Big festivals and major events in Barcelona: Summer



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Where: various venues
When: 18-20 Jun
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
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/
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/
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
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/
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
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
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.

Nits d’Estiu CaixaForum

Where: CaixaForum
When: every Wed in July, Aug
Tel & website: 93 476 86 00/
Many museums hold Nits d'Estiu (Summer Nights) programmes in July and August, but CaixaForum has one of the best. All its exhibitions are open until midnight, and there are concerts of varying stripes (€6; €3 La Caixa clients), films and other activities.

San Miguel Mas i Mas Festival

Where: various venues
When: late July - early Sept
Tel & website: 93 319 17 89/
This tasteful music festival stretches over the summer months and has gone from concentrating on Latin sounds to providing a little bit of everything. Concerts take place at various venues, including the Palau de la Música Catalana.


Where: CCCB
When: Aug: Tue-Thu 10pm
Tel & website: 93 306 41 00/
A series of films are screened in the deckchair-strewn patio of the CCCB. It gets extremely crowded, so arrive early for any chance of a seat.

Circuit Festival

Where: various venues
When: 5-16 Aug
The biggest international gay and lesbian event, along with its sister act, Girlie Circuit, is nearly two weeks of parties and music, plus so much more: literary readings, talks, debates, workshops, documentary film festivals and lots of good sporty fun with football tournaments, beach volleyball, fitness courses, longboard outings and even yoga sessions, and lots and lots of people.

Festa de Sant Roc

Where: various venues around Plaça Nova, Barri Gòtic
When: mid-Aug
Tel & website: 010/
The Festa de Sant Roc, celebrated every year since 1589, is the Barri Gòtic’s street party. It’s hard to beat for lovers of Catalan traditions: there are parades with the giants and fat heads, sardana dancing and 19th-century street games. The festivities, which centre around the Plaça Nova in front of the cathedral, conclude with a correfoc and fireworks.

Festa Major de Gràcia

Where: all over Gràcia
When: 3rd wk in Aug
Tel & website: 93 459 30 80/
The main event at Gràcia’s extravagant Festa Major is its street competition, where residents transform some 25 streets into pirate ships, rainforests and Jurassic landscapes. The festival opens with giants and castles in Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia, and climaxes with a correfoc and a castell de focs (castle of fireworks). In between, there are some 600 activities, from concerts to sardanes and bouncy castles. Recent years have been marred by vandalism and late-night scuffles with the police.

Festa Major de Sants

Where: all over Sants
When: last wk in Aug
Tel & website: 93 490 62 14/
One of the lesser-known neighbourhood festivals, the Festa Major de Sants has a traditional flavour, with floral offerings to images of St Bartholomew at the local church and the market. Major events, such as the correfoc on closing night, can be found in the Parc de l’Espanya Industrial; others are held at Plaça de la Farga, C/Finlàndia, C/Vallespir de Baix, C/Galileu and all around the barrio.

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