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Barcelona local festival La Mercè kicks off with more than 500 activities programmed

From the 18th to the 24th of September, Barcelona celebrates ‘Mercè’, its patron saint. More than 500 activities will be held all over the city, from ‘castells’, traditional Catalan human towers, through international music festivals, to folklore parades and fireworks. Some of the most iconic buildings in the city will be open to the public. ‘Barcelona Acció Musical’, the music festival that takes place during ‘La Mercè’, has scheduled more than 90 concerts throughout the week. This year there will be more international artists than ever before. More than 20 artists from all over the world will perform. Different audio-visual ‘mappings’, will be projected onto the facades of several of Barcelona’s iconic buildings and the festival will close with a performance that synchronises music with fireworks known as ‘Piromusical’.

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19 September 2015 11:21 AM

by

ACN / Shobha Prabhu-Naik

Barcelona (CNA).- More than 500 activities have been programmed for the celebrations of  ‘La Mercè’, Barcelona’s patron saint. From the 18th to the 24th of September, more than 90 concerts will take place and this year’s event will see the highest number of international acts in the history of the festival, with over 20 international artists from 13 different countries taking part in the celebrations. Popular activities such as ‘cercaviles’, parades which include all the folklore symbols of the city, and ‘castells’, traditional Catalan human towers, will also be part of the programme. Many iconic spots and buildings in the capital city will open their doors to the public, including Josep Puig i Cadafalch’s modernist ‘Casa Ametller’ and the ‘Palauet Albéniz’ in Monjtuic, and the festival will finish with the traditional ‘Piromusical’, a performance where music and fireworks are synchronised.


The 2015 Mercè festival starts this Friday the 18th of September and will be filled with culture, tradition and celebration. The most important feast of Barcelona, which this year has a budget of 3.1 million euros, will attract thousands of people with acts such as the popular ‘cercaviles’ parade and the Pyromusical, but will also include new and surprising events including a plane which has been converted into an artistic scene inside the Cuitadella park and a collection of tango displays which have travelled all the way from Buenos Aires, the invitee city for 2015. Andreu Buenafuente will fire the opening shots to announce the start of the festivities and the poster for this year’s events is a work by Irish painter, Sean Scully, who currently lives in Barcelona.

Popular culture and folklore

‘La Mercè’ is one of the best opportunities for Barcelona city to show its folklore to the world. With this in mind, there will be ‘cercaviles’ filling the streets of the Catalan capital. In these parades, giants and other carnival figures that explain the city’s history hit the streets, accompanied by live traditional music and a lively audience that follows them all over the city. Traditional human towers, ‘castells’, are also an important part of ‘La Mercè’, which also aims to put together the popular expressions that shape Catalonia’s culture. Two ‘castellers’ groups have been invited and together with the ‘Castellers de Barcelona’ will celebrate the patron saint’s feast day. Another iconic activity in the whole of Catalonia during the summer festivals is ‘correfoc’. This parade, usually held at night, is composed by groups of ‘diables’ (‘devils’) who dance and jump in a festive way holding torches and burning candles.

International Music

‘La Mercè’ will see live performances from musicians that have travelled to Barcelona from all over the world. More than 20 international artists and bands, from 13 countries spanning the five continents, will be part of the ‘Barcelona Acció Músical’ (BAM). Acts as diverse as Jamaican blues, performed by Andrew Chin, and ‘highlife’ music, a genre similar to ‘afrobeat’ and great for dancing, from Ebo Taylor of Ghana, will perform on Friday night. The group ‘Da Bang’ from Peking, China, who have been compared to the ‘Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ will also be performing, as will Toni Allen from Nigeria, and on Saturday, the Crystal Fighters from London will take to the stage in the old factory of Estrella Damm. Reina Maria Critina avenue and Bogatell beach will also act as stages for the music programme. 

Iconic buildings open doors

Many iconic buildings will hold open doors sessions during ‘La Mercè’. One will be able to visit popular pieces of architecture, such as modernist architectJosep Puig i Cadafalch’s ‘Casa Ametller’. Also, the ‘Palauet Albéniz’, a palace constructed in the early 20th century and one of Catalonia’s most important landmarks, as well as numerous museums, will be open to the public and will be surrounded by familiar performances, shows and folk dancing. 

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  • La Mercè's 'Piromusical', a show in which music and fireworks are synchronised (by ACN)

  • La Mercè's 'Piromusical', a show in which music and fireworks are synchronised (by ACN)