Primavera Sounds good: indie love in Spain

Who to see, what you'll need, a Spotify playlist and more!

Photographer:Trevor Eales

Daniel Lomas - 20 May 2011

Spain? Yeah bring it on!
That’s right, 'holiday festivals' are as popular as ever, with impressive line-ups popping up in sunny locations all over Europe. Spain's foremost sweltering rock bash may be in Benicassim, but up the Mediterranean coast in Barcelona, Primavera Sound offers arguably the finest indie-rock bill anywhere this summer – just don’t expect to see Lionel Messi’s Oasis tribute band on the bill.

Oh. No chanting of “lager, lager, lager”? What is it then?
Primavera Sound is a festival for the more refined indie music fan. (‘Snobs’ would be unfair.) But while lobster-faced lads-on-tour are punching the air to Mumford & Sons' anthems in Benicassim, Primavera Sound offers the more ‘sensitive’, vinyl-devout indie kid the chance to catch some much needed sun in the safe company of Belle and Sebastian. With ATP and Pitchfork both hosting stages, Primavera Sound 2011 is undoubtedly the essential festival for alternative rock fans.

Who is playing then? Impress me.
Highlights from the extensive six-stage line-up include a rare festival appearance from angel-voiced US songwriter Sufjan Stevens, UK songstress PJ Harvey, Fleet Foxes, The National, Explosions in the Sky, Yuck, Of Montreal, Flaming Lips and Animal Collective. Pulp return for their first performance since reforming and are sure to get fans partying arm-in-arm like it’s the year 2000.

That’s not indie enough, give me more!
Well, there are some special sets, with the legendary John Cale performing his 1971 album 'Paris 1919', Echo and the Bunnymen playing their first two albums, 'Crocodiles' and 'Heaven Up Here' in full, and Mercury Rev delivering their acclaimed 1998 record, 'Deserter's Songs'. It’s not all shoegazey/psychedelic/experimental rock though; for a bit of variety, the bill includes folk acts; M. Ward, The Tallest Man On Earth, some hip-hop; OFWGKTA, and electro from Jamie xx, Gold Panda and much, much more.

Who are the must sees?

The Black Angels – You On The Run

PJ Harvey – The Last Living Rose

Animal Collective – My Girls

Flaming Lips – Do You Realise?

Pulp – Sorted For E's and Whizz

That’s great, but I want more.
Check out the Primavera Sound Spotify playlist here.

OK fair enough, that's pretty bloody good. But why go to Barcelona for it?
Well, for a start, there’s loads of culture ’n’ that, innit? There’s Las Ramblas, where you’ll find café’s, bars, performance artists and street musicians; the Gothic Quarter with its medieval architecture and Sagrada Família - Guadi’s spectacular unfinished church, which is a must-see. There’s also the urban beach, La Barceloneta, where you can work on your pre-festival base tan and the monumental Nou Camp football stadium, where you can take a tour and see the FC Barcelona trophy cabinet, which has more cups than a Tuborg beer tent. All that, plus festival itself is smack bang on the beautiful Mediterranean coast. You won't need your wellies.

Bit pricey though, surely?
Primavera Sound can double up as your summer holiday, saving you pounds, pennies and pesetas (or Euros, whatever.) Simply arrive in the city a few days before the festival, soak in the sun, build your sandcastles... do all that holiday stuff as usual, but rather than getting bored towards the end, you can see it out with the three-day blow out of a lifetime. This nifty plan can make flights cheaper too, avoiding weekend travel.

We do recommend allotting your tourism time before the event, simply because traipsing around a foreign city on a festival comedown would be awful.

I'm sold! But wait, it's so soon! What should I pack?! I'm freaking out!
Calm down and find your passport. Got it? Okay, you need a few t shirts, shorts, pants, flip flops, sunglasses, a bucket and spade, sun cream (factor 44 at least), Euros, accommodation and, ideally, some friends to go with. Stay hydrated, pace yourself and enjoy three days of amazing live music in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

What about tickets? I need them...
You can get them for €170 for the weekend.

Click here to buy Primavera Sound tickets.


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