Primavera 2018


Sad to miss deerhunter even more so now I see this glowing feedback…I had feared not getting across in time for Jon Hopkins (over the bridge) so played it safe and went to dance for a bit post Grizzly Bear…Hopkins was strong but I just wasn’t quite feeling it as much as I have in times past.


Forgive the long post but while the memories are fresh…

That was a great festival…only downside was the heavy rain all day today and not having an umbrella or the will to traipse across town for today’s shows…was very keen on seeing Puput and Waxahatchee again. I could see Jay Som but I am settled in now for the rest of the day I think.

Anyway my summaries and ratings. Forgive the concept of ratings but it’s a habit I can’t push - ratings are more a reflection on how much I enjoyed it (in most part due to the set but also due to all the usual variables such as atmosphere, lack of chatter, mood, stage, sound quality, prevailing wind etc)

*Stage sound seemed broadly good (amazing in Desperados bar) - except Ray Ban so quiet for Cigarettes After Sex,

Best one off moments:

*Twilight Sad - And she would darken the memory stayed in my head all weekend…great passionate display with the poignant culmination of the Frightened Rabbit cover (above mentionned)

*Lift to Experience - Into the storm - one of my all time favourites - superbly rendered - emotive freaking out ahoy.

*Slowdive - hard to pick a moment as I was transported throught but Catch the Breeze and Souvlaki Space Station were v special

*Belly - as the sunset on the hidden stage - they played Bees which holds a very dear place in the heart. I thorough enjoyed this set.

*The Breeders - Cannonball of course…and general setlist choice was spot - nice to hear Do you Love me now

*Nick Cave - first time of seeing…what an intense and transfixing show that was…

*The National - Mr November - not quite the setlist I would choose but this was incendiary as ever

*Mike D was great fun. I had prioritised Daphni but heading over to Cigarettes after Sex had to stop by and stayed till the end.

*Ride - my 2nd favourite band on the bill but had to watch them from afar. For some reason the Hidden stage restricts access to 60% capacity.


*I was pleasantly surprised by the audience. Maybe I struck it right with my positioning and scheduling but the crowd was non-chattery and involved during the National when I was convinced it would be otherwise. The Breeders and Slowdive also had people getting into it rather than chewing someone’s ear off. The only one which failed this test was the War on Drugs when two genial English 20 somethings wanted to chat to each other and everyone around them during the set. They were wired. Just say no! Nick Cave crowd was good except for the bit when some english girls pitched up behind and one of them chatted about the jumper they bought off ebay at length. We moved.

*Loved the “over the bridge” dance section of the venue (new to me) - a stage by the beach, Desperados area had a great soundsystem etc. DJ Levon Vincent was playing some absolutely incredible stuff and I was having the kind of cathartic immersed dance that I rarely can these days when I thought I better see Nils Frahm…who was great…but still a tough call

*I did get asked if I “wanted something” about 10 times (in respect to the above discussion). I didn’t want something.

*Good food but no craft beer tent :(…nonetheless La Cervecita bar was near-ish my accommodation and so I raided their bottle shop (superb selection) for beachtime consumption and the rest to be had tonight.

*I didn’t see much “lad quotient” pleasingly. Less than I did in '15 arguably.

*The Seat indie club breakout area was a very pleasant base by the water but the robot didn’t seem to play what you requested. Jon Hillcock is a technically astonishing dj (I Dj’d drum and bass and deep house in a former life but could never mix indie and eclectic stuff the way he does) although we only liked the odd tune he played. The indiespot Dj played tunes that had the locals going nuts that I’d never heard.

*I love Barcelona and I still love this festival. Great acts every year. Great City. Weather. organisation. Discerning-ish crowd that isn’t too annoying and I didn’t feel too ashamed to be ab englishman abroad. Its changed and got bigger but they have transitioned well. I do wonder due to age and personal circumstances how many more I will get to but 09, 15 and 18 were a pleasure. My favourite festival out of the many I’ve frequented.

*Heineken is still refreshing on a hot day even for a beer nerd like me but I won’t be touching it again till I return.

Ratings (how much I enjoyed/10)
*Belle and Sebastian - 7.5
*F/E/A - 7.5
*Twilight Sad - 8.5
*War on Drugs - 8
*Rostam - 8
*Nick Cave - 9.
*DJ Levon Vincent 9
*Nils Frahm - 8.5
*Waxahatchee - 7.5
*The Breeders - 8.5
*The National - 8.5
*DJ Daphni (i thought he would be live) - 7
*DJ Mike D - 8.5
*Cigarettes After Sex - 7.5 (may have been higher if I could hear it)
*Dj Jon Hillcock 7 (10 for the aptitude)
*Lift to Experience - 8.5
*Belly - 9
*Slowdive - 9.5
*Grizzly Bear - 8 (would have been higher if I’d been in the throng I feel)
*DJs Toulouse Low Trax > Bufiman - 7.5
*Jon Hopkins - 8
*Indiespot DJ - 6


Whoever recommended rebelot as somewhere to eat - cheers! World’s best waitress as well - she must have been doing about 8 things at once and was totally on it the whole time. Hero.


Yeah, this was my fifth Primavera and definitely the weakest for this reason. Never really felt like I could get into any bands fully, apart from Deerhunter on the last night.


