The Festa Major de Gràcia is among the biggest parties of the year on the Barcelona calendar, and this summer, to commemorate the festival's bicentennial, the whole neighbourhood is getting in on the celebration and you'll come across live music every day from August 15 to 21. These are our recommendations for some you won't want to miss. And the best part is they're all free!
Tuesday August 15 brings to the stage American rock singer Tori Sparks with flamenco fusion group Calemento. Together they've recorded an album called 'El Mar', which you can experience in Plaça de Rovira i Trias. Later, check out the concert from La Banda del Panda with Catalan rumba, Cuban son, reggae and cumbia.
This six-woman Catalan band describe their music as 'folkcalentó', which best translates into English as 'hot folk'. Theirs is a fusion of folk, rumba, cumbia and traditional songs as well as signature tunes. Roba Estesa are playing the Gràcia festival to show audiences new dynamics for enjoying music with empowerment. The group bring together a show, quality music and staging to turn culture into a space of social transformation.
Guatemala-born Meneo, aka Rigo Pex, is a resident of Madrid and part of the first wave of producers to mix electronica with traditional Latin beats like cumbia and merengue. Now, with a touch more of the Peninsular sound, he's inspired by styles like zarzuela, paso doble and rumba. His songs, some recorded in eight bits, are generational anthems that are a guarantee for fun and dancing.
Current and future fans of Ebri Knight are in for a treat in Gràcia's Plaça del Sol during the Gràcia festival. With melodies from the Maresme, traditional instruments and voices of the people, the band honours the traditional folk music that was heard through the streets of Catalonia centuries ago.
The black music festival par excellence of the Festa Major de Gràcia celebrates its fifth anniversary with a class line-up. Two nights of the best rhythm and soul from Konguito DJ, Blackcelona Sound Selector and Molly Varlet. Plus special concerts from The Slingshots, one of the best deep funk and soul bands in southern Europe, and Shirley Davis, the new diva of European soul, accompanied by The Silverbacks.
Last year this international group of musicians who play African music performed before a thrilled crowd at the Rototom Sunsplash festival in Benicàssim, and this year they're honouring us with their sound during the Gràcia festival. Afrikemet play styles including soukous, highlife, native blues and domboló, and they'll have you dancing up a sweat!
C/ de la Perla is one of the most activity-filled streets during the Festa Major de Gràcia this summer. On Friday August 18 you can dance along to live music with Legacaster, an Argentinian Barcelona resident who plays rockabilly in a true '50s style. That same night Tonia Richardson lights up the stage with her sound that ranges from reggae to funk, with disco and soul thrown in to boot. Finishing things up is Mr. Andreu, La Perla's resident DJ, with a huge range of fun music to keep you moving.
The Festigàbal is back! This is the annual festival organised by the folks at Heliogàbal in the Jardines de la Sedeta on August 18 and 19, during the Festa Major de Gràcia. The first night you'll be treated to concerts by Museless, Hidrogenesse, Playback Maracas, and BeGun (DJ set). The second day it's time for El Petit de Cal Eril, Me and the Bees, Los Bengala, and Guille Milkyway (DJ set) to take the stage.
With an ear for ska, reggae and rocksteady, on Saturday August 19 Bcn Ska-Jazz Orchestra presents their new album, 'First Round'. It's Charlie Parker meets Rico Rodríguez with this mix of '60s Jamaican music and jazz. You can also check out the indie band Speaker Cabinets, playing danceable rock.
After enjoying great success last year, Gràcia gallery and studio Error! The Gallery is once again organising a small music festival in Plaça Rovira i Trias over the weekend of the Festa major. This year, the second edition of the Error! Fest includes performances by Critters, ZA! and Guerrera on Saturday the 19th, and by Böira and Anímic on Sunday the 20th.
Shamrock Vagabonds are the product of a jam session in the Gràcia bar Jamming Lounge that ended up in a video of the four founding members singing a cappella in the street and the subsequent offer to return to the bar and perform as a group. They sing with different vocals, creating a variety of harmonies with a rhythmic and powerful instrumental base made up of guitars, a violin and percussion. This year they're playing the Gràcia festival on Sunday the 20th in C/ de Mozart, and on Thursday the 17th you can catch them at a vermouth special in C/ del Progrés.
More Gràcia festival
This summer the neighbourhood of Gràcia gets dressed up like never before, because it's celebrating the bicentennial of its Festa Major, one of the favourite street festivals of the year, as much for locals as for visitors who come through for the festivities. From August 15 to 21 you'll find a massive programme of activities for all tastes filling the streets and squares of Gràcia with music, food and parties, including concerts, fairs, 'correfocs' ('fire runs'), dances and things to do for kids. And of course you can't miss the traditional decorating of the main streets in the barrio just for the occasion.
The origin story of the Festa Major de Gràcia dates back to the beginning of the 19th century. At the border of the Old Regime, new cities and towns began to develop their own identity, and each has a Festa Major of its own that's tinged with a community spirit. Two centuries years later, the Festa Major de Gràcia has become a great example of a neighbourhood coming together and sharing the work and the payoff. You're all invited to enjoy the special events that commemorate 200 years of the biggest August festival in Barcelona.