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Canceled, delayed, no info: Catalonia’s summer music festivals

The coronavirus crisis is putting plans for mass gatherings on hold for many of Europe’s biggest festivals

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04 June 2020 11:17 AM

by

Cillian Shields | Barcelona

As the weather begins to warm, this is the time of year that many people’s minds turn to summer plans, and music festivals always play a big part in Catalonia. 

Some of Europe’s premier music festivals take place on Catalan shores, including Primavera Sound, Sónar, and Cruïlla, while the country boasts many other more humble gatherings that hold their unique place in the cultural calendar. 

Naturally, the coronavirus crisis which has gripped the continent is going to have a huge impact on these plans, with many festivals either canceled or postponed. 

The Spanish minister for culture, José Manuel Rodriguez Uribes, has said that it will be necessary to "wait" to decide whether summer music festivals can be held and that "health criteria" and the "principle of prudence" will be followed in making any decision. 

Elsewhere, the president of the Music Festivals Association, Patricia Gabeiras, told the Catalan News Agency that she believes very few festivals will go ahead this summer. 

"What's for sure is that there will be some things, we don’t know which, that cannot be done," she explained.

"Between May and June, very few, maybe none will go be able to go ahead, but we don't know. If these festivals need to be changed into something else, cancelled or suspended, then these decisions should be taken within a solid framework."

Here’s the latest updates on the state of play for the Catalan festivals as of June 4, 2020. 

Primavera Sound

In March, Primavera Sound joined a spate of European festivals in signing a pledge to carry on in the face of the pandemic. Four days later, Primavera Sound, which attracted over 220,000 fans in 2019, announced that they would be postponing their dates to late August. And on May 11, organizers finally confirmed that the 2020 edition would be canceled altogether. 

This year's edition was meant to be the biggest in the history of the festival, as the group celebrated 20 years, as well as an expansion to Los Angeles, California.

Sónar 

Sónar is arguably the second biggest festival in Catalonia, behind Primavera Sound, and serves a more techno, electronic, and dance offering. 

On May 8, organizers announced that this year's edition would not be taking place in June, but a special edition of the Sónar+D congress would take place in September. 

Cruïlla

On May 15, Cruïlla officially announced that their full programme was impossible to hold, effectively cancelling the festival.

However, in the same announcement, they revealed plans to hold hundreds of smaller events with limited capacity in some of the most "iconic" places of Barcelona, including the Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau, Catalonia's National Theatre gardens, and Poble Espanyol. 

No lineup has been announced, but they promise a programme of "concerts of all styles," including street performances, monologues, circus acts and more. 

Any tickets for the 2020 festival will be valid for the 2021 edition, they also add.

Vida Festival 

Vida Festival, held in Vilanova i la Geltrú each summer, announced on June 4 that its 2020 edition is canceled. 

Its organizers said that "80%" of its lineup for this year will take part in the 2021 edition, set for July 1-3, next year. 

All the tickets bought for the 2020 edition will be valid for next year's. 

During lockdown, the festival donated €24,000 to health services working in the fight against Covid-19, and released videos of past performances so fans could enjoy the festival during confinement at home. 

Festival Cap Roig 

Set in the picturesque botanical gardens of Cap Roig on the Costa Brava, the Festival Cap Roig isn’t a concentration of concerts squeezed into a particular day or number of days, but rather one concert on a night on most evenings between July 10 and August 22. 

With no press releases or news items on their website, there’s little to suggest the organizers are planning on cancelling or changing dates, while their social media feeds continue to point fans in the direction of where they can buy tickets. 

Given that Cap Roig is only one concert being held at a time, this festival could be one that survives the coronavirus crisis relatively unscathed, although there could be some limitations put on capacity at the gigs. 

Festival Jardins de Pedralbes

The Festival Jardins de Pedralbes has a similar structure to Cap Roig, in that it is a selection of single concerts across different nights. 

Organisers announced on May 6 that the 2020 festival in Barcelona would not be going ahead, with some of the concerts to be rearranged for next year.

Festival Castell de Peralada

The Peralada Castle festival has been cancelled for 2020, with organizers hoping to return in 2021. Peralada was expected to welcome massive names such as Jonas Kaufmann, Sondra Radvanovsky, Carlos Alvarez, among many others.

Festival Portaferrada

Also located on the Costa Brava, Portaferrada is another music festival in the open air, spread over several nights. 

So far, it still remains business as usual for this festival.

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  • Fans enjoying a concert at Sónar by Day 2019 (by Pere Francesch)

  • Fans enjoying a concert at Sónar by Day 2019 (by Pere Francesch)

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