Over 200 groups and artists to perform in Barcelona's annual festival
From September 21 to 24, the Catalan capital celebrates La Mercè 2018, with free performances on 40 stages across the city
Every village, town and city across Catalonia celebrates its own unique annual festival, usually in and around the summer. The city of Barcelona is no different, and every September it holds La Mercè, in honor of the city's patron, Our Lady of Mercy (La Mare de Déu de la Mercè in Catalan).
While the actual feast day falls on September 24, the celebrations start a few days earlier, with this year's edition of the festival running from September 21 to 24. Over the four days La Mercè 2018 will last, more than 200 groups and artists will perform on 40 stages in six neighbourhoods across the city.
Of the 211 theatre and circus companies, musical groups and audiovisual artists offering free performances in the open air, some 55 are from abroad. Also, every year La Mercè features a guest city and in this edition the honor goes to Lisbon, with 16 different activities in the festival devoted to the Portuguese capital.
MAC, street arts festival
Meanwhile, the local council will open up the city's main square, Plaça Catalunya, to more than 200 activities organized by local societies and associations. Running alongside La Mercè 2018 will be the street art festival MAC (Mercè Arts de Carrer), which aims "to bring contemporary culture closer to the public."
MAC will feature 330 performances in seven venues and will involve 61 companies from Catalonia and Spain, and another 15 from abroad. The arts festival will also serve as a "shop window for leading companies in the city's artistic sector. Some of the activities will also be for children, to help "create future consumers of culture," according to the organizers.
Music and fireworks
Also every year, La Mercè puts on a spectacle featuring music and fireworks, known as the Piromusical. For the 2018 edition, the event will feature musical themes associated with Lisbon, along with tributes to historical events, such as the May 1968 uprisings, the local jazz scene in the 1950s, and the centenary of US composer, Leonard Bernstein.
Inaugurating La Mercè festival this year will be actor and activist, Leticia Dolera, who will give the opening address, and who will officially welcome the mayor and culture councilor of the Lisbon city council.