Big festivals and major events in Barcelona: Summer

Sónar

Where: various venues
When: 18-20 Jun
Website: www.sonar.es
The three-day International Festival of Advanced Music and Multimedia Art (or Sónar, as it’s more snappily known) remains a must for anyone into electronic music, contemporary urban art and media technologies. The event is divided into two distinct parts. Sónar by Day comprises multimedia art, record fairs, conferences, exhibitions and sound labs, while DJs play. Later, Sónar by Night means a scramble for the desperately overcrowded shuttle bus out to the vast hangars of the site in Hospitalet (tip: share a cab between four – it’ll cost you the same), where concerts and DJs are spread over SónarClub, SónarPark and SónarPub. There's also SónarKids, with music, workshops and puppet shows on the Sunday at the Sónar by Day site. Confirmed so far for the 22nd edition in 2015 are The Chemical Brothers, Kindness, Tempest, Holly Herndon, Fat Freddy's Drop, Daniel Avery and Helena Hauff, among others.

Pride Barcelona

Where: various venues
When: 18-28 Jun
Website: www.pridebarcelona.org
Barcelona shows its gay pride over the course of 10 days in venues all over the city, including talks, demonstrations, parties, concerts, activities for kids and families, and the big parade.

Sant Joan

Where: all over Barcelona
When: night of 23 Jun
In the weeks leading up to the feast of St John, the streets become a terrifying war zone of firecrackers and cowering dogs. This is mere limbering up for the main event – on the night of 23 June there are bonfires and firework displays all over the city, but especially the beach, running until dawn. Cava is the traditional tipple, and piles of coca – flat, crispy bread topped with candied fruit – are consumed. Special metro and FGC trains run all night, and the 24th is a much-needed holiday.

Gran Trobada d’Havaneres

Where: Passeig Joan de Borbó, Barceloneta
When: last Sat in June
Tel: 93 316 10 00
The barnacled legacy of Catalonia’s old trade links with Cuba, havaneres are melancholy 19th-century shanties accompanied by accordion and guitar. The main event is at the port town of Calella de Palafrugells, but the Barcelona satellite is no less fun. Performances by groups dressed in stripy shirts, with salty sea-dog names such as Peix Fregit (fried fish) and Xarxa (fishing net), are followed by cremat (flaming spiced rum) and fireworks.

Festival del Grec

Where: various venues
When: all of July
Tel & website: 93 316 10 00/http://grec.bcn.cat/en/
Named after the Greek amphitheatre (Teatre Grec) that forms such an integral part of its programming, this is the major cultural festival of the year. It brings together dozens of shows from around the world, encompassing dance, music, theatre and circus. Increasingly there are performances in English, with Catalan surtitles.

Música als Parcs

Where: various venues
When: Jun-Aug
Tel & website: 93 413 24 00/www.bcn.cat/parcsijardins
This series of free, al fresco concerts runs throughout the summer months in some of Barcelona’s loveliest parks. It comprises two cycles; there’s jazz from June to August on Wednesdays and Fridays at 10pm in Ciutadella park in front of the fountain and, in July, young musicians perform a varied classical concert programme from Thursday to Saturday in various parks. There are also performances by the municipal band, who boost the programme on occasional Thursdays with crowd-pleasers from Gershwin, 'West Side Story' and the like.

Sala Montjuïc outdoor film festival

Where: Castell de Montjuïc
When: July-Aug
Website: www.salamontjuic.org
A blend of classics and recent independent cinema shown three times a week throughout July and into August, transforms the grassy moat of the castle into an outdoor cinema. Bring a picnic and and turn up early for the jazz band. A free bus service runs from Espanya metro from 8.30pm to 9.30pm and after the film.

Barcelona Harley Days

Where: Fira de Barcelona
When: 3-5 Jul
Tel. & Website: 618 731 246 or 93 246 7431/www.barcelonaharleydays.com
Barcelona plays host to the biggest urban celebration of Harley-Davidsons and the biker world in Europe, welcoming bikers, tourists, amateurs and enthusiasts who want to be a part of these three days featuring top motorbikes, activities and an unbeatable atmosphere during this huge event organized by the American motorcycle company.

Festival Cruïlla Barcelona

Where: Parc del Fòrum
When: 10-12 Jul
Website: www.cruillabarcelona.com
The Cruïlla music festival got its feet wet in nearby Mataró as a world music festival, but since moving to Barcelona in 2008, it has grown into the blend of styles and cultures that it is today, an eclectic festival that books pop and rock bands alongside electronica acts, along with a broad spectrum of R&B, and Jamaican and African music. The first headliner announced for the 2015 edition is three-time Grammy winner Damian 'Jr Gong' Marley.

Festa Major del Raval

Where: Rambla del Raval
When: mid- to late July
Website: www.bcn.cat
Over three days, entertainment includes giants, a flea market, children’s workshops and free concerts on the Rambla del Raval. This particular festa major prides itself on multiculturalism, with music from around the world and ethnic food stalls.

