Barcelona’s two major music festivals last month presented their strong line-ups for this year’s editions, the 20th in the case of Primavera Sound (which will be held from June 3 to 7 at Parc del Fòrum) and the 27th for Sónar (which, after last year being forced to move its dates to mid-July due to a textile machinery fair, returns to its usual dates this year – June 18, 19 and 20 – at Fira Montjuïc and Fira Gran Via).
211 artists, 35 countries
Primavera Sound has met the challenge it set itself for its 20th anniversary: to produce a programme consistent with the different stages the festival has passed through, from the indie affiliation of its beginnings to its endeavour to open up to reggaeton in the 2019 edition, while also making space for, among other music types, extreme metal, African music, German experimentation and Catalan singer-songwriter pop. With the exceptions of Beck (giving his first concert in Barcelona in 22 years!) and country singer Kacey Musgraves (one of those artists it seemed would never perform in Catalonia), this year’s Primavera Sound is headlined by either familiar old faces or names that have been circulating over the Internet (such as, among others, The National, The Strokes, Lana del Rey, Iggy Pop, and Tyler, The Creator). Boasting 211 artists of 35 nationalities, Primavera Sound 2020 has one of the most attractive line-ups in its history, with jewels from a wide range of styles and a capacity for surprise that recalls its best editions. The list is endless, as always, although the following are deserving of special mention: Britanny Howard (leader of Alabama Shakes and author of one of last year’s best albums), the iconic Mavis Staples (few women can say that Bob Dylan has asked them to marry him!), the reunited Bikini Hill (the main exponent of the riot grrrls feminist movement in the 1990s) and the charming couple comprising ex-The Beautiful South frontman Paul Heaton (and in his case also The Housemartins) and Jacqui Abbott.
Bonet, Bad Gyal and Manel
Among the Catalan musicians who will perform at Primavera Sound are Maria del Mar Bonet (praised in the festival’s promotional texts as “the beacon that has illuminated southern European song for half a century”) and the more predictable appearances of Manel, Bad Gyal, Núria Graham, Ferran Palau and Chaqueta de Chándal, as well as Jordi Valls’ historic and irreverent Vagina Dentata Organ.
A “multifaceted” Sónar
Meanwhile, Sónar has been promoting this year’s edition of the festival as being “multifaceted, festive and global”. The most recognisable name is surely that of British duo The Chemical Brothers, who will be putting on a new immersive audiovisual show at the festival to present their new album, No Geography, created with their close collaborator Adam Smith. After her impressive show last June, the festival will also attempt to establish the Venezuelan Arca as “the most radically innovative artist in electronic music”, while relying heavily on talents such as the French duet, The Blaze, and emerging rappers Dave and Aj Tracey. In addition, the advanced music festival will also add Despacio (a clubbing project by James Murphy and 2manydjs that has triumphed at Sonar by Day) to its night-time activity and present one of the most anticipated record releases of the year in Catalonia: the second full-length album by Badalona native Maria Arnal and Flix-born Marcel Bagés, which is based, according to Sónar, on “electronic beats, synthesisers and collaborations with important figures in the electronic panorama”. This year’s Sónar, which has not yet announced its technological content, welcomes back Valencian Niño de Elche (who will reveal a new project to revise the sound legacy of experimental filmmaker and “Mystic genius” José Val del Omar), highlights a collaboration between Carles Viarnès and visual artist Alba G. Corral, and, through the Sónar XS stage, presents young talents emerging from the margins, such as Morad, a young musician of Moroccan origin from the Florida district of Hospitalet de Llobregat.
3-7 de juny
18-20 de juny