What’s on in Barcelona

Barcelona Carnival photo

Barcelona Carnival

11—17 February 2022

Lent is traditionally a time of fasting and denial, and Carnival is the period before Lent dedicated to the celebration of pleasures, extravagance and indulgence, with an abundance…

Barcelona Carnival

11—17 February 2022

Lent is traditionally a time of fasting and denial, and Carnival is the period before Lent dedicated to the celebration of pleasures, extravagance and indulgence, with an abundance of feasting and dancing. Street parades, float processions, and parties fill many streets and plazas in the city and revellers come dressed in rich costumes. Disguising oneself with a mask or a costume is popular and traditional, and the anonymity can be liberating. Barcelona's Carival begins on 'Greasy Thursday' (Jueres Ladero), the name is a reference to dirty fingers as the main occupation on this day is feasting, with huge banquets enjoyed all over the city. The big parade, Gran Rue, is the highlight of the carnival, with ornate floats and performing troupes parading through the city streets. A mock funeral procession on Ash Wednesday marks the end of the festivities, when it is traditional to eat fish and exchange the colourful garb of the festival for sombre black. Although the Carnival is in many ways a playful celebration of sin, much of it is innocent fun and children will love all the costumes and parades, so parents needn't feel that the festivities are inappropriate for kids.

St Johns Eve (Sant Joan) photo

St Johns Eve (Sant Joan)

23 June annually

Midsummer in Barcelona is celebrated with a big bang as fireworks colour the sky in a festive prelude to the national holiday of the Feast of John the Baptist. Ancient traditions o…

St Johns Eve (Sant Joan)

23 June annually

Midsummer in Barcelona is celebrated with a big bang as fireworks colour the sky in a festive prelude to the national holiday of the Feast of John the Baptist. Ancient traditions observed the summer solstice as the most important event of the solar year and fire was celebrated as the symbol of abundance, purity and fertility. So too today, the solstice festivities have fire as their central focus. Each neighbourhood stages fireworks and all-night bonfires are fuelled by collections of old furniture, but the biggest celebration is at Montjuic, which hosts a fabulous fireworks display and a colossal bonfire, and this is one of the best places for tourists to gather. There are dances and celebrations in the squares, street parties, music and entertainment throughout the city, and in all the homes traditional cake or 'coca' is eaten and sparkling wine is drunk. It is one of the most important festivals for Catalans and the fact that the next day, the Feast of John the Baptist, is a public holiday makes the celebrations all the more unrestrained. The celebration is commonly called 'Night of Fire' (Nit del Foc) by locals, and is celebrated by people of all ages and classes.

Festival of La Merce photo

Festival of La Merce

23 — 26 Sep 2022

Various squares and open places around the city

The Festival of La Merce is dedicated to the patron saint of Barcelona, the Virgin of Mercy, and involves a fabulous assortment of popular Catalan traditions and mythology. The fes…

Festival of La Merce

23 — 26 Sep 2022

Various squares and open places around the city

The Festival of La Merce is dedicated to the patron saint of Barcelona, the Virgin of Mercy, and involves a fabulous assortment of popular Catalan traditions and mythology. The festival takes place every year on 24 September, but it has become a multi-day event, with festivities in the three or four days before the main celebration. The city celebrates by hosting one of the biggest parties of the year with street music and dancing, fairs, theatre, concerts and parades. Firework spectacles light up figures of dragons and devils, and gigantic folklore icons of Catalonia ('gegants') are paraded through the city centre, while traditional teams of 'Castellers' build human pyramids in St Jaume Plaza. One of the highlights is the Correfoc fire runs, which usually take place at dusk around Via Laietana, when 'devils' run the streets with hand-held fireworks, spraying the crowds with sparks. St Jaume Plaza is a good place to be, because apart from the human pyramids there are famous projection shows during the evenings, using the walls of buildings surrounding the square as a screen.

Website www.bcn.es/merce

Spanish F1 Grand Prix photo

Spanish F1 Grand Prix

16 May 2022

Catalunya

The Barcelona grand prix is the fifth race of the Formula One season, and the crowds gather eagerly to watch the thrills, spills and speed that accompany a spectacle of this nature…

Spanish F1 Grand Prix

16 May 2022

Catalunya

The Barcelona grand prix is the fifth race of the Formula One season, and the crowds gather eagerly to watch the thrills, spills and speed that accompany a spectacle of this nature. Formula One is the king of motor sports and attracts the best drivers from around the world, as well as the most fanatical spectators. The race is held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. There was talk of the race alternating between Barcelona and Valencia as of 2013, but the deal seems to have fallen through and Barcelona remains the sole host of the event. This race is actually one of the oldest car races in the world that is still contested, although obviously the race has evolved and the track has changed - the Catalunya track was first used in 1991. The circuit is not considered dramatic by F1 standards, possibly because the track is well-known to drivers and mechanics and this familiarity reduces race-day drama; however, the changeable wind direction is known to be a challenge, and the circuit has witnessed some memorable moments in grand prix history. The first turn is the most popular spot for overtaking.

Website www.formula1.com

Primavera Sound Festival photo

Primavera Sound Festival

2 - 12 June 2022

Parc del Forum

Primavera is one of Spain's biggest music festivals and sees some of the world's principal pop and rock stars grace the summer stages for a fiesta of fun and music in the glorious …

Primavera Sound Festival

2 - 12 June 2022

Parc del Forum

Primavera is one of Spain's biggest music festivals and sees some of the world's principal pop and rock stars grace the summer stages for a fiesta of fun and music in the glorious sunshine. The festival now attracts more than 100,000 people. The festival usually has about eight stages and the line-up includes multiple genres, with pop, rock, dance, electronic, indie, hip hop, jazz and folk represented. Past performers include international stars like Neil Young, Pixies, Arcade Fire, The White Stripes, Franz Ferdinand, Death Cab for Cutie, The Cure, Bon Iver, Pet Shop Boys, Iggy & the Stooges and many more. The event is usually held within Parc del Forum leisure park in the Sant Marti district; unlike many European music festivals there are no camping facilities on-site and accommodation must be organised. Primavera also organises smaller festivals and concerts in Spain. The full festival ticket allows entrance to all festival events including pre-event concerts and a festival closing party, but day tickets are also available once the full line-up has been decided.

Website www.primaverasound.com

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