Sold-Out Primavera Sound's Free Programming Makes the Most Out of Barcelona

Article by: Amanda Foschini|@foschini

Wed June 01, 2016 | 00:00 AM

If you have any interest in the music festival world at all, you're probably well aware that Primavera Sound , the Spanish mega festival, kicks off this week in Barcelona.

For the first time ever, full festival tickets and day tickets sold out in March, perhaps due to Radiohead's comeback, which meant a slew of ill-prepared Primavera festies were left ticketless. So, also for the first time ever, Primavera Sound will present Primavera al Raval , a free, complementary program of events featuring concerts and activities from Friday to Sunday in the Raval – a once seedy neighborhood in the historic district that has been transformed into a nightlife hub. If you imagine a less glamorous Lower East Side, you're halfway there. No matter – this is a stroke of genius by a festival that clearly cares about its loyal attendees, and we love it.

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The CCCB, one of the most popular art institutions in town, will be at the centre of it all with a variety of concerts, talks and activities. From Friday June 3rd at 12 pm, three stages will welcome international artists like Black Lips and Bradford Cox from Deerhunter, as well as some local talent and upcoming artists such as the Valencian talents from Bearoid and the Catalan wonders, The Handclappers.

Those seeking a professional approach to the music industry can pay a visit to PrimaveraPro’s OnScreen, where the relationship between music and audiovisuals will be explored, together with discussions held by key players from both international and local scenes. Screenings of documentaries about Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem and several more will also be held.

What Else Does Raval Have To Offer?

Since you won’t need to go all the way to Parc del Forum (on the outskirts of Barcelona), take the opportunity that Primavera al Raval presents to explore one of the city’s most cosmopolitan areas. In between concerts, try visiting MACBA, the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, which is located right next to the venue. You won’t have to leave the music behind if you don’t want to; one of the current exhibitions is Punk: Its Traces in Contemporary Art. The MACBA's surroundings are also a meeting point for skaters from all over the world so you'll witness some cool kids in action apart from the cool exhibitions inside the museum. Two great options: if you don’t feel like visiting the museum, just grab a beer, sit by the nearby Keith Haring mural and watch as the skaters perform crazy tricks over the entrance steps.

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Photo by: michimaya

To recharge yourself, head over to Carrer Joaquin Costa, right across from MACBA. One of the most iconic streets of Raval, Joaquin Costa is home to plenty of historic bars and tasty restaurants, epitomizing what the area is all about. To kill your hangover, try a meaty treat at Betty Ford’s , a burger bar with excellent cocktails and great music. For a quick snack, The Dog is Hot serves international twists on the classic hot dog model. Want to chill for a while and have some drinks? 33/45 is probably the bar that has the most sofas in town. Your only task is to pick up your drink at the counter, then hang out with friends new and old.

If you want to know a little bit more about the history of Barcelona but don't want to lose momentum, visit Casa Almirall , a modernist bar that has been open since 1860. Try the Perucci, a drink they've been serving since their doors first opened. Feeling adventurous? Take a 10-minute walk to Marsella , a bar known for its absinthe and its famous clients. The likes of Picasso, Dalí and Hemingway are all part of the bar's hallowed hall of fame. The “No singing or standing on the table” sign gives a hint of what to expect there.

If you want to check out Primavera al Raval’s full program, click here.