February: what to do in Catalonia
The second month of the year brings science, lights, love, Carnival and the Chinese New Year
Ending in February
BCNegra crime novel festival | Throughout Barcelona
Running until February 3, the 14th edition of this mysterious event gathers authors and experts to talk about the most thrilling noire genre there is. For a bit of intrigue and whodunit, take a look at more information on the event – with the theme of a port, which the festival describes as “with its own laws and space to come and go.”
Starting in February
13th International ARC Salon Exhibition | MEAM, Barcelona
For some stunningly beautiful realism, this is the place to be. This exhibit by the Art Renewal Center will feature the winners and finalists of the 13th International ARC Salon Competition, with almost 4,000 entries of 69 countries. Some of these pieces have already been exhibited in New York City and Sotheby’s. And for those who think they’ve got the right stuff – the 14th edition of the competition is already open.
Tribute to Paco de Lucia concert | Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona
The month of February sees various concerts dedicated to the music of Paco de Lucia, one of the most celebrated flamenco guitar players of all time. The pieces will be taken in hand by Manuel González, Xavier Coll, and Luis Robisco (of international renown themselves), at the beautiful modernist Palau de la Música Catalana, featuring a dance performance by José M. Álvarez and Carolina Morgado. Find out what dates it’s running here.
What’s on in February
Festa dels Tres Tombs | throughout Catalonia | throughout February
Mostly celebrated in mid-January for the day of Sant Antoni Abat, if you missed this typical Catalan celebration in the first month of the year, every Sunday of the month sees the Tres Tombs horse parade in a different town throughout Catalonia. Check out the dates here and find out how one of the biggest celebrations, in Vilanova I la Geltrú, went here!
Open Club Day | Throughout Catalonia | February 2
For this whole day, concert halls throughout Europe will open their doors, and invite those who are curious to see what goes on behind the curtain! This is a European initiative and will be happening throughout the continent. Find out locations here.
Chinese New Year | Throughout Barcelona | February 2
Did you know that February 2 is also the Chinese New Year? This is the Year of the Pig, according to the traditional calendar marked at the year 4717. Get ready to celebrate this beautiful, colorful tradition, in a city with a proud and strong Chinese presence through parades (leaving Estació del Nord park at 11.30 am to Arc de Triomf), performances, and a culture and food fair (at Passeig Lluís Companys).
Calçotada Popular | Santa Eulàlia de Ronçana | February 3
With the year starting anew and the days slowly getting sunnier and sunnier, comes the advent of calçot season in Catalonia. It’s always worth it to keep an eye out for barbecues of these delicious spring onions with a tasty sauce for dipping, put on throughout the city of Barcelona in various neighborhoods and by, of course, many locals. However, if you’re looking for an official event, the town of Santa Eulàlia de Ronçana, in the mountains northeast of Barcelona.
Biennial of City and Science | Throughout Barcelona | February 7-11
Barcelona aims to bring science—and the ethics and discussions surrounding it—to the people, with the first ever biennial of its kind. The main themes: science and citizenship; science, life, and natural environment; transhumanism; art and science. All, represented in close to a 100 activities in the city with over 100 speakers. Find out the full program and more details.
Festes de Santa Eulàlia | Throughout Barcelona | February 8-12
While you may know that most cities, towns, and even neighborhoods have their own ‘festa major’ celebration…you might not know that Barcelona has not one, but two. Before La Mercé took up the mantle, the city’s patron saint was Santa Eulalia, and the festivities are still celebrated today. They include, as with La Mercé (although on a slightly smaller scale), live music, parades, and more. Keep an eye out for more details.
Pussy Riot concert | Sala Apolo, Barcelona | February 9
As part of the ‘Riot Days’ tour, this Russian punk collective is touring Europe. You may be familiar with the name, as the group often makes headlines for subversive activism for feminism, queerness, and in opposition to Putin. To see them for yourself – and maybe get a good mosh pit in – check out their concert!
Homage to Glenn Miller concert | L’Auditori Lepant, Barcelona | February 10
And for something a bit calmer but just as influential, an homage to the jazz great Glenn Miller, the backbone of many of the tunes of today, is happening on February 10. It’s performed by the Barcelona Muncipal Band, Raval’s Band, so expect a more Catalan flavor to it!
International Gold Elephant Circus Festival | Camp de Mart, Girona | February 14-19
The circus is coming to town! Perfect for something intrepid, whacky, and exciting on Valentine’s Day, held in the beautiful medieval town of Girona. Here you can see performances of international renown from close to a hundred artists from a dozen different countries. Some acts are debuting in Europe for the very first time!
Festival CARA·B | Fabra i Coats, Barcelona | February 15
Held in a spacious reworked industrial factory in Barcelona, this is where to go to find the new sounds in the city. It’s the festival’s 5th edition, which is aiming for a fully immersive artistic experience – there’s even food.
Loves on FIRE!! | CCCB, Barcelona | February 15-16
As February calls up images of love and Valentine’s Day, the Barcelona Center for Contemporary Culture (CCCB) and the FIRE!! Barcelona LGBT Film Festival bring you a selection of feature and short films as well as documentaries about queer love, exploring forms of love, sexual identity, and more. Find out showtimes here.
Llum Bcn | Poblenou, Barcelona | February 15-17
Winter months often bring festival of lights, and Barcelona is no different – although this is not your typical festival of lights. Featuring installations, light mapping, lasers, and more, in a new up and coming industrial neighborhood of Poblenou, in which small businesses open their doors to onlookers and to the beautiful bright lights. Keep an eye out for the schedule, to be released soon.
Massive Attack concert | Sant Jordi Club, Barcelona | February 16
This iconic band is celebrating the 20th anniversary of their seminal album Mezzanine, and to commemorate this date, they’re touring Europe – with a re-imagined re-working of the album that a generation grew to love. Tickets are steeply priced, but this is sure to be a once in a lifetime experience.
Maremar show | Auditori de Cornellà, Cornellà de Llobregat | February 17
For another more somber and moving event, check out the Maremar musical piece in Cornellà – a chance to see it after it ran in Barcelona through January and got rave reviews. The play takes a Shakespearian tragedy and turning it on its head by reworking it through the lens of the refugee crisis, with music from the Catalan singer-songwriter Lluís Llach. Tickets here and details on the show here.
Carnival | Sitges and Vilanova i la Geltrú | February 28
That’s right – one of the most colorful, eccentric, and joyous celebrations kicks off this month: carnival! If you’ve lived in Catalonia for long, you’ll know that the main place associated with this festivity is the seaside town of Sitges. And on it’s here that on Fat Thursday, the first day, you’ll be able to see the arrival, or ‘Arribo’ of the magical king of carnival, Carnestoltes. Before that, make sure to stop by Vilanova i la Geltrú, just south of Sitges, for the sticky sweet food fight of la Merengada.