Primavera Sound in Barcelona


Fleet Foxes at Primavera Sound 2011

Fleet Foxes at Primavera Sound 2011

By Regina Winkle-Bryan

I was lucky enough to get a press pass to Primavera Sound on Saturday night at Barcelona’s Forum. Hundreds of bands play at this massive festival. About 40% of the 12,000 people there Saturday were foreigners who came to town for sun and music…in fact many of the musicians were not from Spain.

I saw PJ Harvey, who wore a white angel dress and a crown of feathers making her look something like a rock shaman. When I say I saw PJ Harvey, it is to say that I saw her way off in the distance and on a huge screen. The enormous crowd kept me from getting close enough to see facial features.

And honestly for me this is off putting and the reason I haven’t been to a festival in some time. I don’t like the hordes and not being able to get close to the musicians, and well, the music. Primavera Sound reaffirmed my belief that small, intimate concerts are where it’s at.

However, around 9pm when hundreds of concert goers took off to see the Barcelona football game, the space around the ATP stage (one of the many venues at the festival) cleared up and I was able to see Money Mark with no problem. I felt a bit sorry for Money Mark though, I have to admit. There they were, putting on a great show, and where are the fans? Watching soccer….so  it goes.

I also caught the Fleet Foxes from afar, and while I seriously dig this group it was the same PJ Harvey experience; hard to see the group and easier to hear the drunks babbling around me than the music. Hey, if you’re going to chat, how about leaving the stage area to do it??? Some people want to hear the music.

Around 1am I went over to check out The Jon Spenser Blues Explosion, which was comical and not particularly enjoyable to listen to. What the heck are those guys smoking? From there I went on get a listen of Odd Future, which brought in a huge crowd around the Pitchfork stage, the Mediterranean in the background.

I didn’t stay for Animal Collective, which seems like the kind of band that requires listeners to take large sums of illegal substances in order to enjoy.

All in all, it’s one mammoth music festival bringing in some talented people, though I am not sure I agree with the price tag, over $200, in these times of financial crisis in Spain.

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