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.
Participation and a community spirit have given shape to the more than 400 activities that celebrate the bicentennial. Participation is one of the axes of this year's special programme, which uses memories to project from the past toward the future. The nerve centre of the commemoration is the big marquee set up in the Jardinets de Gràcia. The temporary construction re-creates a traditional 19th-century dance hall with all its charms. You'll find it filled at various times with exhibitions, conferences, music, dancing, and plenty of fun in this hub of the Gràcia festival bicentennial.
Prior to the judging, everyone's on tenterhooks to see if the multi-award-winning C/Verdi will once again take the prize for the best-decorated street or if another street can strip it of its crown. Among the list of streets and squares that are always dressed up, there's a special particpant this year, 'el Carrer Gran', which extends from Pla de Nicolás Salmerón at the top of the Jardins de Salvador Espriu to Metro Fontana, adorned with 56 flag strips. With the recovery of this decorative element, this stretch of road will be another emblem of the bicentennial where you can see the work of different schools of design, such as Massana and IED. The rest of the banners are from 'Engracia't' workshop, which has already been visited by more than 3,500 students in the neighbourhood. You'll want to add this to your list of places to stroll and admire.
From the roots to the branches
Gràcia digs through its past in search of the roots of its festival, the natural and floral decorations that the neighbourhood's residents used to adorn the streets in the Festa Majors of the 1800s. For example, this year C/Francesc Giner will be full of foliage, branches and boxwood garlands, travelling back in time vai the senses of sight and smell with this craft of the 'enramadors' of Sallent (Bages), one of the few places that keeps up this ancestral technique and tradition that's otherwise practically extinct.
Parties and dancing
Two of the areas with the biggest draw in Gràcia are going nostalgic with events that transport you to two important moments in the musical history of the festival in the 20th century. The yé-yé movement of the '60s is represented in Plaça del Diamant with live music from Los Sirex and Los Mustang (Thu 17). And the Nova Cançó is under the spotlight during the '70s theme night in Plaça del Sol (Wed 16), featuring Francesc 'Quico' Pi de la Serra and the Grupo Cosas & Cobla Sant Jordi. Get out and celebrate 200 years of the festival, and here's to many more!
More Gràcia festival
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 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!