7 tips to survive your first Primavera Sound in Barcelona

Heading to Barcelona today for the annual, Primavera Sound festival? You’re in store for a treat – this is without question one of the best festivals in the world. Well managed, with stellar lineups to match, it’s impossible not to have a good time at this world-class festival. But if you haven’t been before, there are a few tips we can pass along to ensure you make the most out of your experience.

Look for the hidden gems on the lineup!

Did you know Jonsi from Sigur Ros is playing? Neither did we until we dug into the lineup and saw he was playing under a different project name (Liminal). Here’s a few more gems in the lineup… and download the festival app to see who else is playing. They’ve got one of the better festival apps we have to say…

Sigur Ros at Primavera 2016. Photo by Larry Heath.

Get used to sleeping during the day

This is a festival which makes ample use of the night hours, with most of the music not starting until at least 7pm, and headliners usually coming on after midnight. I remember in 2016 still watching Avalanches DJ at close to 5 o’clock in the morning. This means that most of your sleeping – if you manage to fit in any at all – will be done in daylight. Just accept it – this is your life now.

Check out Primavera Pro

This said, if you can get yourself out of bed in time on festival days – there’s additional music during the day at a free stage set up at CCCB (Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona), alongside the Primavera Pro conference. Getting into the panels – which includes the likes of Father John Misty this year – will require a Primavera Pro pass, but the stage featuring daily live music is open to the public and free. You’ll find a lot of the “discovery” acts here, with some acts from around the world (including Australia) putting on exclusive performances.

Bradford Cox at CCCB in 2016. Photo by Dani Canto for Primavera Sound.

Take advantage of the portable beer sellers

One of my favourite things about this festival is the ease and affordability at which you can enjoy a drink. Usually around 5 Euros for a beer, there’s even portable sellers going around and filling up your glass for an extra Euro. Incredible service, especially for those who might be looking to get a spot early for one of the festival’s bigger bands.

Explore the food

There’s amazing, affordable food at the festival, too, so make sure to take advantage of it! This is Barcelona after all. I can’t vouch for the layout this year, but two years ago they had a food truck area, where I found a lot of the gems. Including a squid baguette that has left a lasting impression on me… and this year they are upping the ante by introducing the Primmmavera event – a food festival of sorts within the festival… read more about it HERE.

Pay attention to the train timetables

if you miss the last train at Midnight (or 2am if it’s Friday/Saturday), and you need it to get back to your accommodation, you may as well stay until the trains start again at 5am. Luckily, the music will still be going at that time – so there’ll be plenty of great ways to pass the time. Make a plan for getting home each night in any case – it’s not terribly easy to get a taxi, though Uber recently re-entered the market, so it will be interesting to see the role that plays this year!

Watch out for pickpockets

And finally, we end on a slightly more serious note. Firstly, it must be said that Barcelona is a very safe city. But they don’t exaggerate when they say that pickpocketing is rife – especially on the late night train, when one of our friends had their purse stolen a couple of years back. Keep a close grip on all your stuff – in front of you if you can – and if you’re in a group, keep an eye on your mates. Limit the “important” stuff you have on you.

Primavera Sound takes places in Barcelona’s Parc del Forum from May 30th to June 3rd. For more details on it, and on Primmmavera – including table reservations and a full list of dining options – head HERE



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Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.