El Grec revisits its roots
A summer highlight in the Catalan capital is the Festival Grec, which this year begins a new era under Cesc Casadesús. The new head has already left his imprint on the annual performing arts festival, cutting the number of performances from 130 to 102 (“reduced but more intense,” he says) and introducing a thematic structure based around geographical areas. For this year, the focus is –naturally given the festival’s name– the Mediterranean and Greece, although in future editions the event will roam further to take in Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
Based around Barcelona’s Teatre Grec on Montjuïc Mountain, but also in other venues in the city, such as Barts or Jamboree, this year’s festival benefits from a 250,000 euros increase in its budget (3.2m euros), and starts July 1 with Jacopo Godani, choreographer and director of the Dresden Frankfurt Dance Company. As always, international artists will be a key element of the festival, with a total of 32 productions from abroad.
The Grec will continue throughout the month with 43 concerts, 40 plays, 15 dance performances and four circus events. As always there will be a series of parallel activities, with talks, creative workshops and events in libraries. And a novelty this year are the Grec itineraries, pre-prepared packages of performances aimed at different audiences that go from 41 to 69 euros.
Music amid the blooms
The landscaped gardens of Pedralbes park for another year provide the setting for Barcelona’s annual Festival Jardins de Pedralbes. Every year, the outdoor music festival provides a star line-up of artists with, in 2017, the likes of Rufus Wainwright (who opened the festival on June 5), The Beach Boys, Rosana and Sting, along with 22 other top acts.
The festival continues until July 15, when veteran US singer Art Garfunkel brings proceedings to a close. Although some artists have come and gone (including Kool & the Gang, Manel, Birdy and Kris Kristofferson) July still has plenty of big names to offer.
Soundeat! starts the month on July 1, followed by Rosana on July 4 and Sting two days later. Before the festival draws to a close, audiences will still have the chance to catch the Broadway and West End Divas (July 7), Jarabe de Palo (July 8), Air (July 10), Yann Tiersen (July 11) and Roger Hodgson, of Supertramp fame (July 12).
Cruïlla goes crazy by the sea
Jamiroquai, Pet Shop Boys, Die Antwoord, The Prodigy, Ryan Adams, Little Steven and The Lumineers are some of the top acts at this year’s Cruïlla festival. Over three days (July 7-9), the Catalan capital will host 40 concerts on five stages in the Parc del Fòrum.
Senegalese star Youssou N’Dour kicks off proceedings on July 7, and is followed by 18 other artists in a musical extravaganza that always goes on into the early hours.
Peralada: a festival filled with culture
The Béjart Ballet Lausanne Swiss ballet company get things going at this year’s Festival Castell Peralada, with a tribute performance to the choreographer Maurice Béjart on July 6 and 7. For yet another year, the festival held in the grounds of Peralada castle offers a varied line-up of music, dance and theatre in the four venues of the castle gardens auditorium, the Carmen Church, the Carmen Cloister and Cotton Club Terrace.
Apart from its unique setting, what marks the international festival out from others is its multidisciplinary approach that draws on the full range of modern culture, from classical ballet to pop music. This year, the offering goes from the likes of Swedish soprano Iréne Theorin, with the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse (July 8), to veteran UK pop star Bryan Ferry (July 21), or from Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly (August 7) to Italian singer-songwriter, composer and painter Franco Battiato (July 22). In between, the line-up includes singer-songwriter Katie Melua (July 15), a performance of Beauty and the Beast by the Malandain Ballet Biarritz ballet company (July 28), tenor Gregory Kunde (August 6), or Spanish pop sensation Malú, on August 10. Meanwhile, one of the biggest names in world dance, Carlos Acosta, brings the festival to a close on August 17 with a performance by his new company.
A fortress of musical talent
In July and most of August, the Cap Roig gardens in Calella de Palafrugell host the annual Cap Roig music festival with a stunning line-up of international stars. The festival held in the botanical gardens of the Costa Brava town is one of Catalonia’s most important outdoor summer music festivals, with more than a score of concerts by some of the best musical talent from home and abroad. Apart from the line-up the festival offers, another attraction of the event is its setting.
Eclectic quality in Cadaqués
Between August 4 and 15 this year, the Festival de Cadaqués celebrates its 46th edition with its usual eclectic line-up of quality acts. In all, this year’s festival will have a score of performances over the 12 days it lasts, with daily concerts in different parts of the picturesque Costa Brava town.