Lovely to meet you on Saturday - always good to meet DH forum folk. I didn’t stay long at the CCCB yesterday and skipped the Apolo.

Safe travels everyone. I’m seeing Deerhunter again tonight.


Earlybirds go on sale on Wednesday


Took off to Nice once the rain kicked in. Thoughts on the weekend -

  • Really great. My second time there, and just as good as last time. Really well organised and the crowd, by and large were ok (massive influx of LADZ on Arctic Monkey day though)
    *Only clash I was truly gutted about was The National/Mogwai. Fuck. Right. Off. The National were amazing though so…
    *Act of the weekend for me was Oneohtrix Point Never…still thinking about it. Stunning.
    *Who’s gonna play next year we reckon?


Shellac will play next year. And DJ Coco.


Stereophonics, Peter Hook, Ocean Colour Scene (with special guest Paul Weller)


Menswear, Dodgy and Sleeper to play a showcase in the Apolo.


Space doing an exclusive run through of Spiders in the Auditori


Jesus Jones and Inspiral Carpets in the CCCB on the Sunday.


There was a Dodgy booking this year but a no show after missing the plane.


Yas, glad you enjoyed it. The staff were amazing when we were there as well, seemed to be really enjoying what they were doing. Kept bringing us shots of limoncello and singing and dancing about but still kept on top of everything, good vibes.


Mogwai doing fear satan while being loud as hell was a definite highlight of the fest

Slowdive playing Alison was great but it sounded like an indie rock song… Way too fast lol


First timer here and I absolutely loved it. Amazing how much good weather, good rest and access to decent toilets improves a festival atmosphere.

Music highlights: Nick Cave, Confidence Man, Sparks, Lift to Experience, Mogwai (is there a more reliable live band?), Lorde, Hunee and Antal playing Popcorn at about 5 in the morning and some more I can’t remember. Lowlights were War on Drugs (dull), Thundercat (fire in a pet shop jazz horror), John Maus (is he always like that? Weird sweaty shouting mess) and Four Tet (not bad, just dull). Few of my friends had their phones stolen too. Didn’t ever feel particularly busy or laddy to me but I have nothing to compare it to.


A few of your friends had their phones stolen? Jesus.


Three of my extended group of about 15. Had mine in one of those yellow idealista pouch things they were handing out by the big stages.


Strange. Have gone with bigger extended groups over many years and never known anyone to have their phone stolen. Which isn’t to say that it doesn’t happen, or that your lot are doing anything wrong, but perhaps they all got swiped by the same crook? From my experience, it isn’t something that’s rife… at least not more so than any big festival


Let’s do the bottom line first: Primavera is still the best big festival by a country mile.

Wow. I often tell myself before Primavera’s that it might be my last one in Barcelona. Yet here I am, just back from the festival, and I’ll be snapping up an early bird tomorrow.

No, it’s no longer a giant ATP in Barcelona by the sea. We know that. Alternative music tastes have changed, and Primavera just about nails catering for everyone. I love that I could have easily gone to see an entirely different line up and still had the time of my life.

RE: Crowds; Honestly, I actually think they’ve been worse back when the site was smaller. To me the walkways didn’t seem anywhere near as bad as the Blur year, or the Radiohead year. Yes, Arctic Monkeys was busy, but it was the smallest crowd I’ve seen them play to at a festival since they formed and you could walk straight into an OK position. For the biggest acts I was keen to see (Bjork and Lorde) I walked straight into the pit about 5 minutes before they started. Had one bad experience getting over the bridge, but it wasn’t like a few years ago when this was due to terrible crowd control, it was due to them blocking the enterance to Primavera Bits to let people out. Fair enough. All around excellent crowd control IMHO.

And the music was fantastic!

The great

  • Spiritualized - One of the minor snags of the festival was how they dealt with the tickets for this. It should have been a draw done before the festival like LCD or Sufjan. That said, thanks to @Kallgeese I made it in and it really was something special. The best “opening” act I’ve seen at the festival in years.

  • Ty Segall

  • John Hopkins

  • Sparks - Never “got” this band before, but boy did it click here. What a delight that these guys have been doing their wonderfully weird thing for 50 years now. So much fun.

  • Lee Fields - Wonderful uplifting boogie in the sun at the now ironically name (but much improved) Hidden Stage

  • Lorde - Wow. One of my all time favourite headliners at the festival, and I rarely ever listen to her records. Just a magnetic performer

  • Bjork - This will surely have been marmite but I loved the spectacle of it.

The very good

Oumou Sangare, Car Seat Headrest, Floating Points, Daphni, Chromeo, Fever Ray, Gerd Janson, Lindstrom, The Black Madonna.

Oh… and Mike D exceeded all expectations and really brought the party with his DJ set/Beasties best of.

The good

The Breeders, Belle and Sebastian, Arctic Monkeys, Thundercat, Four Tet showcase, Mount Kimbie, Nils Frahm, Father John Misty, Ame II Ame, Rolling Coastal Blackouts Fever, Oneohtrix Point Never (what I caught at least), John Talabot, Donato Dozzy

The bad

Literally only filing DJ Koze under this. Not really sure what he was playing with only turning up the volume, bass or treble like 3 times in the whole set. Tunes were fine and dancing along to a (mercifully turned up) Pick Up was fun.

Bottom line: Already covered. See ya next year!