If you're coming to Barcelona in June and like alternative music, then you're in for a treat. There are 2 festivals on this month (there are actually more than 2, but 2 main ones) which are set to take the city's revellers by storm, and annoy the neighbours all at the same time. Burtsing eardrums and "incivismo" are always high on a Barcelonan's complaints list.
Primavera Sound ("Spring Sound" sounds a bit lame doesn't it?) has just gone off with a bang (29th - 31st May), and although there were not as many entrances sold this year, it caused more press for the complaints of the neighbours in the diagonal Mar zone, where the ill-fated Forum Park is located, and the venue of the festival. The Forum was a conference centre built to extreme expectations in 2004, and was...well, let's be frank...a complete flop. Like Barcelona's Millenium Dome, if you see what I mean (interesting side note - I'm sure I remember Bon Jovi were the first to play there as the now O2 arena, and Bon Jovi played at Parc del Forum also last week!), but the advantage is the huge space left over - ideal for concert goers - even if it is bloody miles away from everything else. Coldplay also announced a free concert there in September to promote the launch of their new album.
The organiser of Primavera Sound (depsite having an agreement with Forum Park until 2011) has said they may start looking for a new, out-of-town venue, so as to not annoy all the neighbours. I find it difficult to beleive, as there is very little in and around the Forum, but then again, if it's all night and you can hear it, I suppose it would start to get annoying.
One such festival that doesn't have the sound problem (or at least at night) is the unstoppable Sonar Music Festival. This electronic music festival goes from strength to strength and has seen so many varied artists stroll their various stages (Beastie Boys last year, Bjorck, Scissor sisters did an impromtu surprise gig, Jeff Mills, Carl Cox, etc.). Apparently this year the festival is divided into "dedicated to women" with acts such as Goldfrapp and Roisin Murphy, and "Hybridism" celebrating those difficult to categorise musicians and groups. Justice,Yelle, Diplo, Spank Rock and Boys Noize are all set to please and convert.
The sonar festival is divided into the Sonar by Day events (mainly dotted around the Raval) and the Sonar by night concerts, in Gran Via 2 - industrial estate outside the city centre. Many festival goers complain about the trek (there's a free Sonar bus, but you have to fight to get on) but they still flock in their thousands. The day events still always receive the usual complaints from the neighbours about noise levels, public disorder, etc. but at least the night events are out of the way, where not many people can see them!
Finally we have "Daydream Festival" - also to take place in Forum Park. The headliners here (and the majority of people will be paying for their ticket just to see them) are the amazing Radiohead. The Oxford band are promoting their new album "In Rainbows" and will surely pull the crowds in. Let's see if they'll be forced to turn the volume down a little though?!