Festival season in full swing: Catalan News’ top summer festival picks
From rock to indie to pop and beyond, there’s a bit of something for everyone
Have the post-Primavera Sound blues hit you hard? Don’t know where to go to get your next musical fix? There’s no need to despair with all the other top-notch music festivals taking place all over Catalonia this summer – we’ll help you get through this with our favorite choices below.
Festival Jardins de Pedralbes
If what you’re into is a little classier than the usual festival sweat and grunge, this is the place – with numbered seats and all! – for you. Wooing perhaps a more moneyed and composed crowd than most of Catalonia’s other summer gigs, Pedralbes is perfect for those who wish to take in the best music of today and yesteryear at one of Barcelona’s peaceful green enclaves. Located in the stately Pedralbes gardens, the festival also offers elegant wining and dining options.
Lineup: Mariah Carey, Diego El Cigala, Joan Dausà, Gipsy Kings, Ana Belén, Gilberto Gil, The Beach Boys, Juanes…
When? June 5 - July 15
Where? Jardins del Palau de Pedralbes, Barcelona
More aptly described as a comprehensive “theater, dance, music and circus” festival than a simple music festival, Grec’s 44-year long tradition has firmly established it as one of Barcelona’s biggest annual cultural events. The summer festival’s mission is twofold: to showcase some of Catalonia’s finest artistic troupes and groups as well as to allow first-rate foreign talents to share their gifts with the Catalan capital.
Lineup: The Matthew Herbert Brexit Big Band, Toquinho, Sílvia Pérez and Javier Colina, Chick Corea, Sydney Dance Company…
When? June 13 - July 31
Where? Various venues throughout the city, mainly on Barcelona’s Montjuïc mountain
Initially seen as Primavera’s smaller sibling, Cruïlla has grown steadily over the past few years, attracting important local and foreign musical acts as it’s built its reputation on the European festival scene. This is a good medium-sized festival to go to that provides musical comfort by the Fòrum seafront to many young and hip Barcelona dwellers interested in savoring all sorts of trendy genres and styles.
Lineup: Black Eyed Peas, Bastille, Vetusta Morla, Garbage, Kylie Minogue, Seu Jorge, Jorge Drexler…
When? July 3-6
Where? Parc del Fòrum, Barcelona
Located just south of Sitges and only 45 minutes from Barcelona, Vilanova i la Geltrú holds its annual Vida Festival among the Mediterranean pines of an old country house – an ideal setting for music aficionados who want to enjoy the local and international scenes’ latest beats, but can’t be bothered with the hustle and bustle of the bigger Barcelona festivals. Choose this festival for a laid back (and cheaper, when booked in advance) experience.
Lineup: Hot Chip, Él Mató a un Policía Motorizado, Beirut, Sharon von Etten, Kevin Morby, Kids from Mars…
When? July 4-6
Where? Masia d’en Cabanyes, Vilanova i la Geltrú
Festival Castell Peralada
Not strictly a music festival, the gardens of Peralada’s medieval castle become the summer night host of musical classics as well as various dance and theater shows. Located north of Figueres and inland from Dalí’s beloved Cadaqués, this is one of Costa Brava’s top high culture events.
Lineup: Mariinsky Ballet, Charlotte Gainsburg, Paul Anka, La Fura dels Baus, Dàmaris Gelabert, Camilla Nylund…
When? July 4 - August 17
Where? Castell de Peralada, Peralada (Girona)
Boasting the honor of being one of the country’s oldest summer festivals having been founded all the way back in 1958, this Costa Brava spectacle brings together first-rate artists from here and abroad. Only half an hour south of Girona, Porta Ferrada is the place to be if you’re interesting in discovering a small beach town while delighting in the tunes of your favorite artists.
Lineup: New Order, Manolo García, Joan Baez, Amaia, Melendi, Els Pets, Patti Smith & Band, Ólafur Arnalds…
When? July 4 - August 20
Where? Various venues in Sant Feliu de Guíxols (Girona)
If you’re interested in discovering Catalan rock, this is the perfect day festival for you! Its history dates back to July 1975, months before Dictator Francisco Franco died, when the first counterculture Canet Rock festival was celebrated in defiance of government censorship and featured Catalan-language legends such as Maria del Mar Bonet or Sisa. Returning in 2014 after a 36-year hiatus, this festival does not disappoint lovers of the local rock music scene.
Lineup: La Pegatina, Els Catarres, Els Pets, Doctor Prats, Zoo, Xavi Sarrià, Itaca Band, Miquel del Roig…
When? July 6
Where? Pla d’en Sala, Canet de Mar (Barcelona)
Doctor Music Festival
Also known as the Festival of the Cow, Doctor Music Festival first kicked off in Lleida’s Pyrenees in 1996 with the likes of David Bowie and Lou Reed, striving to become a “Spanish Woodstock” of sorts where festival-goers could be at one with both nature and music. The festival took place yearly until 2000, meaning this year’s relocated and promising new “Reincarnation Edition” has a lot to live up to as standards will be high for nostalgic fans and newbies alike.
Lineup: Sopa de Cabra, Rosalía, Els Pets, The Blaze, Primal Scream, The Strokes, The Chemical Brothers, The Smashing Pumpkins
When? July 12-14
Where? Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Montmeló (Barcelona)
This event was cancelled on June 12.
Cap Roig Festival
Another one of Costa Brava’s excellent musical offerings this summer, Cap Roig Festival will soon take place at the picturesque coastal town of Calella de Palafrugell’s botanical gardens. Here you can not only soak in rays during the day at any one of Palafrugell’s gorgeous coves, but also, at night, you can bask in the melodies of preeminent musicians in this beautiful Mediterranean pocket of calm.
Lineup: Sting, Diana Krall, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Liam Gallagher, Álvaro Soler, Jorge Drexler, David Bisbal…
When? July 12 - August 21
Where? Cap Roig, Calella de Palafrugell (Girona)
Sónar has showcased some of the biggest names in electronic and dance music since its first edition in 1994 and has since then become one of the most internationally-renown annual sites of music enthusiast revelry and delight. This is the ultimate alternative/creative/innovative festival for those looking for a slightly transgressive and modern edge to their fun.
Lineup: A$AP Rocky, Bad Bunny, Four Tet, Louie Vega & Honey Dijon, Kaytranada, Dixon, Paul Kalkbrenner…
When? July 18-20
Where? Fira Montjuïc, Barcelona (Sónar by Day) and Fira Gran Via L’Hospitalet, L’Hospitalet (Sónar by Night)
Festival Internacional de Música de Cambrils
Branding itself as “the international music festival of the south of Catalonia,” 12 concerts will take place at the Tarragona beach town event’s 45th edition. Cambril’s Parc del Pinaret’s stages have witnessed the performances of stars including Julio Iglesias, Alejandro Sanz or Antonio Orozco, with more promising acts scheduled for the upcoming summer nights.
Lineup: Sara Baras, Fangoria, Momo: Queen Tribute, Diego El Cigala, Els Pets, Álvaro Soler, Vanesa Martín…
When? July 25 - August 11
Where? Cambrils (Tarragona)