Primavera Sound 2018: reasons to keep on believing
The Barcelona festival celebrates its 18th anniversary with an edition that broadens stylistic horizons and breaks down barriers of gender and age
Primavera Pro throws itself into defending rights and into inspiring creation in the music industry
Primavera Sound is Nick Cave walking on water right from the start of his performance. HAIM showing the world their sibling love. Nils Frahm and his pianos hypnotizing even the grass of the site. Spiritualized filling the Auditori del Fòrum with both real and metaphoric stars. Björk performing her floral ceremony. Los Planetas giving a surprise concert. A press conference that brings together The Three Tenors of Spanish trap (C. Tangana, Bad Gyal and Yung Beef) and another with Birkin (mother) with Gainsbourg (daughter). Amaia singing a song by Neutral Milk Hotel. The Mexican chef Eduardo ‘Lalo’ García offering his culinary repertoire for one day only. Floating Points DJing for six hours right on the beach. Jónsi from Sigur Rós in his sound explorer outfit. Tyler, The Creator inviting A$AP Rocky on to his stage. The National reassuring thousands of people. “Fight for your right to party. Party for your right to fight”. Primavera Sound is all the collaborators and friends of Jóhann Jóhannsson with lumps in our throats at the concert in homage to the late Icelandic composer. And Primavera Sound will be Lorde bringing her audience together in a massive collective embrace tonight, the Arctic Monkeys reappearance with their most fascinating album, Jane Birkin remembering Serge Gainsbourg, Beach House giving their only European festival concert this year, Skepta arriving for another (almost) unexpected concert, THE BLAZE turning up the electronic beats and A$AP Rocky setting the stage and anything that gets in his way on fire. It is ending up giving yourself up, body and soul, for yet another year, to the communal dance with DJ Coco under the universal motto: “Don’t stop believin’”. This is, and continues to be, Primavera Sound.
A “don’t stop believin” that is reflected in the balance of the eighteenth edition of the event. Once again this year, the festival beats its own records with over 60,000 people per day at the Parc del Fòrum, with Saturday, which completely sold out months ago, still to go and the closing day at the CCCB tomorrow which will push numbers up to over 210,000 people from 126 countries. The free concerts tomorrow, headed by Fermin Muguruza eta The Suicide of Western Culture, Rhye and the Australian Montero among others, will be the culmination of yet another unforgettable week of music.
With every year and every edition that passes, Primavera Sound is a little more complete. And 2018 has been the year of gastronomy –high-end and popular gastronomy– with Primmmavera. It has been the year of the consolidation of the electronic music site Primavera Bits with its third stage on the beach of Sant Adrià de Besòs, of the new stages The Warehouse and Radio Primavera Sound by SEAT and of the new outdoor location of the Heineken Hidden Stage. It has also been the year of gender equality on the two main stages and of the implementation in the festival of the No Callem protocol against sexual harassment created by the Barcelona Town Hall that will be in place until it is no longer necessary.
We are now on our way to Oporto for the seventh edition of NOS Primavera Sound, which from 7th to 9th June will take artists of the calibre of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Lorde and A$AP Rocky among many others to the Portuguese city. Then on to Primavera Sound 2019, from May 30th May to 1st June. Much more and even better. We never tire of repeating it: Don’t stop believin’!
Primavera Pro 2018: Listening (to the) music
“What we want are heads of state that make cool playlists”. “Rights, like the freedom of speech, are a question of class”. Two sentences. The first, is apparently frivolous (or is it?), was uttered by Father John Misty. The other by Elgio, former member of La Insurgencia who was condemned to two years and one day of prison for verses that the High Court considered incitement to terrorism.
Both sentences have one thing in common: they were said in the framework of Primavera Pro 2018 and, in some way, they represent everything that normally would not be part of a professional meeting: entertaining wit, and the denunciation of deplorable situations. Primavera Pro is the place to hold a round table on how to tour in the Asia market, followed by a session to thrash out how Blockchain can help musicians. Where one can learn how to get a track on a successful playlist by Justin Barker from [PIAS], and later the opportunity to listen to the journalist Liz Pelly revealing the sexist stereotypes that are hidden behind an apparently inoffensive algorithm on a streaming platform. A place where you can discover the unusual chemistry between the well-known Father John Misty and filmmaker Adam Curtis, and to find out what the future has in store for the new generations of professionals in the music sector. Somewhere where you can listen to the producer John Congleton defending “timeless” music as opposed to a “perfect” sound, or where you can have a laugh listening to the vision that Los Planetas have today of their toxic glory, which is twenty years old already, Una semana en el motor de un autobús. A place where you can accompany Stuart Braithwaite on his journey through his favourite musical moments in cinema, and see how Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein have gone from cult band to pop phenomenon thanks to the soundtrack for Stranger Things. And it is a space in which you can express your outrage about a legal system that suffocates art and protest with Elgio, the lawyer Laia Serra, Dani Vilaró from Amnistía Internacional, and the journalist Bruno Sokolowicz.
And of course, it is a place to applaud the association of Mujeres de la Industria de la Música, which won the Primavera Award this year for their efforts to dynamite all gender inequality in the music sector. The feminist discourse was also very much present on the stages: 54% of the showcases from the five continents had women members and in many cases they were frontwomen or solo artists. This is one of the most significant figures of the ninth edition of Primavera Pro, that has brought together over 3.000 accredited professionals from almost 70 different countries.