There is no summer in Spain without Primavera. Now, you should know that because Primavera Sound is a festival that has been around for 18 years.
A festival is not only its lineup but a lineup says a lot about a festival. Every year, the booking team takes into careful consideration diverse origins, sensitivities, and backgrounds to represent them at the event. This makes it one of the most eagerly awaited in recent years. Over 200 artists make up the list of Primavera Sound 2018, taking place from 28th May to 3rd June in Barcelona. Here at FestPop we tell you everything you need to know.

There is no doubt that Spain offers world-class music festivals that, like its wines, get a little better with age. The 18th edition of this festival offer a lineup that is stellar, danceable, comprehensive, contemporary, with girl power, and conceived for its fans. No, we have not gone mad. This lineup is literally the lineup of lineups. So have a look below and tell us in the comments which one is your favourite. We may meet each other there (wink).


The trail of big names of Primavera Sound 2018 is overwhelming: After four years of no live performances, Arctic Monkeys will make its first stop in Spain during their comeback tour. The queen of Icelandic rhythms, Björk, will perform her resplendent Utopia in her first visit to the festival. Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds will finally bring the cathartic Skeleton Tree to the stage in what promises to be a historic concert. The National and The War On Drugs, two of the most crucial rock bands of this generation, will perform too. And as if it was not enough, the public can enjoy A$AP Rocky and Migos as the epitome of today’s hip-hop and worldwide trap scene. But that is only the beginning…


Primavera Sound remains committed to storytelling. You cannot understand the lineup from a fragmented approach. Every single artist has been meticulously chosen and plays a key role: each name has its raison d’être. That is why the free jazz legends Art Ensemble of Chicago can coexist alongside a diverse list of artists: the all-stars-of-hardcore Dead Cross (with Mike Patton from Faith No More and Dave Lombardo from Slayer); Jóhann Jóhannsson, the master of soundtracks; Capullo de Jerez, a flamenco freethinker; local punk heroes La Banda Trapera del Río; the unclassifiable Sparks; Mike D, revisiting the classics by the much-missed Beastie Boys; John Maus; Peter Perrett; Fermín Muguruza; the celestial post-rock by Lift to Experience; Madlib and its futurist sound; the African tradition of the diva Oumou Sangaré, or Watain’s black metal. Altogether, alongside the electronic experimentation of Nils Frahm, they make up the character of Primavera Sound 2018.


2018 is yet again a year for girl power. To begin with, legendary Jane Birkin will sing songs from her homage record to Serge Gainsbourg accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra. Jane and Serge’s own daughter Charlotte Gainsbourg is also part of an array of talent which includes impressive figures such as Haim, Fever Ray, CHVRCHES, Beach House or Warpaint. The future of music is represented by emerging artists such as New Zealand´s favorite Lorde; Ibeyi, Maria Arnal, Hinds, Waxahatchee, Yonaka, Vagabon, Jorja Smith, Javiera Mena, Jlin, Bad Gyal, and Sevdaliza. And lest we forget the return of Lykke Li. At all hours, in all styles, on all the stages: women are the driving force.


In parallel, black music continues to gain popularity throughout the festival. As a reflection of the current music scene, this edition will welcome A$AP Rocky with his third album. And the very popular trap trio Migos –who became the sensation of 2017 with their anthem Bad and Boujee–. The festival’s commitment to hip-hop is definitely confirmed with the return of its prodigal children Vince Staples and Tyler. But the list goes on and on with The Creator (two of the best albums of 2017), Majid Jordan, The Internet, Thundercat, Jorja Smith and Kelela. We know Drake would be proud.


Looking back for generational references and towards other latitudes to search for new voices, Primavera Sound always takes the pulse of the contemporary musicPay close attention because these artists are the best-kept secrets of Iberoamerican music in recent years. Next summer, Arca, one of the most extraordinary characters to emerge over the last few years from my beloved home-country Venezuela, will present his acclaimed eponymous album, one of the hits of 2017. At the same time, the rise of new urban music in Spain will be represented by Maria Arnal i Marcel Bagés, who have triumphed in the Spanish scene with their avant-garde folk debut song 45 cerebros y un corazón, by the unstoppable C. Tangana (on his third visit to the festival in a row) and by the very young -and already international- Bad Gyal. Let’s not forget the recent phenomena Cigarettes After Sex and Rhye, or the new dimensions of indie rock represented by Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever and the Mallorca band Oso Leone, who will reveal the tracks from their third album at last.