The Church of Santa Maria will again be the main venue, as it has since the festival began in 1970, together with the Sala, Art i Joia and Sa Conca venues. Festival-goers will also be offered a variety of extra activities, many of them for free, in key places in the seaside town, beginning on August 4 with a cercavila –or procession around the town– led by funk outfit La Dinamo, to mark the start of the festival.
Among this year’s artists are Antònia Font founder Joan Miquel Oliver (August 5), Catalan singer Cèlia Pallí and South African singer-songwriter Francois Klark (August 6), singer-songwriter Joan Isaac (August 7), Carlos Santos (August 10), the band Gossos (August 10), US jazz vocalist Gregory Porter (August 11), Sopa de Cabra (August 14) with Rosario bringing the festival to a close on August 15.
Wine meets music in Empordà
Wine and music come together in the Sons del món festival in the Empordà towns of Roses, Castelló d’Empúries and Empuriabrava. Festival-goers can attend wine tasting sessions before each concert in either Roses or Castelló d’Empúries until August 4 (Chambao kicked off the festival on June 24 in Empuriabrava).
A month of music and comedy
Spain’s oldest summer festival (since 1958), the Porta Ferrada music festival, returns to Sant Feliu de Guíxols for its 55th edition from July 14 to August 19. As always the festival has a varied line-up of international and local acts, with this year a heavy emphasis on Spanish pop, with the likes of Rosario, Oreja de Van Gogh, Jarabe de Palo and Antonio Orozco. Yet, the opening weekend sees a burst of jazz, with three duos: Toquinho & Maria Creuza, Michel Camilo & Tomatito, and Chick Corea & Béla Fleck.
Meanwhile, during July and August, the Espai Port venue will host some big names from the world of music, including Jamie Cullum, UB40, Fangoria + La Unión, Zucchero and Love of Lesbian, as well as Robe, Els Amics de les Arts + Animal and Vanesa Martín.
Classical music is provided by Manel Esteve and Sarah Chang & Quartet Gerhard, performing in the Sant Feliu monastery church, with dance from veteran Lindsay Kemp at the Teatre Auditori Municipal.
Finally, Sant Feliu will again be the venue for the Singlot comedy festival under Andreu Buenafuente, which returns for its third edition.
Jazz in Tortosa
Lovers of jazz are in for a treat between July 3 and 8, as the Baix Ebre town of Tortosa holds the 24th edition of its annual jazz festival. Eccentric violinist Ara Malikian kicks off proceedings on July 3, and is then followed by the Banda Municipal de Música de Tortosa, this year celebrating its 75th anniversary (July 4), as well as virtuoso flamenco guitarist Vicente Amigo (July 6).
Altafulla turns 30
Altafulla’s Plaça de l’Església is again the venue for the seaside town’s international music festival, which this year celebrates its 30th edition. Between August 6 and 31, up to 2,000 people will get to enjoy some of the best international and domestic talent in classical, chamber and spiritual music during the festival’s anniversary year.
S'Agaró goes 'stereophonic'
The Estereofònics festival returns to Castell-Platja d’Aro until October 14 with more than 70 concerts, all free and in the open air. The festival includes the Festival Nits de Jazz a Platja d’Aro (Jun 30-Sep 1), which is celebrating its 20th anniversary. As always, the main venue is the Gran beach, an ideal spot to enjoy concerts by Anthony Strong, Marco Mezquida Trio, Stefano Palatchi, Barcelona Gospel Messengers featuring Lurine Cato and Anna Luna quintet.
The programme also includes the S’Agaró International Music Festival, with 10 concerts from July 15 to October 14, with the Händel Festival Orchestra conducted by Horst Sohm as a highlight.
For lovers of more upbeat rhythms, there is the Desemboca Rock’n’Roll Festival (July 21-23), with King Salami & The Cumberland 3 top of the bill, and nine punk, garage, psychedelia and R&B bands. Also, Festisurf Costa Brava features the likes of The Phantom Surfers, MFC Chicken, The Fuzillis and Los Tiki Phantoms. Meanwhile, the Girona-Costa Brava Guitar Festival and a havaneres and sardanes series complete the programme.
Beauty and music on the coast
A coastal landscape of natural beauty and an assortment of music styles –soul, funk, jazz, havaneres, new folk, Nova Cançó, world music– come together in Torredembarra this summer. Artists include Funkystep & The Sey Sister, Susana Sheiman Sextet, Port Bo, Formiga and Cigale, Joan Reig & Refugi Viatge a Ítaca and Breu.
