Uniting two major cities, this year’s Primavera Sound will be hosted in its birthplace of Barcelona, as well as Madrid, the lineup and concept demonstrating the festival’s unparalleled status as a how-to in festival booking. The extensive set of acts is outrageous, old skool heads meet punks meet hipsters meet club queens in the crowd, as the truly comprehensive selection offers the best across all scenes. It's an everything-goes approach that ensures representation, needling through demographics, space, and time, sure to captivate attendees in both cities, across the weekend of May 29th through June 4th in Barcelona and June 5th-11th in Madrid.
It's a cornucopia of music, overflowing, and while it's difficult to provide a satisfactory run-through, there are a few standouts. For those leaning towards folk-infused indie rock, Alex G, the United States-based musician, whose latest album, God Save the Animals, is a spellbinding and sadness-tinged affair, is sure to impress, while on a similar wave and darker tone is the cacophony of Black Country New Road, and the glitch pop of British duo Jockstrap. Melancholy ensues with the ephemeral Bar Italia, of Dean Blunt relation, and the wailing and stylised pop-rock of icon and mystery maker Yves Tumor.
The fact that this all shimmers beneath the surface of famous headliners such as Rosalía, Calvin Harris, Kendrick Lamar, New Order, and Halsey is what gives the festival such a rich underside and cultural heft. It's not just a massive commercial showing, but something a fair bit more delicate, showcasing impressive work from queer and BIPOC artists such as Jana Rush, the footwork pioneer from Chicago, and Juliana Huxtable, the genre melding DJ based in New York. Others to watch are skilled DJ Tzusing, and internet aficionado and beloved Kelela, who dropped her second album to wide acclaim and hungry fans earlier this year.
There’s plenty to catch, it's easy to imagine that thighs will be burning as attendees are set running to catch Sudan Archives’ live magic or Pink Pantheress’ Gen Z rap-DnB, chasing bliss after catching Mala’s rhythmic dub and Machine Girl’s blistering DJ crackle. It's set to be a whirlwind, a big clash of worlds, with Glasgow-based DJ and promoter Joe Unknown sharing space with Baltimore hardcore punks Turnstile and the quirky and pounding live sets of Brutalismus3000. While the whimsy of folkstress Maggie Rogers giving way to the jungle of Nia Archives and the thrashing of the Death Grips fans. Just taking in the lineup is enough to make my palms sweat, it's almost too much. I can imagine the gleeful buzz in the Primavera Sound offices, after pulling off yet another year of essential and diverse bookings so varied, it's almost diabolical.