Rite of Spring: Primavera Sound Festival

Variety’s own Stuart Oldham reports from the 11th Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona.

BY STUART OLDHAM

The Primavera Sound music festival celebrated its 11th anniversary this past weekend in Barcelona, Spain, with an energetic reunion show from Pulp, one of the most influential bands of the ‘90s.

“What have you been up to the past 15 years?” frontman Jarvis Cocker wryly asked the audience. 

The British pop group, who split up in 1996, kicked off their two-hour set at the Parc del Forum with “Do You Remember the First Time?” before launching into fan favorites “Disco 2000,” “This is Hardcore” and “Common People.” Pulp

Pulp’s Cocker even gave one audience member a chance to propose to his girlfriend in the first few rows before letting the possible bride-to-be “think about it” and leaping back onstage to perform “Underwear.”

Other headlining acts on the San Miguel Stage included Animal Collective, Fleet Foxes, PJ Harvey, The Flaming Lips, Belle and Sebastian and Grinderman, although it’s difficult to characterize any stage at the eclectic Primavera fest as the “main stage,” with each one nestled uniquely along the ocean or underneath a sprawling solar panel. 

Veteran synth punkers Suicide performed their entire 1997 self-titled album to the delight of fans and artists at the Ray Ban stage on Thursday night, while indie darlings The National, Girl Talk, Deerhunter and Warpaint wowed auds at the Llevant Stage (Girl Talk’s set didn’t start until 4:30AM Friday).

Pitchfork’s stage along the Balearic Sea featured several of the site’s most-written about indie acts, including L.A. rap outfit Odd Future, pop hearthrob James Blake and Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti Tour.

Co-founded by Alberto Guijarro and Gabi Ruiz, Primavera Sound was attended by more than an estimated 100,000 people this past weekend. The festival, which also is looking to expand to the U.S. sometime in the next few years, is one of the more organized fests you’ll ever go to. On Saturday night, fans decked out in FC Barcelona jerseys were able to come and go as they pleased to watch their famous soccer club defeat Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League final. A fitting celebration to a magical weekend, indeed. 

 

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