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Cruïlla music festival as a 'crossroads' where different music styles and crowds meet

For the last few weeks, the word 'Cruïlla' has been monopolising conversations with my friends. This started to happen since we decided to go to Cruïlla Festival 2015, a relatively young Barcelona music festival taking place from the 10th to the 12th of July at Parc del Fòrum (an enormous setup on the seafront). As we are all foreigners not yet proficient in this country's language, for us the word 'Cruïlla' became like a mantra: we kept repeating it, ignoring the fact that it had real meaning by itself. We later found out that it is a Catalan term for 'crossroads'. Indeed, this music event is conceived as a real place of encounter not just among artists coming from all over the world (45 in total this year), but especially among people coming to enjoy the music (46,000 overall). As performances vary greatly in style, very different crowds intermingle, providing the event with a pleasantly eclectic flavour and a tolerant soul.

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13 July 2015 09:34 PM

by

Valentina Marconi

Barcelona (ACN).- For the last few weeks, the word 'Cruïlla' has been monopolising conversations with my friends. This started to happen since we decided to go to Cruïlla Festival 2015, a relatively young Barcelona music festival taking place from the 10th to the 12th of July at Parc del Fòrum (an enormous setup on the seafront). As we are all foreigners not yet proficient in this country's language, for us the word 'Cruïlla' became like a mantra: we kept repeating it, ignoring the fact that it had real meaning by itself. We later found out that it is a Catalan term for 'crossroads'. Indeed, this music event is conceived as a real place of encounter not just among artists coming from all over the world (45 in total this year), but especially among people coming to enjoy the music (46,000 overall). As performances vary greatly in style, very different crowds intermingle, providing the event with a pleasantly eclectic flavour and a tolerant soul.


Cruïlla Festival is a synonym for great atmosphere, good vibes and a multicultural environment. It is a good reflection of its hosting city's brightest side. On Saturday (the second day of the event and considered by many the 'strongest one'), the Festival kicked off at around 6.00 pm with German folk duo Milky Chance.

German duo Milky Chance warmed up the crowd

The atmosphere was amazing from the very start: relaxing, chilled and very welcoming. Although the sun was super warm, a cool breeze coming from the nearby sea provided us with a very refreshing feeling (and for sure cold beer helped as well). As the group started playing, people began gathering in front of the stage. Milky Chance did a very good job at warming up the atmosphere: people soon started dancing, singing along and having a good time. The German duo – performing for the first time in the Catalan capital – was accompanied for the occasion by a percussionist. The concert closed with their hit 'Stolen Dance'. The girls in the front rows really seemed to appreciate the group's singer, Clemens Rehbein, with most of the songs being accompanied by the throwing of bras onstage.

Emeli Sandé's powerful performance was taken care of in every detail

As soon as the first concert finished, the crowed moved swiftly to the adjacent stage where artist and songwriter Emeli Sandé started singing in perfect time. Her performance was magnificent and taken care of in every detail, from her powerful and moving voice to her glamorous and colourful style. A very strong aura emanated from her figure on stage, accompanied by a full orchestra dressed in total black. Soon, the atmosphere became intense and emotional; people started singing along with the Scottish singer and there was a feeling of being in the presence of a real contemporary diva. While she sang some songs that will appear on her next album, her performance's true highlights were her most famous hits such as 'My kind of love' and 'Next to me'.

Plenty of spaces to just relax and chill with your friends and family

But Cruïlla is not just about the music, as there is plenty of space to just relax and chill with your friends and family (many kids were there). After having been energised by the first two concerts, we decided to take a little break and enjoy some of the parallel activities the event offered: from artists painting graffiti in a street-art-dedicated space, to a promotional area where people could jump in a tank full of plastic balls, passing through a myriad of food stands scattered throughout the festival and serving every kind of international cuisine. Another positive aspect worth mentioning: there were lots of people, but the queues (of every kind) went fast. After this short pit stop, everyone was ready for the (supposed) peak of the night: hip-hop queen Ms Lauryn Hill's concert.

Ms Hill was 40 minutes late but in the end the crowd forgave her

Ms Hill was supposed to start at 10.00 p.m. but when after 15 minutes she still had not shown up, the feeling that something was wrong started to creep in. This impression strengthened when a DJ came on stage and started playing some famous tracks. The crowd – that at this point was really massive – reacted fine at the beginning but after a short while became impatient and started booing. In the end, the long-awaited hip-hop queen did come on stage, with a 40-minute delay and no explanation.

Especially at the beginning of her performance, she looked angry and unhappy and things just did not seem to work between her and the orchestra. Overall, it was a bit disappointing (she was singing while seated and started out with some not very well known tracks), although toward the end she seemed to make an effort, standing up and performing some classics such as The Fugees' 'Ready or Not' and Bob Marley's 'Jamming'.

"Are you proud to be free?", Damian Marley shouted, greeting the crowd

But who did totally meet our expectations was the other big name of the night, Jamaican reggae artist Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley (son of reggae legend Bob Marley). He performed – just after Ms Hill – on the adjacent stage, and greeted the crowd with a powerful "Are you proud to be free?" For about an hour and a half, the crowd could not stop dancing and singing along. A special emotion pervaded everyone when Damian sang some of his father's most famous songs such as 'War' and 'Could you be loved'.

Among the most pleasant moments of the night were also: Le Peuple de l'Herbe, a French band playing a mix of electronic music, afrobeat and dub and, at the very end, Macedonian electronic musician and composer Kiril Džajkovski performing with New York-born rapper and songwriter TK Wonder. Even though when they performed the night was already into the small hours, both really managed to keep people's spirit up and the crowd kept dancing and having fun until the very end.

46,000 people took part in this 8th edition, tickets for the next one will go on sale soon

Overall, 46,000 people took part in this the 8th edition of the Cruïlla Festival. For the organisers, this year's event represents "a very important leap forward in the evolution of Cruïlla". Through a press release, the Festival's staff thanked the public "for the affection and the excellent behaviour which allowed this edition to be the best one in its history". In the coming days, tickets for Cruïlla 2016 will go on sale.

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  • Attendees of the 2015 Cruïlla Festival in Barcelona's Parc del Fòrum (by P. Cortina)

  • Attendees of the 2015 Cruïlla Festival in Barcelona's Parc del Fòrum (by P. Cortina)