Estrella Damm Primavera Sound 2008. Parc Del Forum, Barcelona. 29-31 May
Overall – 8/10
The eighth Primavera Sound could prove to be the Spanish festival highlight of the 2008, its diverse and daring line up inspired heavily by All Tomorrow’s Parties wiping the floor with the waning Benicassim. Huge performances by the likes of Portishead, Shellac and Devo sealed a classic year for the Barcelona festival, but could rumours of its site being under threat herald its last?
Getting there and back – 2/10
A serious pain on this occasion but that’s mainly down to Easyjet and/or Luton Airport. Flights both ways back were heavily delayed which meant pricey taxis at either end, and we didn’t get home until 5am Monday morning. Personal gripes aside, it would usually be fairly simple with cheap flights to Barcelona available from most major UK cities, and the festival just a few Metro stops from the city centre.
The Site – 7/10
Yes it was almost entirely concrete but what interesting concrete it was! Also used for the Sonar, Summercase and Daydream festivals, Parc Del Forum is an old exhibition area festooned with sweeping bridges and wonky modern edifices – tailor-built for a festival. Five distinct stages are easily accessible from each other, the best being the auditorium-style Rockdelux.
Atmosphere – 6/10
The festival wasn’t packed (approx 20,000 a day) which made it easy to see any act easily, but in places it was a little too sparse. Things don’t really get going in Spain until well after midnight but when the masses did arrive it kicked off big time, with the Spanish arguably more up for it than us Brits. The undercover CD Drone provided an appealing draw for dance fans and the booing of the sound tech when Tiefschwarz were forced to bring their set to a close showed that passions ran high.
Music – 9/10
Fuck Buttons – another performance to put the Bristol noise twisters on the map, they told us backstage how they picked their name to signify both cuteness and menace. We wouldn’t call them cute.
Portishead – inevitable pulled in the biggest crowd of the entire festival, nestled in the depths of the Rockdelux amphitheatre. New songs from album ‘Third’ mixed seamlessly with the classics and ‘Machine Gun’ was given an added twist when Chuck D made a surprise turn rapping over it.
A Place To Bury Strangers – they may be ear-bleedingly loud but beneath the distorted chaos they’ve also got the tunes. The next New Yorkers to keep your eye on.
Digital Mystiks – our personal festival find, these dubsteppers proved that it’s not only Burial pushing the genre forward.
Animal Collective – like a microcosm of Primavera itself, the experimental fusion of Animals Collective proved an eclectic end to the festival.
MGMT – if it wasn’t for their flowing psychedelic robes you’d be forgive for thinking the lauded New Yorkers couldn’t be bothered. Their set was lacklustre and shows just how well produced their album actually is.
Either the freak rain storm on the final night (yes, this doesn’t usually happen in Barcelona) or the man walking around the city streets butt naked (apparently this often does). Also, the revellers who bashed out their own party on the street at 6am, banging empty coke cans on a bench and dancing in wild abandon to a mouth organ.