Primavera Sound and Sonar have become premier events for electronic and advanced music, attracting top artists worldwide. Several festivals in Barcelona are rememberable.
El Raval neighborhood celebrates its multi-cultural roots during a festival held each July, featuring food stalls from different ethnic communities and traditional Catalan entertainment such as giant paper mache giants and Catalan music performances. Meanwhile, Sants celebrates in September by decorating streets and performing performances.
Festa Major de Gracia
Festa Major de Gracia brings life and color to Barcelona’s Gracia district (or “barrio”) each year with this week-long festival, celebrated annually as residents create handmade decorations which transform its streets into one grand art exhibition. Consider paying it a visit if you find yourself there!
Festivities take place throughout the barrio, with each street choosing its own theme for decorations. Neighborhood associations work all year to design and construct them out of recycled materials – the vibrant decorations are stunning up close; witness what one person’s creativity can achieve! Streets compete against one another, and prizes are given out for the best-decorated streets.
Apart from amazing street art, there are also other events taking place during the festival. On day one alone there was an extravagant “cercavila” parade featuring groups from Gracia and all across Catalonia; including several traditional Catalan characters like giant dolls known as “gegants”.
At Correfoc, don’t miss an event not to be missed: masked devils run through the streets with fireworks and sparks shooting out from their heads – stunning visuals indeed! Plus they dance along to live bands, giving off quite the spectacle.
Even if parades aren’t your thing, the festival offers many other attractions for visitors of all kinds. Live concerts take place in the main plazas of each barrio as well as bars and restaurants offering refreshments or bites to eat. Although free admission to this festival exists, certain activities may require membership with an association and/or its residents for participation.
To reach Gracia easily by metro is to head directly to Fontana station – located right in the heart of this vibrant neighborhood – from where it’s just a short stroll into its charming streets and vibrant festivals! For added comfort while exploring, stay at nearby Occidental Diagonal as guests have reviewed it as “Fabulous” with spacious rooms, a modern gym, and an assortment of breakfast offerings!
Santa Eulalia Carnival
Santa Eulalia Carnival takes place annually in February to honor Saint Eulalia, co-patron of the city alongside La Mare de Deu de la Merce. As part of this festival, giant parades, music concerts, and local traditions such as Sardanas dance are hosted by Sardanista associations that organize during Santa Eulalia festivities.
The centerpiece of the festival is “Las Laies”, a procession with giants, eagles and dragons as well as Laia the enormous puppet representing Saint Eulalia – an enduring tradition in all Catalan festivals. Additionally, music schools, choirs, orchestras for children as well as photography contests will all take place during this annual event as will an awards for small business keepers will also take place this year at this festival.
If you’re searching for something different, visit one of the festival’s foodie events or attend one of its concerts at Palau de les Arts or Montjuic Castle. Or take advantage of the warm weather by exploring both by foot or cable car before relaxing on Barceloneta Beach!
Carnival, while commonly associated with Lent, dates back much further and has been part of Barcelona’s tradition since medieval times. We refer to it in Catalan as Carnestoltes instead of Mardi Gras as carne means flesh – allowing people to let loose and enjoy themselves before starting fasting and abstinence during Lent.
At nightfall in Barcelona’s city centre you’ll witness an illumination festival created by world-renowned artists and designers whose lighting installations illuminate this timeless festival of timeless tradition while offering new forms of expression through light art installations designed by leading international artists and designers. Llum BCN takes place alongside Santa Eulalia celebrations to give an unparalleled experience of this festival of lights.
Dia de Sant Jordi
On 23 April, Catalonian streets come alive with rose stalls and book sales celebrating Sant Jordi – or Saint George’s Day, the local version of Valentine’s Day – an occasion marked by unique traditions created from various customs.
Beginning as an occasion for men to give roses to their sweethearts and women to present books as presents for lovers, Valentine’s Day was originally celebrated by men giving roses from a fair called the Lovers’ Fair on central streets like Rambla and Passeig de Gracia and books from bookstores which set up stalls to promote new releases. At the turn of the 20th century efforts were made to revive this tradition; its purpose being to strengthen feelings of patriotism while stimulating sentimentality while simultaneously stimulating publishing industry profits.
Today, exchanging gifts between friends, family, and romantic partners remains the primary activity. Though traditionally the focus was roses and books exchanged among each other, more recently there has been more focus placed on literature and reading appreciation and celebrating it on this occasion. Furthermore, Catalan books sold during this celebration often contain texts written in Catalan.
Many restaurants and cafes also host literary-focused activities, such as poetry recitals, lectures, workshops or dance performances – popular options in public squares across the city include musical acts as well as street performers!
This festival coincides with UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day – an appropriate tribute given the central role literature plays in Barcelona as a City of Literature UNESCO designation.
Now is an ideal time to visit museums and cultural sites such as the Hospital of Sant Pau by Domenech i Muntaner and Palau Guell (an early work by architect Gaudi). Additionally, one day per year Palau de la Generalitat opens its doors for public tours – another highlight.
Barcelona Independent Film Festival
Since 1998, this film festival has grown into one of Spain’s premier events. Its organizers take great pride in supporting independent cinema and providing young filmmakers with an opportunity to exhibit their work. Featuring shorts, feature films, and animation as well as workshops dedicated to filmmaking; attendees of this festival won’t want to miss it!
This film festival seeks to foster independent cinematic productions from throughout Europe, particularly Catalonia. Through an array of events throughout the year, this festival provides young directors with exposure and helps filmmakers secure funding and distribution for their projects.
Young filmmakers will find this festival an invaluable platform to connect with investors and distributors, showcase their work, win prizes for best films submitted, attend workshops, and network with like-minded filmmakers.
Festivals can be an excellent way to raise the visibility of your work, potentially leading to employment within the industry. Their organizers look for films with the potential to reach wider audiences or with strong social messages and offer various prizes including cash and film equipment as incentives for participation.
Film representatives must submit a complete list of titles and artists for inclusion in the festival program, along with high-resolution photos of both their film and director(s). Any selected for screening cannot be shown anywhere prior to appearing at the festival.
This festival welcomes feature films, documentaries, commercials, music videos, animations, student films, and TV-Series for submission by January 30th, 2023 through the website. Applicants should include a brief synopsis as well as an official trailer and teaser of their film for consideration. All selected films will be announced during a special ceremony on March 2nd, 2023 with winners receiving both trophies and cash prizes totaling EUR30,000 in addition to participation in Screening Lab – an invaluable opportunity to learn from industry professionals!