2012 Primavera Sound shines one more year with a top programme

Band such as The Cure, Franz Ferdinand, Wilco, Beirut, Saint Étienne or The XX play in a consolidated music festival with the Mediterranean as a backdrop. The most international music festival in Catalonia came to an end this weekend after three days and nights at the Parc del Fòrum, in front of the Mediterranean sea, as well as in other spots in Barcelona. The Primavera Sound Festival has in fact been active since May 8th with the culmination taking place this weekend when a solid roster of successful bands came to perform in Barcelona.

Aitor Álvarez

June 4, 2012 05:35 PM

Barcelona (CNA).- It is almost summer in Barcelona and the sun doesn’t stop shining. During four intense days, the sun shone on 150,000 people at 201 concerts. The capital of the Mediterranean welcomed people from United Kingdom, France, Italy, Sweden, Norway, the United States… ‘Primavera’ means ‘spring’ in Catalan, and ‘spring’ in Barcelona is a synonym of great music festivals, such as the Primavera Sound and the Sónar.

The eight stages of the Parc del Fòrum, an enormous setup in front of the sea built in 2004 to host the Universal Forum of Cultures, hosted the bulk of the programme, with 201 concerts bringing together 37,000 spectators on Thursday May 31st, 42,000 on Friday the 1st and 38,000 on Saturday the 2nd. In addition, some of the concerts have been broadcasted through Primavera TV, the official video channel of the festival.

The event has also considerably increased its programme of free activities with 69 concerts in various venues around Barcelona. The emblematic Arc de Triomf (Barcelona’s triumphal arch) was the central axis of ‘Primavera a la Ciutat”, where 15,000 people gathered for the opening day last Wednesday. The elegant and energetic rock of The Walkmen, pop with hints of the Eighties from Jeremy Jay, the integral playing of ‘Seamonsters’ by indie veterans The Wedding Present, post hardcore from hit band Sant Feliu de Guíxols, No More Lies, and the neo garage sounds of the playful Black Lips marked the beginning of five intense days of music. To end this part of the festival, bands such as Spanish group Nacho Vegas, Yann Tiersen (who composed the original soundtrack of ‘Amélie’), or the Catalan electronic band Boreals, finished off on Sunday 3rd, the last day of Primavera Sound.

But the main concerts took place at the Parc del Fòrum. During three intensive days (and nights, of course), some of the best bands of the world came to Barcelona to play their songs while looking at the Mediterranean Sea. Without a doubt the crucial moment of the festival was the concert by The Cure, who gave a monumental three-hour concert looking back over their long career, delighting thousands of people with immortal hits like ‘Friday I’m In Love’ or ‘Boys Don´t Cry’.

Thursday, time for Britpop

Both The XX and Franz Ferdinand played after midnight on two different stages. The XX combined songs from their unique album with new ones, at a spectacular performance with a great light show. They didn’t stop saying that Barcelona and Primavera Sound are special, because two years ago, when they were less known than they are now, the festival invited them. After The XX, Franz Ferdinand rocked at the San Miguel stage. Franz’s climax came with ‘Take me out’, their most popular song. Thousands of people were singing it at the same time, and jumping in front of the stage, in a truly memorable moment of the Festival.

But not only British bands came on Thursday. Beirut and Wilco, both from United States, also hit it big. Beirut offered a concert oozing with happiness. With their ethnic overtones the band from Santa Fe enchanted the Mini stage, and a packed audience. Wilco, on the main stage, played at the same time and offered a great concert, although they did not sell out as normal.

Other bands such as Grimes, La Estrella de David, Catalan John Talabot, Spiritualized or Spaniard Sr. Chinarro completed a spectacular night. The main part of Primavera Sound was just starting and their performances were being amazing. On the other hand, it is true that Thursday was the day when more people went home early, because Friday is a working day in Catalonia, and there were still two more days to enjoy at the Parc del Fòrum.

Friday, time for The Cure

The most well-known band of Primavera Sound, The Cure, offered an amazing three-hour concert. Robert Smith, with his painted black eyes and hair like Edward Scissorhands captivated the crowd. The British band had never played at the Catalan festival, and the organisers were thrilled to have them there. The Cure’s presence is, without doubt, a milestone for the history of Primavera Sound.  

Apart from The Cure, there were many other star moments. One of them was the concert that Jeff Mangum offered at the Auditorium, a magical space which marks out the Primavera Sound from other festivals. Next year, the Festival probably won’t be able to use the auditorium, because, according to Alberto Guijarro, co director of Primavera, the owner of the space cannot offer it more than six months in advance. This makes it impossible to organise bands and the program.

The funniest moment of the night came with M83. The French band organized a party with their animated music, a mix between electronic and instrumental sounds. When they started playing ‘Midnight city’, in the middle of the concert, the crowd started jumping as if Barcelona was the best place to be in the world at that moment. Everybody was happy, with a smile on their face and nobody wanted the song to come to an end, as the moment was just incredible.

Local bands like Bigott or Joe Crepúsculo also turned in great performances, but they were programmed very early in the afternoon, when people were strolling round the sites which meant the stages didn’t offer a good image. On Friday, the night was more animated and most of the people stayed at the Parc del Fòrum till late.

Saturday, Justice and the electronic revolution

The music was louder than ever before at the Justice gig. Everybody was jumping at the same time and the light show was spectacular as two deejays put in an incredible performance on the main stage, just after midnight. Yo la Tengo, from the United States, turned in a good performance, but the Mini stage acoustics were not the best. The people who were far from the band didn’t hear them well, and most of them went to another concert.

One of the best moments of Saturday was the concert offered by Norwegian band Kings of Convenience. The sun was going down, and the San Miguel stage was amazing. This folk pop duo from Bergen excited the public with their delicate tunes, calming voices, and intricate and subtle guitar melodies. They were amazed with the atmosphere, and sometimes they said things like “it is great to sing in Barcelona, I’m seeing a boat in the sea from here”. It was 8pm and almost everybody who had made it to the Parc del Fòrum went to this concert.

Next stop, Porto

Primavera Sound 2012 says good bye to Barcelona, but only for one year. It doesn’t all end here, because for the first time the second biggest city in Portugal, Porto, will take over from the Barcelona event with the celebration of Optimus Primavera Sound, that from June 7th to 10th  will welcome artists such as Suede, The Flaming Lips, Rufus Wainwright and his Band or The Walkmen among many others.