If any festival were to represent true eclectic musical diversity, it would be Primavera Sound. Expectations were high and it proved to be triumphant.
Thursday flaunted a stellar bill of the most innovative and fresh talent in pop. Following her first headliner at All Points East, Christine and the Queens commanded crowds with her punchy, progressive pop. She flung herself across the stage backed by a flurry of exquisitely choreographed backing dancers. She set the bar high for those that followed and she touched on an emotive note on coming out and embracing queerness. The night scurried on with the adoringly effervescent Sigrid. Many of her superfans belted along to every single word, as she shimmered with glee blasting out her euphoric pop hits.
Shooting across to the Lotus stage, anticipation built for the visionary producer SOPHIE. She is known for her off the wall electronic bangers. However, she seemed to be off her game, the tempo was disjointed, filled with elongated intros, lesser-known demos, and remixes. It had its higher velocity moments, and guest appearances from Arca and Tzef which went down a treat, but it wasn’t entirely cohesive. The irresistible “Immaterial” ensured things weren’t left on a dud-note, with crowds bouncing to the screeching beat.
Herds sprinted in their hundreds back to Charli XCX, starting just five minutes after at a stage way across the site (…somebody didn’t do their research). Charli is an underrated icon, and her show proved her worthy of greater stardom. She filled her set with fizzling hits like “I Love It”, “Boys” and “1999”, as well as deeper cuts channeling bombastic PC Music goodness with “Vroom Vroom”. Christine and The Queens returned for a jaw-dropping feature as the two debuted their tantalising collaboration, an enticing 80s esq jam that is sure to take the world by storm.
FKA Twigs closed out the night with her dreamy aqueous vocals, paired with a stunning otherworldly stage show. She even went all Aarya Stark in space with a sword sparring section that was truly engrossing.
Day 2 brought out the big guns. Carly Rae Jepsen at sunset encapsulated a whole new level of unfeasible euphoria, with songs like “Run Away With Me”, “Cut To The Feeling” and “Party For One” embodying pure, intoxifying joy.
The icons didn’t let up as Janelle Monae dominated the stage, injecting invigorating empowerment and moving progressive messages. She put on a stunning show, seamlessly flowing through fist-pumping tunes like “Screwed”, “Django Jane”, and the eccentrically jazzy “Electric Lady”.
Being a last minute replacement for Cardi B, Miley Cyrus’ set following was a roaring success. She appeared so energetic and grateful to be back on a huge stage, pumping out smash-hits like “Wrecking Ball” and “Party in the USA”. Whilst newer material showcased her more alternative rock side, with pummeling drums and screeching guitars. Tame Impala followed with a deliciously sweet psychedelic spectacle of a headline set. They had a phenomenal stage presence, with mystifying layered instrumentation and tunes that are perfect to rave out to.
Robyn was the perfect climax to a day with so many pop legends. Her music sparks joy and unparalleled passion heightened in the live setting. Masses of people belting to “Dancing On My Own” felt iconic. Her remarkable stage show is sure to be ingrained in the minds and hearts of many people.
Sunday was the big day for the Spaniards, with local mega-star Rosalia drawing mass hysteria. A James Blake guest appearance brought a jaw-dropping blissful moment, previewing the gold to come later on for his main set. She strutted about the stage backed by a tirade of dancers, commanding the attention of the thousands of adoring fans.
Back on the beach, Lizzo busted out her iconic self-love bangers to what she claimed to be her biggest festival crowd yet. The empowering motivational energy struck deep in the amped-up live setting, and she even brought on a group of fans to live their best life to “Tempo”.
There couldn’t have been a more apt finale to the festival than James Blake. He performed with a certain grandeur, flitting between piano and synthesisers seamlessly. He is such a multi-faceted artist bringing pumping bass and hypnotising synthesisers one second and stripped back spine-tingling ballads the next.
The festival was a vibrant playground for some of the biggest names across the globe all on the stunning Barcelona coastline. Taglined as “The New Normal”, we can only hope it sets the standard for the future. The remarkable diversity in artists made for an experience so special.
Words: Kieran Raza