Welcome the debut edition of “How to Survive”, our column with handy tips and tricks for international festivals. This time around we are taking a look at Spain’s largest music festival — Primavera Sound — which takes place every spring in Barcelona. The editor-in-chief of Music Festival Wizard shares some lessons learned from his travels during 100 Nights of Summer.
Primavera Sound! Long on my bucket list and the first stop of 100 Nights of Summer 2015 tour, I had no idea what to expect from the Spanish festival scene. This indie rock mecca kicks of the European festival season with an absolute monster lineup in Barcelona. A five day schedule of music means there’s more than enough to keep a festie occupied. A few tips if you’re planning on heading to Spain:
Plan Your Sleep: There’s no camping and Barcelona fills up on the weekends. You’ll want to book accommodations sooner than later. Hostels are the best budget value and you should lock in a reservation or you may find yourself wondering why rooms in a shared dorm are going for $150 a night (true story). You may even find yourself ten kilometers north of the venue in a campground.
Change up Your Internal Clock: Sleep all day and party all night is the motto of the Spanish festival scene. Gates open around five, the cool kids show up at ten, and headliners go on after midnight. There’s a full schedule that runs straight until the wee hours of morning and byeond, so no reason not to stay up all night.
Getting There and Back Again: For a venue that’s technically inside the city of Barcelona, the Parc El Forum can be a pain in the ass. It’s located on the north side of the city which is a 20 minute or so metro trek from downtown depending on where you jump no. They also close the train down at night so you’re stuck with the city’s festival bus service which can become super packed. If you can keep up the pace, it’s best just to party until the metro wakes back up each morning around five.
Pre-Party Like the Locals: With beers around $6 (and mostly featuring the extremely not local Heineken), arrive early for the unofficial pre-party around the front gates. Hundreds of Primavera fans set up impromptu picnics without interference from local authorities or the festival. Across the street at the nearby mall, is a amazingly well-stocked grocery store with cold beer, Spanish wine, and plenty of snacks.
Keep An Eye out for Special Shows: Bands play all over the city during Primavera Sound from intimate club gigs to special performances on the festival grounds. These extra-popular shows always draw a large crowd so if you want any chance, you’ll have to arrive early and be prepared to wait for a bit.
The Urban Venue: With the exception of one grassy lawn, The Parc El Forum is not especially festival friendly. Most of the areas are concrete while the main stages are gravel and dirt. Pack a small blanket into your daypack if you can and wear comfortable shoes.
The Best Stage: Like I said before, Primavera Sound is a concrete jungle…except for the far left stage (called the ATP stage in 2015). This tends to be the best spot to secure a home base for exploration and for a late afternoon nap.
Sunday Funday: The bulk of Primavera Sound happens Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Sunday brings the festival back into the city proper with shows all around downtown Barcelona and a much chiller vibe. It’s the perfect way to recoup from an epic weekend. Check the official website to see what’s happening and where.
Read More From Music Festival Wizard:
100 Nights of Summer Photo Gallery: Primavera Sound 2015
100 Nights of Summer: The Scene @ Primavera Sound 2015
Primavera Sound Festival Hub