Primavera Sound Festival Review

Rating: as a festival, 6/10. As a “dance music” festival, 3/10. This is primarily an indie music festival in an urban setting. Great location next to the ocean with an amazing sunrise.

Primavera in the daytime
Primavera in the daytime

The Primavera Sound Festival has received high acclaims from the music festival community, winning the Artists’ #1 Choice Award in 2014. It boasts an attendance of 190,000 with 50% of attendees being foreigners. You can note the pressure of the festival on the city’s hospitality market by the fact that airbnb rooms that weekend were going for 200 euros a night!

Privamera is primarily an indie music festival, with one techno stage. Since it’s not “my music”, I wasn’t going to go, despite its fame. However, on the last day of the festival, a Friend of mine offered me a ticket for free. Who am I to turn down a free ticket?

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I arrived at 10pm but the festival had been going on since the afternoon. My friend Ismael gave me my wristband, which was a previously used press wristband. After a good 10 minutes of massaging (causing my hand to turn black and blue), the wristband finally did the impossible of fitting into my hand. We hung out for a bit outside of the entrance, to pregame some red bull vodka. There were a lot of other youngsters drinking out there, and the park smelled like urine.

Outside the festival venue
Outside the festival venue. Impressive collection of trash, and a very pretty color palette!

We went in and the first stop was to go and wait for the Stokes (had no idea who they are..). First thing that struck out to me about “regular” festivals is that there are gaps in the stage performances when the staff is setting up, and people migrate from stage to stage following the Artists they like, and would even go stand at the stage beforehand in the silence to wait for artists to come on. The “waiting process” was pretty unentertaining. EDM 1, Indie 0.

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One thing that I will give to the festival is that Catalans are awesome because they make Castellers at the festival. They sure know how to make those human towers! Cheerleader skills all around!

Call me lame but I got pretty bored soon at the Stokes. I just didn’t have a connection with the music and have no idea how to dance to it. After about half an hour I excused myself from my group to go see John Talabot, at the semidome stage by the ocean. It was a small stage and the security had to do crowd control to make sure it’s not overly crowded. The techno stage is quite intimate and I do like the semidome. I’m not big into techno but I would say it was an average techno experience.

I met up with another friend that was visiting and we went to visit some of the other stages, wandered into a hard rock group that was pretty interesting. Reminds me of hardstyle… We ended the night with Caribou and an unnamed dj/band at the amphitheater. It was a great moment when the fireworks went off and shortly after the sun rose. The sunrise was gorgeous from Forum.

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The festival was big, with 10+ stages. Despite of this, not all the stages were “on” at the same time, and towards the end of the night they close the two main stages and corral everyone to the stages by the entrance. To me the festival ground was too big, and all concrete, so it made it kind of impersonal. I think it’s a little bigger than the size of bayfront park for ultra, but since the stages were so far apart, and it wasn’t that crowded, it made parts of the festival seem empty. Of course, also due to the way festival fashion is in Europe and the music, I felt like people were not that “crazy.”

My favorite things at festivals are the colorful and creative totems that people bring. At primavera, there was an unique phenomenon of people breaking off the bamboos in the parks, and lifting them up like totems. One even got creative and hung a China flag on it… We later saw that the two people holding the flag were white. No photos to back my statement up as I always forget to document when I’m excited 🙁

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Red bull vodka index: 7.50 euros for a red bull vodka. The price is average for Spain, but they actually measured out the alcohol in a shot glass, which was totally uncharacteristic of Barcelona.. definitely not happy that they did not pour liberally as they usually do 🙂

We stayed until the end of the festival, which concluded at 6am. Here’s us under the morning sun!IMG-20150531-WA0003

Love dance music? Then you must not miss the best dance music clubs in Barcelona when you visit!

Since I am not a fan of non-electronic music, Primavera Sound ranks #15 on my list of top festivals. Find out my favorite festivals here.

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