Primavera Sound in Barcelona

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by Carter Harrington


At this great time of year, the weather in Barcelona is just about perfect. The clouds are almost nonexistent and the temperature hovers around 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, and no lower than 60 degrees at night.  Perfect weather to get outside and dance, right?!

Well, Primavera Sound S.L. started something perfect for this time of year back in 2001 at the iconic Poble Español, where they drew around 7,000 visitors.  Since that time, Primavera Sound changed venues to Parc del Forum and has grown to become one of the biggest music festivals in Europe, drawing over 200,000 attendees, 200+ bands, and some of the greatest sound systems to have ever graced your ears. 

The Parc del Forum is the perfect place to hold large-scale events since it can support a massive number of people in various areas of the park. It is situated on the water, just northeast of the Olympic Harbor, in an incredibly picturesque setting.

Not only does Primavera Sound Barcelona take place in Parc del Forum, but it has also expanded its reaches to several neighborhoods, including El Raval, as well as many bars and clubs strewn throughout Barcelona.  In 2011, Primavera Sound made its debut as a promotional company, and has grown by leaps and bounds in attendance since that time.

The Parc del Forum certainly is the hotspot and primary venue for this event with a total of thirteen stages, all of which are sponsored by a variety of big names, such as Heineken, MANGO, Ray Ban, Bacardi, and several other notable companies.  One of these stages in particular, Desperados Club, boasted a Bowers & Wilkins Sound System worth up to 1 million euros.  Without a doubt, Primavera exceeded its goal to take hi-fi quality sound and integrate it with a live music experience.  On top of that, the visuals were stellar.  Almost every stage had two or three giant LCD screens which projected the artists performing or whatever visual display the artists wanted the audience to see while they played.

Apart from the clean and clear music, Primavera Sound also did an amazing job in terms of food.  Throughout the Parc del Forum, eight different areas were jammed with food vendors serving a wide variety of food that catered to all tastes and cravings.  For example, they served many options for those with dietary intolerances as well as vegetarian diets.

The multi-day festival includes a wide variety of music genres, such as rock, alternative rock, hip-hop, rap, and electronic music.  This year, several big names took the stage, such as Jamie XX, The XX, Van Morrison, Bon Iver, and Glass Animals.  Anyone can find their musical niche when they go to the Parc del Forum, making its appeal broad among all generations.  One moment you could be dancing with all of your friends, and the next with all of your parents’ friends! 

This year several ALBA students, including me, spent a Thursday evening at Primavera Sound and needless to say, it was a very memorable experience.  After getting into our dancing gear and meeting up, we hopped on the metro, got off at the Maresme Forum stop and within five minutes of getting off the train, we were waiting in line to get into the venue.  I must add that this line moved faster than any line for any festival I have ever attended.  It was quickly apparent that the event was well-staffed and highly efficient in moving people to their desired destinations. 

It was 7pm when we got through the line and found ourselves in Barcelona’s largest “playground.”  Everywhere we turned, we discovered a new stage or beautiful structure filled with incredible art.  Wherever we walked, we heard a variety of tunes that carried perfect frequencies.  Groups of adults and children alike walked in the masses from stage to stage soaking in the abundant good vibes.

With bellies full of great food and drinks, we danced to Miguel, Bon Iver, and Apex Twins to the point of exhaustion.  It was at that point that we mustered the energy to  walk toward the exit, but the ambient notes coming from the Ray Ban stage told us it was not yet time to go.  For another two hours, we sat and listened to an American band known as Tycho while they lulled us with downtempo synthesizers and ambient melodies.

Once Tycho’s amazing performance came to an end, the sky was starting to change from black to blue. We left the festival with smiles on our faces, hailed a cab and called it a night. Yes, it was indeed a most memorable night.


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