Barcelona Primavera Sound 2023 was an undeniable success on all fronts—a stellar lineup, excellent organization, and an immersive festival experience that made a week’s worth of performances breeze by. With the festival—which welcomed over 200,000 attendees in 2023—now behind us and our favorite moments recapped, I’m here to offer an in-depth look at the Barcelona edition of Primavera Sound. I’ll also share a few tips for those of you thinking of heading to Spain for next year’s edition, from May 30 to June 1, 2024.
Your First Primavera: What You Need To Know
I’m a recent Prima convert, having attended the Barcelona iteration of the festival for the first time last year. The 2022 edition held two-fold importance for Primavera Sound: it marked its 20th anniversary and also the long-awaited return to the grounds of Barcelona’s Parc del Fòrum following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The double weekend lineup—a first for Primavera—featured one of the festival’s most robust collection of artists yet: Dua Lipa, Lorde, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Megan Thee Stallion, Tyler the Creator, The National, The Strokes and many more. Personally, my interest was piqued by the attendance of several hyper pop (and adjacent) powerhouses: a P.C. Music Showcase featuring A.G. Cook, Namasenda, HYD, EASYFUN, and Hannah Diamond; 100 Gecs, brainchild of Dylan Brady and Laura Les; Ashnikko; Drain Gang (Bladee, Thaiboy Digital, Ecco2k); Rina Sawayama; Grimes; and two Charli XCX sets.
With all that said, attending your first Primavera Sound is all about planning and getting comfortable with the festival format and layout. The Barcelona lineup is typically announced in November and December, with tickets going on sale within a week of the announcement.
Once you’ve booked your passes—the earlier you book, the cheaper they will be—I recommend looking for accommodation as soon as possible. You’ll find that hotels, BnB, and hostels will sell out months before the festival weekend due to the sheer number of visitors that Primavera Sound brings to Barcelona. And, of course, make sure to book tickets with a group of friends—festivals are always more fun with a buddy.
Navigating The Venues
One of my favorite aspects of Primavera Sound in Barcelona is the venue. Parc del Fòrum, located on the beaches of the Mediterranean, is easily accessible by transit—be it streetcar, subway, bus, or taxi—and is secluded enough from the city to offer an intimate festival experience.
Primavera Sound 2023 consisted of fifteen stages, ranging from large mainstages with considerable capacities to indoor club spaces like Stone Island Sound at the Warehouse and intimate venues like the Aperol Island of Joy.
Some stages—like Boiler Room x CUPRA, a festival favorite that returned this year—are designated explicitly for DJs and techno artists. In contrast, others will host a range of performers from various genres. There’s even an indoor auditorium, the Auditori Santander, where you can take a break from the sun to enjoy live music in a space with stellar acoustics.
My recommendation for navigating the many venues of Primavera Sound is to get there early on Day 1 (or, even better, attend the free day before the start of the festival) and take a walk through the festival grounds. Take note of the stage names, and how to get there so you’re not having to stop and check your map while rushing from one exciting performer to another. Ensure you also note bathrooms, bar areas, and food areas—there are usually several of these peppered throughout the festival grounds.
A Few More Tips
Whether you’re a first-time festival goer or a seasoned veteran of the summer fest circuit, here are a few hard-learned tips that will make your Primavera Sound as smooth as possible:
- Bring your own food: While Primavera Sound doesn’t allow liquids on festival grounds, you can bring in as much food as you’ll need for the day, greatly cutting down on your spending. That being said, the festival offers many food options if you’d prefer to buy there.
- Bring a bottle of water (sans cap): Staying hydrated is essential if you spend a weekend dancing and running around under the hot sun. Bring a water bottle and dispose of the cap, as closed bottles aren’t allowed in. There are several water refill stations throughout the festival grounds.
- Keep an ear to the ground for cool music acts: Some of my favorite musical discoveries were made through word of mouth from other festival attendees. Asking someone they’re excited to see will help you find some interesting new music.
- Stay till the end, at least once: Unlike many North American festivals, Primavera Sound’s concerts run until 6 am. I highly recommend staying until the final DJ set ends, at least for one night of the three. There’s nothing like dancing until the sun rises with your closest friends!
- Buy merch first: If you’re trying to get your hands on some sweet merch from your favorite artists, I recommend heading straight to the merch tent on your first day and picking something up. Most artists (especially if they’re playing more miniature stages) offer limited quantities of merchandise, and they tend to be picked up fast.
- Attend the brunch: “Brunch” is a bit of a misnomer because you won’t find eggs at the Sunday festivities following Primavera. You will find a stellar lineup of DJs, true techno fans, and an opportunity to decompress from the weekend. Tickets for the event are usually bookable through the AccessTicket app, and attendance is free for Weekend Pass holders!
Thank you all for joining me on this journey to Primavera Sound! To read more about my thoughts on the 2023 edition of Primavera Sound and keep up with all things electronic music, scroll through our “Road to Primavera” and “Post Prima” series.
And, as always, make sure to follow @nexusradiodance on Instagram and check back here for more coverage of your favorite music events!