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Critics' Choice

Fira de Santa Llúcia Where: Pla de la Seu & Avda de la CatedralWhen: 2-23 DecTel & website: 93 402 70 00/w2.bcn.cat/nadal/enDating from 1786, this traditional Christmas fair has expanded to more than 300 stalls, selling all manner of handcrafted Christmas decorations and gifts, along with mistletoe, poinsettias and Christmas trees. The most popular figure on sale for Nativity scenes is the curious Catalan figure of the caganer (crapper), a small figure crouching over a steaming turd with his trousers around his ankles. Kids line up for a go on the giant caga tió, a huge, smiley-faced ‘shitting log’ that poops out pressies upon being beaten viciously by a stick; smaller versions are on sale at the stalls. There’s also a Nativity scene contest, musical parades and exhibitions, including the popular life-size Nativity scene in Plaça Sant Jaume. Cavalcada dels Reis Where: various venuesWhen: 5 Jan, 5-9pmWebsite: w2.bcn.cat/nadal/enEpiphany is the big Christmas event here, and is marked by the Kings’ Parade. Melchior, Gaspar and Balthasar arrive aboard the Santa Eulàlia boat at the bottom of La Rambla before beginning a grand parade around town with a retinue of acrobats, circus clowns and child elves. The route is published in the newspapers, but normally starts at the lower entrance of Ciutadella, running up C/Marquès de l’Argentera and Via Laietana. Later that night, children leave their shoes out on the balcony stuffed with hay for the kings’ camels; in the morning, they’re ei

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Autumn festivals and events

Festival L’Hora del Jazz Where: various venuesWhen: Sundays 1-22 SepWebsite: www.amjm.orgA three-week festival of local jazz acts, with free daytime concerts in public spaces such as Gràcia’s Plaça Vila de Gràcia (normally on Sunday at lunchtime). Diada Nacional de Catalunya Where: all over BarcelonaWhen: 11 SeptCatalan National Day commemorates Barcelona’s capitulation to the Bourbon army in the 1714 War of the Spanish Succession, a bitter defeat that led to the repression of many Catalan institutions. It’s lost some of its vigour but is still a day for national reaffirmation, with the Catalan flag flying on buses and balconies. There are marches throughout the city, the centre being the statue of Rafael Casanova (who directed the resistance) on the Ronda Sant Pere. Many make a pilgrimage to the monastery at Montserrat, Catalonia’s spiritual heart. Hipnotik Festival Where: CCCBWhen: mid-SepWebsite: hipnotikfestival.comSpain's benchmark hip-hop festival pulls in promising line-ups as part of this urban culture event that lasts more than 12 hours. There are also MC and dance competitions, graffiti, exhibitions and talks. Barcelona Acció Musical (BAM) Where: various venuesWhen: during the Festes de la Mercè, Sep (see below)Tel: 93 427 42 49BAM stages free concerts, often showcasing jazz and singer-songwriters, on Plaça del Rei; more famous names perform outside the Cathedral, with dance acts at the Fòrum and rumba at Portal de la Pau (near the Museu Marítim). The prime mover of

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Winter festivals and events

Most popular hotels Els Casals This magnificent country house hotel, surrounded by gardens and animals, is ideal for a few days rest and very suitable for children. It has ten exterior rooms, three of which have living rooms. The hotel’s garden produces many of the ingredients which are later served in the restaurant, which specializes in quality cuisine, marked by the seasonality of the produce, and has won a number of major awards in recent years. You can also buy homemade cold sausages here. Hotel BestPrice Diagonal Located 5 minutes’ walk from Diagonal Park and 100 metres from Selva de Mar Metro Station, Hotel BestPrice Diagonal is a new hotel with modern décor. Free Wi-Fi is available in all areas.Each room is air conditioned and offers a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. The modern private bathroom offers a shower and free toiletries.There are various bars and restaurants within a 5-minute walk of the property. Barcelona’s Diagonal Mar Shopping Centre and the CCIB Convention Centre are both 200 metres away.Breakfast is offered in the café beside the hotel, with discounted prices for guests.Plaza Catalunya is 10 minutes away by metro and Mar Bella Beach can be reached in 10 minutes on foot.BestPrice Diagonal has a tour desk and a ticket service. Bicycle and car rental are also available. DoubleTree by Hilton La Mola “Where the little things mean everything”, says the hotel’s slogan. Hardly anybody knows, but between Sabadell and Terrassa, there is a paradise: Torre

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Spring festivals and events

Most popular hotels Els Casals This magnificent country house hotel, surrounded by gardens and animals, is ideal for a few days rest and very suitable for children. It has ten exterior rooms, three of which have living rooms. The hotel’s garden produces many of the ingredients which are later served in the restaurant, which specializes in quality cuisine, marked by the seasonality of the produce, and has won a number of major awards in recent years. You can also buy homemade cold sausages here. Hotel BestPrice Diagonal Located 5 minutes’ walk from Diagonal Park and 100 metres from Selva de Mar Metro Station, Hotel BestPrice Diagonal is a new hotel with modern décor. Free Wi-Fi is available in all areas.Each room is air conditioned and offers a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. The modern private bathroom offers a shower and free toiletries.There are various bars and restaurants within a 5-minute walk of the property. Barcelona’s Diagonal Mar Shopping Centre and the CCIB Convention Centre are both 200 metres away.Breakfast is offered in the café beside the hotel, with discounted prices for guests.Plaza Catalunya is 10 minutes away by metro and Mar Bella Beach can be reached in 10 minutes on foot.BestPrice Diagonal has a tour desk and a ticket service. Bicycle and car rental are also available. DoubleTree by Hilton La Mola “Where the little things mean everything”, says the hotel’s slogan. Hardly anybody knows, but between Sabadell and Terrassa, there is a paradise: Torre

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