Art & music
Portalblau, the Mediterranean Music and Art Festival reaches its 10th anniversary with abold line-up, including Sopa de Cabra and Rachid Taha (July 28-29). The festival kicks off on July 14 at the Alfolí de la Sal venue with a Criatures concert and a round-table debate on Mediterranean music. The same venue will host wine tastings and music, with Paula Grande, Roger Mas and Neus Mar, while Liceu a la fresca features Joan Dausà, Mayte Martín i and Andrea Motis.
Mountains of melodies
The Pyrenees early music festival offers some 60 concerts in 35 different mountain towns. Choeur de Chambre de Namur, Orquestra Barroca Catalana, Alfred Fernàndez and Èlia Casanova, Lucentum XVI, The Rose Ensemble, John Potter&Ariel Abramovich and Pyrenaeus Ensemble are just a few highlights.
A taste of music
Since 2005, the Alella festival has become one of the best-known in the country. In 2014, the Saborasons section was added, bringing together music and food. In 2015, the Festival Bouquet d’Alella was born, from the winery of the same name, and this year, Alta Alella Cava Privat joins in. Playing is Funkystep & the Sey Sisters, El Raïm Inquiet, Blaumut (pictured), Marion Harper, and Ferran Savall & Meritxell Neddermann.
Rosario, Ramon Mirabet, Faemino y Cansado and Jarabe de Palo are the main attractions of the Barcelona Coast Summer Arts Festival, which inaugurates a new venue this year. The Nou Espai Arts d’Estiu is 4,500 square metres, and will host concerts by Els Amics de les Arts & Gossos, The Original Blues Brother Band as well as Jorge Blas.
Capital of freedom
Acampada Jove, reaches its 22nd edition this year, turning Montblanc into the capital of partying and the struggle for freedom. The festival features 17 concerts by the likes of Doctor Prats, La Pegatina, Brams, Ebri Knight, Hora de Jogla, Roba Estesa, Aspencat as well as Cesk Freixes.
Sounds amid ancient ruins
Empúries, in Baix Empordà, boasts a great cultural heritage and one of the most amazing natural settings in Catalonia. What’s more, it is a privileged setting that has played an important role in Catalan history. Empúries used to be the gateway of the Greek and Roman cultures in the Iberian Peninsula. An exceptional archaeological site, it boasts the remains of a Greek settlement coexisting with those of a former Roman city. Empúries is also an ideal venue for live concerts, where the natural environment, art and music, provide magical summer nights.
Concerts in the Fòrum Romà, is the name of summer festival hosted in the incomparable venue of Empúries ancient remains. Since 2014, TEMProductions have teamed up with the Catalonia-Empúries Archaeological Museum to organise a total of 14 concerts that have been enjoyed by over 10.000 people.
This year the line-up features the popular domestic band Els Amics de les Arts (pictured) and Clementina, Blaumut and Pantaleó, and Leiva.
40 years of music
The music festival in the small coastal town of Begur in in the Baix Empordà county began in 1977, making it one of the oldest and most established festivals in the country. Highlights this year’s festival include The Jazzcare All Stars, the Catalan band Glaucs (pictured), a tribute concert to Carmen Amaya (August 16 & 17) and Swing Serenader, among many others.
Mas i Mas is all grown up
French pop star Imany, Andrea Motis, Mario Biondi, Chano Domínguez and Mariola Membrives, as well as the duo of Ignasi Terraza and Bert van den Brink, are some of the nearly 100 acts lined up for the 15th edition of San Miguel’s Mas i Mas Festival in Barcelona from July 28 to September 3.
The Teatre Grec is a new venue to add to the Palau de la Música, El Born, Jamboree, Los Tarantos and Moog, in a festival whose budget has been doubled to a total of €800,000. In the presentation, festival director Joan Mas thanked Barcelona council for providing use of the new venue calling it the ideal setting for the concerts.
It is a sign of how Mas i Mas is growing, now with a total of six venues and over 269 performances by 351 artists. In the words of artistic director Pere Pons, the programme is “an avalanche of proposals that shows the festival’s eclectic philosophy and open spirit.”
It is a sharp contrast to 15 years ago when the festival began in an almost deserted city due to a large part of the population being on holiday elsewhere. That has changed and the festival is now a major draw for the city in summer.
- Catalonia Today 02-07-2017 Pàgina 21