Reviewed: Primavera Sound 2019
What a dream it was. On the last weekend of May, the sun-soaked shores of Barcelona, Primavera Sound kicked off with three days of music, 220,000 revellers and 17 stages stretched across the Parc Del Forum. What made it so unique was the diversity of the festival, proudly showcasing a 50/50 gender split organically created ahead of any others which have pledged to achieve this by 2020. The result? A truly spectacular showcase of international talent, boasting a dazzling spectrum of genres and styles.
There was so much to see in such a condensed space of time that planning was an absolute necessity, and the adrenaline rush to get to stages was palpable. Nevertheless, when moments came to take a break and relax, there was a sense of blissful calmness provided by a setting sun over the shoreline, a comfortable place to sit and watch music in the amphitheatre, or a cracking food court to grab between-show fuel.
Taking place in the evenings (how very Spanish) until the early hours of the morning, Primavera spoiled its guests for choice with over 295 artists giving 331 performances. Flocking together from 40 different countries, stars such as American legend Erykah Badu took over the same stage that housed Spanish pop starlet Rosalía only a day later, meanwhile the likes of Nina Kravitz played until the sun rose in an amphitheatre, and Objekt performed in what can only be described as a carpark repurposed into an exclusive underground club space.
There were plenty of memorable performances, one truly special experience was SOPHIE’s Thursday night show. Taking place on Lotus stage, nestled away on the beach, the performance attracted an eclectic crowd, bubbling with excitement. Bathing them in purple light, she took to the stage with a cool, commanding presence, building up ambience through gradually progressive beats until a remix of ‘Is It Cold In The Water?’ broke through. Joined at one point by a couple of club kid friends to hype up the atmosphere, she nonchalantly started smoking cigarettes before lunging into ‘NYC2MIA’ to rapturous applause. Stepping out from behind the comfort of the decks, she began to dance across the stage flicking a bottle of water over her gagging audience below.
The second day produced a couple of special performances, such as Overmono is the Ray-Ban studios, a hidden reused car park space with a queue to enter like an exclusive club night. Red lasers made up the entryway leading down to an intimate party atmosphere with the duo in the centre of it all.
The second Ray-Ban stage housed an eclectic mix of artists such as multi-talented performer FKA Twigs, cult legend Jarvis Cocker and a truly astounding set from Mura Masa. Attracting a bewildering number of partygoers, the Guernsey-born producer played a back-catalogue of greatest hits ranging from cult favourite ‘Lotus Eater’ to the latest single ‘Move Me’ with the assistance of Fliss, a remarkable singer and MC. Creating what could only be described as a house party atmosphere, the audience was riled up throughout and knew pretty much every word to his songs, perhaps a sign that there’s a need for some new music?
An honourable mention must be made for Peggy Gou who took over shortly after and played until the sun rose over the Catalan capital, resulting in a truly electrifying experience. Others that must get recognition are the always-impressive Joy Orbison who played a late set by the marina in the Desperados cube, as well as the Brainfeeder-signed Iglooghost who was joined by a dancing hand during his performance (a pretty unique hype-man). There was also pop star turned club queen Róisín Murphy performing the Maurice Fulton-produced ‘The Rumble’ alongside classics such as 2007’s ‘Overpowered’ and Moloko throwback, ‘Forever More’, at one point draping herself over a monitor and kicking her legs in the air as she sang.
With its sense of community spirit, epic line-up, impressive stage displays and all-around magnitude, there’s no wonder why Primavera has been tipped as one of the world’s best festivals. Providing a sanctuary for music-lovers, the festival is a hub for international sounds, crossing the boundaries if language and genre, and inviting everyone to just delve in and enjoy themselves. Boasting the tagline of ‘The New Normal’ along with an organic split of male and female artists, Primavera was a refreshing experience that proves festivals of this scale can provide a 50/50 gender split with phenomenal results, it’s time that more follow suit.