts one of the top festivals in Europe – Primavera Sound 2013. Back for its twelfth year, the festival continues to focus on independent music and is already gearing up to put a spring in Barcelona’s step once again.
With a long line-up of indie heroes, this open-air festival is a rare treat for those with an ear for alternative pop – Primavera Sound has been graced by more musical legends than you could start a record label with. In previous years it has attracted headliners such as Lou Reed, Neil Young, Pulp, the Pet Shop Boys and Arcade Fire to Barcelona.
The event’s main stage is situated in the vast Parc del Fòrum, with the Mediterranean sea for a backdrop. If you don’t feel like forking out 80€ for a day ticket, the festival will include two free concerts near the Arc de Triompf called ‘Primavera a la Ciutat’ on the opening and last days of the festival.
Like lots of other top festivals in Barcelona, unofficial events and a feel-good atmosphere are all part of the experience. It’s a great time to come to Barcelona, even if you aren’t a dedicated muso with some cash to spare.
Cut to the chase – who played at Primavera Sound 2013?
The kings of Brit-pop, Blur have had huge global success since the ‘90s and chart-topping albums such as ‘Modern Life Is Rubbish’ (1993), ‘Parklife’ (1994) and ‘The Great Escape’ (1995). After a 6-year break, the indie-pop pioneers reformed in 2009 for a UK tour and have since headlined Glastonbury and the 2012 closing Olympic Ceremony.
This alternative rock band from Versailles draws elements from their eclectic ’80s upbringing. Thomas Mars, Deck d’Arcy, and Christian Mazzalai started off in 1995 as a garage band and were later joined by Mazzalai’s older brother Branco. Together ever since, the boys have been growing and growing in popularity and are a favourite on the festival scene.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds is an Australian alternative rock band, formed in London in 1983. They strayed from the traditional rock route and have used influences from various genres, including punk rock, gothic rock and blues. They have collaborated with some big names such as Kylie Minogue and always put on a great show at international festivals.
My Bloody Valentine
My Bloody Valentine is an alternative rock band formed in Dublin in 1983. This formidable live act reject rock-&-roll conventions, and are well-known for their ‘shoegazing’ – a termed coined after people noticed that they rarely moved, or even looked at the audience while on stage. Their ground-breaking album ‘Loveless’ received critical acclaim and they’re no strangers to the stage having completed US and European tours.
The Postal Service
The Postal Service is an American band who produce a mix of bubbling electronica and indie pop. They are made up of vocalist Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie, producer Jimmy Tamborello of Dntel and Headset and Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley on background vocals/keyboards. Their performance at Primavera will be part of a 31-leg tour over four months celebrating the re-issue of their only studio album ‘Give Up’.
Primavera Sound Practicalities
The official Primavera Sound website is a great source of info and has managed to cover virtually every question you could think of, from where to leave your jacket to where the toilets are. Although it’s open-air, Primavera Sound isn’t a camping festival. Due to the popularity of this event, which takes place at the outset of the main tourist season in Barcelona, it’s a good idea to start booking tickets and accommodation now. Hostels are likely to be packed out at this time, but booking yourself a holiday apartment could work out well, especially if you’re travelling as a group.