Primavera Sound wrapped up its second of two 2022 weekends in Barcelona this past Sunday. Music fans descended upon the Catalonian capital from around the world for the festival’s unrivaled artist lineup and left with plenty of highlights to recall, though various logistical issues, organizational snafus, and unlucky breaks left room for improvement at future events.
He’s not a household name at all, but the Aussie indie rocker kicked off weekend two with a bang. He’s friends with Angel Olsen and co-wrote with Brandon Flowers of The Killers, so it should come as no surprise that he’s got a live performance and aurora to match the depth of his music.
Julian Casablancas may have spent a lot of time in a pseudo-stand-up routine, but frankly it didn’t matter. After missing Boston Calling and weekend one of Primavera with COVID, it was just nice to have the headliners back in person again.
The Strokes – “Threat of Joy” – 6/10/22
[Video: Katya GoLightly]
The Strokes – “The Adults Are Talking” – 6/10/22
[Video: Katya GoLightly]
Sampa The Great
Quite frankly, the Zambia-born, Australia-based rapper is a force to be reckoned with. Her standout 2019 album, The Return, is worth listening to front-to-back, but the live show she puts on is next level. With energy and swagger, she tore through her hits pulling in passersby to fill up the Binance Stage relatively early in the day.
The Tame Impala-adjacent psychedelic rock group from Australia is at the top of its game. A set at 5:30 p.m., early morning by Barcelona standards, filled up the entirety of the Plentitude Stage and lead singer Nick Allbrook’s manic energy left people wanting an even longer show. Don’t miss the band’s most recent album, 9.
Pond – “Paint Me Silver” – 6/11/22
[Video: Biig Bri]
All The Headliners
With two side-by-side headliner stages (more on that later), fans didn’t have to miss out on many of the big names. On Thursday, for example, fans were able to catch Khruangbin, Interpol, Gorillaz, and Dua Lipa followed by Tyler, the Creator all without moving too far at all. It’s a rare thing to have that kind of lineup at a festival, nevermind without overlapping set times.
To preface everything that will follow, Primavera Sound 2022 still boasted an elite lineup despite all dropouts. However, Massive Attack, Japanese Breakfast, Holly Humberstone, Bleachers, and Clairo were just a handful of the names who pulled out of the lineup for various reasons. That’s not at all the festival’s fault—it’s something we’ll continue to see more and more of as the season rolls on—but it doesn’t ease the pain.
Fans complained about overcrowding as well as the lines for food, beer, and water to no end on Thursday of weekend one. While the situation did improve greatly, the layout and rules of the festival still could have eased the problem.
The layout of the two main stages meant that just about everyone was trying to fit in one area that’s blocked in by the soundboard and giant VIP stand. The location of beverage stands on the interior of the main stage area (known on the festival’s Reddit as Mordor), only drives more fans further toward the middle instead of the outside and back. The crush of people was clearly apparent during Dua Lipa’s set, in particular, when the crowd in this area swelled to a seemingly unsafe density.
The water situation was insufficient, as well. Only three free spouts (spouts, not stations with multiple spouts) served fans free water throughout the festival. Small-sized cans and bottles (caps confiscated) were available for purchase at many stands, but functionally they don’t make sense for festival-goers. For the sake of health and safety, the festival should look to bring in more, larger water stations and allow attendees to bring refillable bottles.
Overall, Primavera Sound is an elite festival when it comes to the music. It’s not a “scene” like Coachella, or overrun with high schoolers looking to party like a few other big city festivals—it’s truly meant for music-lovers. While the organization could improve the actual experience even more, it was still worth the trip across the Atlantic to attend.