Consolidated internationally as a reference event, Primavera Sound never forgets its origins. Shellac will, like at every previous edition, present their animal rock. Also, for the fifth year in a row, local DJ and producer John Talabot will bring his now-famous Disco Set to the electronic area of the festival. And Dj Coco will wrap it all up with his festive communion-like session.
In this regard, the Parc del Fòrum will host artists who are now part of the family and that embody the Primavera Sound DNA. From Beach House to Mogwai (after their unexpected appearance last year), as well as Slowdive in an absolute state of grace, Deerhunter, Father John Misty, Belle and Sebastian (who will play for free on Wednesday as part of the inaugural day), Ariel Pink, The Breeders, Spiritualized, Ty Segall and The Freedom Band, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Panda Bear and, from the local scene, Delorean, La Bien Querida, Za! and Christina Rosenvinge. They are the usual suspects; our house is their house.


Today’s unknown bands will be tomorrow’s headliners. This has become a Primavera Sound axiom. This year, the crowd will be delighted by the silky voice of Jorja Smith. She definitely marks a turning point in British soul. You can´t miss out the producer Knox Fortune (who has already collaborated with Kanye West and Chance The Rapper), the impressive Starcrawler and Yonaka each one from a different side of the Atlantic, the exceptionally gifted Rex Orange County and the sassy Hinds. Discover the millennial synth pop by Australian-born The Kite String Table, the fluorescent explosion of Superorganism, and the promising voices of the future Yellow Days, Sevdaliza, Nick Hakim and Mavi Phoenix. You won’t need a magnifying glass because these artists stand out on its own.


There is also space for dancing. Actually, more space than ever so don’t forget comfortable shoes. The electronic music stages of the Primavera Bits will host even more sessions by DJs and producers by the sea: funk by Chromeo, the alien footwork of Jlin, Mount Kimbie’s analogical experiment, and the techno beats by the South Korean artist Peggy Gou. There will be presentations of new albums by reference artists like Jon Hopkins, James Holden & The Animal Spirits, and Four Tet. Also, an incredible audiovisual show by the French duo The Blaze. From the celebration of dance without frontiers by Hunee b2b Antal, Floating Points (both live and with a 6 hours DJ set), Dj Koze, Lindström and Dekmantel Soundsystem to the consolidated club proposals from The Black Madonna and Daphni, this lineup will cater for all tastes. There will even be two incarnations of the elusive Brian Piñeyro as he’s both DJ Wey and DJ Python. Killer DJ Shanti Celeste from Chile is also in this dancing lineup. Loads of euphoria and sweat running on the dance floor.


If you don’t like music festivals, then you shouldn’t be in Barcelona these dates. As per usual, Primavera Sound will open up to the whole city with its complementary programme. During the week of the festival itself, Primavera als Clubs will host artists of the caliber of Ariel Pink, The Sea and Cake, Joe Goddard, Mount Kimbie Djs, The Men and Kero Kero Bonito, performing exclusively for full festival ticket holdersFor the first time, the Auditori del Fòrum will open its doors on Wednesday to host the concerts by Spiritualized and Maria Arnal i Marcel Bagés. If you buy a full festival pass, you can access these two concerts; however, all outdoor concerts on Wednesday at Parc del Fòrum will be free. The Auditori del Fòrum will also open, as every year, on Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, concerts will move to the Auditori de Barcelona, only a few minutes away from the Parc del FòrumOn Sunday (June 3rd) in plaza Joan Coromines (CCCB) significant artists as Rhye, Waxahatchee, Fermín Muguruza, The Suicide of Western Culture and the Oblivians, will be performing for free.


The lineup announcement put an end to a long month of expectation. Suspense started mid-December with a giant billboard hung near the Apolo. The sign read “Això no és un cartell” (“This is not a lineup”), a homage to the famous piece The Treachery Of Images by René Magritte. Hours later, a video, showing the reactions of 10 fans from different parts of the world when discovering the lineup, became viral. Now, finally, this is a lineup worth waiting for.
Primavera Sound Lineup


As we mentioned, Primavera Sound’s eighteenth lineup is a lineup that, as always, is many lineups in one. It is perfect to make it whatever you want it to be. Festival tickets are on sale and it is possible to buy them in instalments -no excuses to not get yours now!


With this endless list of awesome acts, we are sure the only thing you will be missing at Primavera Sound is time to enjoy everything this music festival has to offer. At FestPop we are head over heels for two upcoming duos from the Barcelona music scene: North State, furiously contemporary with influences that include Chet Faker, Flume, James Blake and The xx. These 2 siblings play auto-tune, future bass synth, elegant drops and bursts of colour to indulge your ears with their magical fusion of electronic, hip-hop, angelic voices and eclecticism. When I saw them perform live, it was love at first musical note. In the other hand, Maria Arnal i Marcel Bagés offer a theatrical performance on stage with daring adaptations of Valencian folklore, poetry, and self-penned words that seem to have been waiting a lifetime to be shared expressing love and social protest. Maria’s edgy voice and Marcel’s free guitar elevate to exquisite heights a statement that tradition cannot be understood without the avant-garde and that revolution cannot be understood without love (and vice versa).

Grab your friends and see you there!

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FestPop Sr Editor Krys

FestPop Sr Editor, Europe, Krystel Bendahan

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