Europe is known for it’s summer music festivals, and Spain holds it’s own in this regard. We got our first taste of the festival scene this past weekend at Primavera Sound 10, a three day rock centric festival held at the Forum in Barcelona. It’s a huge outdoor venue lined on one side by the Mediterranean and only a few minutes walk from a metro station. We only went for the last night and I’m trying not to think about the acts we missed the previous two days, or that we found out after the fact our landlord had free tickets available for the full three days.
Coming from a country where you have to stand inside the equivalent of a cattle cage to drink in an outdoor venue the festival culture was glaringly more civilised. Alcohol was readily available (San Miguel Beer was the major sponsor) at reasonable prices, with no apparent age checks and get this…. very little disorder. I mean, by 4am there were a few people to be seen a little worse for wear but nothing drastic. That could be due to the fact that the average age was closer to 30 than 20… or there were a ton of people there who don’t age very well.
This is who we saw:
Florence + The Machine: She really CAN sing and they put on a good show.. super high energy and dynamic. They only played their upbeat tracks which worked in the short 1 hour set.
Grizzly Bear: I finally get what the big deal is, I only wish I had been a bit closer. It was a sea of people and we were a little too far back to benefit from the amphitheatre like setting.
Dum Dum Girls: All girl rock band, they weren’t bad but they don’t appeal to me. I have to admit though there are very few female fronted rock bands that I do like.
Pet Shop Boys: I grew up listening to them. so was quite excited for the show. The stage show was phenomenal but it got a bit boring. I mostly wanted to hear the classics but they are touring a new album. We moved on before they finished so maybe they finally played West End Girls or It’s a Sin after we left.
Ben Frost: Terrible “experimental” electronica from Australia. OK, terrible may be harsh but I wasn’t feeling it, at all.
Orbital: I REALLY enjoyed their set. A good mix of accessible dance tracks, classic Orbital and fun new mash ups like Heaven is a Place on Earth and You Give Love a Bad Name over a great bass line. Add to that the full fire moon (glowing red), the 20,000 odd people and a warm Barcelona evening to make for a memorable experience.
We left just before they finished to avoid the mob at the metro (that runs ALL night long on Saturdays) and were home by about 4:30 (am). In keeping with what I feel should be festival tradition we spent Sunday lounging on the beach and I enjoyed my first swim in the Mediterranean of the year.