The lemma of this year’s edition of Primavera Sound was baptised as “The New Normal” – that is to say, vouching for a music programme that is gender-equal and diverse. Never have there been such ultra mainstream concerts lined up (when does mainstream become underground again?) next to the less visible world of emerging artists, who bring a different take on music and sound. Read on for an exploration of what Barcelona served on its music menu this year!
Text by Valerie Steenhaut
Photography Emilie Daems
The festival kicked off at LAUT (a recommendation for those want to go out for a dance when visiting Barcelona this summer), where Erykah Badu played to an incredibly eager audience. The evening continued in Apolo, the concert and club venue across the road where an all-female programme made our night: coucou chloe, Lolina, Linn da Quebrada and our favourite feminist reggaetonera Clara!
On Thursday we moved to the Forùm area near the beach for the Barcelona-based Ego Sex (one of the festival discoveries), who were followed by some mellow tunes from Big Thief, and dove straight into the intensity of Marie Davidson on the new Lotus stage thereafter. A jumping 070 Shake welcomed us to the Pitchfork stage, only to be followed by the amazing-as-ever Empress Of and (how could we not) an incredible raving session of Mykki Blanco to close off the evening.
It took a while to pull ourselves together on Friday, but we made it right on time to briefly catch Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” (sorry but also not sorry), before heading back to the less mainstream ambients. We saw Yves Tumor, a stunning-as-usual Flohio, as well as Alizzz, who was presenting some of his most recent songs with the Spanish newcomer Paula Cendejas. We ended the night on the dark side (you literally have to cross a bridge to enter the electronic zone), dancing our night away to Helena Hauff.
Saturday was probably our favourite day though, kicking off with The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices inside the intimate Auditori concert hall. Dressed up in traditional garments, this group of Bulgarian women enchanted the stage with their hypnotic sounds that brought us to a different reality. What followed was a lot of great music: Lizzo, David August, DJ Playero, JASSS and JPEGMAFIA. Our discovery of the day, and probably the entire festival, was the Dutch DJ Marcelle/Another Nice Mess, a truly captivating woman playing at the Ray Ban studios. We expect to see a lot more coming from this flying Dutchwoman in the future!