Summer in Barcelona is packed with cultural events. Music and theatre festivals take centre stage, from Primavera Sound, Jardins de Pedralbes and Sónar to the Grec Festival of Barcelona and many more. We take a look at the some of the stand-out festivals so you can start planning your next excuse to visit Barcelona (again)!
Whenever I tell people I'm from Barcelona, they immediately say, “Oh, football!” or “Yes, fiesta!”. Sometimes I even get, "Gaudí, beautiful". For sure, all of those things really are part of Barcelona, but they're also clichés and it hurts my pride a little that people don't associate this city more with all the cultural events it has to offer. Barcelona is also home to fine cuisine, sport, history and, now that summer is just around the corner, festivals as well! The festival calendar is packed, and there's something for everyone: families, couples, friends, etc. Besides, it's a great way to enjoy the sun and the fine weather, and to spend a few days in the capital of Catalonia with time to take everything in and even explore some of the nearby places of interest. There's really no excuse to be bored!
To focus on just one area, today we're going to have a look at some of the key events in the music and performing arts fields. We hope you like our selection!
Primavera Sound: Barcelona's most eclectic festival
© Sergi Albert
Pop, rock, indie, the latest trends in electronic music and underground dance… Primavera Sound is a sure bet, in every sense of the word, for all kinds of audiences, including music industry professionals who are catered for with a specific programme created specially for them. No doubt that's why the line-up has just grown and grown since 2001, and this year it brings stand-out performers like Tame Impala, Pavement, The National, The Strokes, Gorillaz, Cigarettes After Sex and many more.
Where: Parc del Fórum, by the sea.
When: 2-4 June 2022.
Jardins de Pedralbes Festival: Concerts in a deluxe palatial setting
© Sergi Paramès
It’s worth attending this festival just to see the grounds. Fountains, statues, plants and handsome buildings from the 1920s will form the backdrop for important national and international singers and bands such as James Blunt, Simply Red, Crystal Fighters, Jessie J, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, as well as timeless artists such as Tom Jones, The Beach Boys, Il Divo, Paul Anka, Rosario and Diego El Cigala. People who know about these things say the cuisine lives up to the fabulous grounds, and that both the village and the secret terraces offer a delicious range of food to round off a perfect summer's evening.
This festival also sets aside a day for families, with music workshops and activities specially designed for parents and their children.
Where: Pedralbes gardens, next to the Pedralbes Palace.
When: 7 June - 24 July 2022.
Sónar: Days and nights of electronic music and multimedia art
© Sónar Festival
After a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Sónar is back and we can’t wait! This festival faithfully offers an iconic mixture of creativity, technology, and electronic and experimental music. It draws audiences from all over the world, and this year will be no exception with 117 performances, 12 stages and 2 broad sections: Sónar by Day and Sónar by Night. This star-studded festival features names like The Chemical Brothers, Moderat, The Blaze, Charlotte de Witte, Richie Hawtin, The Blessed Madonna, Oneohtrix Point Never, Princess Nokia, Nathy Peluso, C. Tangana and many others. In short, a world-class line-up!
And if that doesn't tempt you, the festival also includes Sónar+D, an international forum of debate on the present and future examined through creativity and concepts like artificial intelligence and music and sound technology.
Where: Sónar by Day at Fira de Montjuïc, Sónar by Night at Fira Gran Via de l’Hospitalet.
When: 16-18 June 2022.
Grec Festival of Barcelona: Much more than a theatre festival
© Josep Aznar
An open-air theatre is the star venue of this festival, although not the only one. This year iconic Barcelona buildings like the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC), the Palau de la Música Catalana, Las Drassanes and a variety of museums and factories for creation will also host theatre, dance, music and circus performances.
The programme includes both local and international productions, a perfect mixture to suit every taste, because this year the goal is to attract people who have never attended the festival before. As an added attraction, the line-up also features names like Jane Birkin, Ostermeier, Castellucci, Milton, Safo, Nederlands Dans Theater, and more.
Where: Teatre Grec de Montjuïc and other venues.
When: 29 June - 27 July.
Cruïlla Festival. Music from all over the world.
Cruïlla Festival started out as a series of concerts in 2005 and has now become one of the most-awaited festivals of the year in Barcelona, thanks to its bold combination of musical styles and different cultures (hence the name “cruïlla” which means “crossroads” in Catalan). The line-up includes the likes of Juan Luis Guerra, Rubén Blades, Jack White, The Editors, Duran Duran, Hot Chip, Molotov, Rigoberta Bandini, Tanxungueiras, Zahara, Rozalén and Rels B.
Where: Parc del Fórum.
When: 6-9 July.
And if that’s not enough, in Barcelona you’ll find loads more plans for the summer.
Vi Jazz Penedès / Vilafranca del Penedés, 1-3 July – Wine & Jazz
Barcelona Beach Festival / Barcelona, 2 July – Electronic music
Festival Vida / Vilanova i la Geltrú, 30 June - 2 July – Music
European Balloon Festival / Igualada, 7-10 July – Sport and hot-air balloons
Mas i Mas Festival / Barcelona, end of May - end of July – Music
White Summer/ Pals (Girona), 5-28 August – Market & Music
Main image: © Paco Amate