La Mercè: Barcelona’s top festival adds Camp Nou and Park Güell as music stages

Weeklong fair goes more local than ever, featuring Catalan artists and reaching new districts in push to avoid large gatherings

Catalan artist Núria Graham playing in Vic in 2017 (by Mar Martí)
Catalan artist Núria Graham playing in Vic in 2017 (by Mar Martí) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

September 7, 2020 06:15 PM

The 2020 edition of Barcelona’s ‘La Mercè’ festival, a weeklong street celebration honoring the city’s patron saint, will look nothing like its predecessors. 

For starters, the festival’s flagship mass gatherings — whether they take place at beach concerts, human towers exhibitions, or fireworks shows — pose a great health risk as Catalonia faces what experts have called a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

But festival organizers have pledged to turn safety limitations into an opportunity to make Barcelona’s most iconic festival, held from September 23 to 27, more local than ever.

New districts, new stages

With concerts traditionally held in large venues ready to host thousands of people, this year’s edition of La Mercè will offer instead decentralized events all across the city, reaching neighborhoods like Ciutat Meridiana, Roquetes, and Marina del Prat Vermell for the first time.

The number of music venues is set to double, including crown jewels of the city’s Art Nouveau patrimony, like Park Güell and Sant Pau hospital, the Ancient Greece-inspired arena Teatre Grec, and the surroundings of Camp Nou, Barcelona’s legendary football temple. 

All events will be held between 10 am and 10 pm.

More women, more local artists

Every year, a guest city contributes to La Mercè’s line-up with a number of artists and shows. While La Habana was expected to be 2020’s featured city, organizers have opted instead to highlight the city’s local artists.

In all, the festival will feature more than a hundred bands, most of them Catalan, with women making up around 60% of the line-up. Among them, Maria del Mar Bonet, Núria Graham, Leifur James, Arnau Obiols, Lina and Raül Refree, Suu, and Maika Makowski.

Bookings in advance

For the first time, La Mercè will require locals to book tickets in advance. Capacity will be limited to 30% for concerts and plays. Tickets will be available from the official La Mercè website, the festival app, and can be purchased by calling 93 316 10 38 from 10 am to 3 pm on weekdays.

Tickets will be available from Tuesday, September 8. Depending on the show, bookings will be limited to either 2 or 5 tickets per person and day.