Every year in late May, hundreds of thousands of music fans from all over the globe flock to coastal Barcelona for one of the most anticipated events of the year, the ultimate summer kick off, sometimes referred to as the “Coachella of Europe”… Primavera Sound.
Since Primavera’s inception in 2001, it has sought (and beautifully succeeded, I might add) to unite different music communities from every corner of the world and promote music coming out of its host country, Spain. I was positively shocked to hear I’d received press credentials to cover this year’s Primavera for Pure Nowhere and, alongside fellow photographer and music-fanatic friend Lauren, made the 6,000 mile trek to Europe in the name of good tunes and a good time in a new culture.
Spoiler Alert: it surpassed every expectation.
This year’s lineup featured Arctic Monkeys, Tyler, the Creator, Lorde, Ty Segall and The Freedom Band, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, A$AP ROCKY, Björk, Rex Orange County, Nick Cave, Warpaint, Ariel Pink, The Internet, The War on Drugs, among hundreds of others and attracted over 215,000 attendees from 126 countries, according to Catalan News. Surprisingly, Primavera Sound isn’t yet widely known in the United States but, like a fine wine, is only becoming more and more impressive over the years. Held at Parc del Forum in Barcelona, the festival hugs the Balearic coastline and boasts spacious grounds, (for when you need to sit and relax between sets) and affordable food and drinks, amenities most fests don’t tend to match. There’s another special element in the Primavera Sound experience, a kind of magic in the air; the crowds attending Primavera are some of the warmest and most mellow I have ever encountered at a music event, and especially at one of such grand proportions. Worlds collide within the audience at this festival. With over 60% of attendees coming from a country other than Spain, everyone wants to learn about each other, everyone wants to know what it’s like somewhere so far from what they know, and everyone is truly there for the love of the music. This being only my second time in Europe and my first time attending a European fest, I was amazed with the entire experience.
People were there to be there, and there only.
People were there to be together.
Even though headliners typically ran until about 3AM and sets ran as late as 6am, people were in good spirits, I couldn’t seem to find anyone too rowdy, too rude, too creepy, too loud. I went from stage to stage all day, trying to snap some photos at as many sets as I could, and still I felt anew and excited to be where I was, even into the wee hours of morning. Whatever it is, they’re doing it right. If you ever needed an excuse to visit Spain…. Primavera Sound is it.
As one contemporary poet has so memorably said:
“Lose yourself in the music, the moment, you own it,
you better never let it go.”
I am so grateful to have had this opportunity, I met amazing new friends from all over the world, I got to connect and learn about other cultures, I got to see so many of my favorite artists perform in an incredible new setting, and I hope more festivals can follow in Primavera’s footsteps to make a more enjoyable festival experience with such a kick-ass lineup.