Barcelona’s La Mercè festival to go ahead with reservations and attendees seated

500 activities to be held throughout the city in 23 different spaces as part of 150th edition of capital’s annual celebration

Barcelona mayor Ada Colau unveils the Mercè 2021 poster with the designer Malika Favre, alongside Jordi Martí and Custiodia Moreno, September 1, 2021 (by Pau Cortina)
Barcelona mayor Ada Colau unveils the Mercè 2021 poster with the designer Malika Favre, alongside Jordi Martí and Custiodia Moreno, September 1, 2021 (by Pau Cortina) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

September 1, 2021 06:39 PM

La Mercè, Barcelona's top local festival, will be held from September 23 to 26, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the festivity. It will, however, look nothing like pre-pandemic times, but instead, as was the case last year, be marked by Covid-19 safety measures. 

More than 500 activities will make up La Mercè's 2021 program, all of them will be "decentralized" as in recent editions. 23 spaces will host about 200 cultural events; in total more than a thousand accredited artists will shape an extensive and diverse program. 

La Mercè events will be held in Ciutat Vella, Eixample, Sants-Montjuic, Horta-Guinardó, Nou Barris, Sant Andreu and Sant Martí. This year, El Parc del Turó and Peira (Nou Barris) will be also added as music stages

Moreover, Havana will be the celebrated invited guest of La Mercè 2021, with Barcelona immersing itself in the Cuban capital’s traditional culture. 

Covid-19 measures 

Capacity controls will be maintained this year due to the pandemic, so, like the 2020 edition, reservations will be required. Tickets can be booked from September 14 through the official La Mercè website

The capacity of the 23 spaces will be up to 3,000 seats, and visitors will be able to enjoy different shows in the same place with one reservation. 

Musical performances will allow a maximum of two tickets per reservation, and other activities up to three tickets per reservation.

La Mercè's history 

1871 was the first year that La Mercè was celebrated with cultural events, although it was previously celebrated as the patron saint of the city before that date. 

This year, as part of the 150th anniversary celebrations, organizers will highlight the history of La Mercè with a retrospective exhibition of posters and photographs from previous years on Passeig de Gràcia. 

Museums open their doors 

The city's municipal museums and other cultural facilities will join the celebration with an open day during La Mercè. Most will have free entry on September 24, and in some cases also on the previous and following days. 

There are also cultural spaces organizing special activities for the occasion, such as concerts, guided tours, performances and workshops. 

Barcelona nightlife 

Barcelona mayor Ada Colau has proposed that clubs and other late venues should reopen in order to avoid mass street gatherings during the La Mercè festivities. This comes just a day after the Catalan government's tight nightclub restrictions were confirmed for another month. 

While Catalonia has passed the fifth wave peak of contagions, its lingering effects are still being felt in hospitals and intensive care units, with occupancy levels still high.

But the nightlife sector believes that it is time to lift restrictions, as a court decision to put an end to the curfew two weeks ago has led to thousands of revelers parting in the streets and on beaches at night in Barcelona and other towns.

However, Catalan president Pere Aragonès has made it clear that his government is not considering loosening its grip on the nightlife sector any time soon.