festival of barcelona


authentic Catalan traditions and the talent of artists from all over the world. dance. gunpowder. La Mercè. tradition. street theatre. a compendium of Mediterranean festivities. For the city is celebrating the feast of its patron saint. . stir.Modernity. whose special guest this year is the Russian city of Saint Petersburg. No one interested in plumbing the very soul of Barcelona and Catalonia can afford to miss this festival. and you have the festive cocktail that is being served up in Barcelona these days. circus. music… Just mix them all together.

though the current format of a programme featuring Catalan traditions was not adopted until the late-19th century.45 pm Pl. which performs only once a year. and so on. ordering them to found the Mercedarian Order to free the faithful who were prisoners of the Saracens. by the by. This ensemble. on 24 September 1218. sepTember 22 / 7. is formed by some forty musicians. Our Lady of Mercy – La Mercè – appeared before King James I and Saint Peter Nolasco. the Bou. Tradition Getting the party started Thursday. some accompanied by fireworks. along with the Àliga. get a live taste of Barcelona traditional imagery. the Mulassa. in 1687. ready to perform their traditional dances. Nearly two hundred years later.A little bit of history According to legend. Pure tradition. the tarota. giants. the flabiol the tabal. de Sant Jaume Those who want to experience the festival from the very start and. Pope Pius IX officially recognised La Mercè as the city’s patron saint and the people of Barcelona began to celebrate Her feast.. the city overcame a terrible plague of locusts after offering up prayers to Her. There you will find the city’s gegants. should come to Plaça de Sant Jaume. to music played by the Ministrils del Camí Ral. . Víbria. all playing traditional Catalan instruments: the gralla.. This manifestation of the Virgin was made patron saint of Barcelona later when.

Plaça de Sant Jaume is packed. taking Mass before returning to Plaça de Sant Jaume. GRALLeR MATiNee Gralles are traditional instruments in the double reed family played by grallers as they parade around the streets of old Barcelona in the early morning. On their arrival. sepTember 24 / 8. A morning in this quarter during La Mercè leads festivalgoers to the very heart of Catalan tradition. . The city authorities gladly comply with this duty. Sant Jaume The traditional festivity takes to the squares and narrow streets of the Gothic Quarter. awakening the cityfolk and inviting them to join in with the celebrations.30 am GALeJAdA TRABuCAiRe Anyone that the grallers have failed to get out of bed will certainly jump to it once the trabucaires begin firing their gunpowder salvoes in the street.Festa major matinee saTurday. 11 am GeGANT MATiNee A date with Barcelona’s tallest citizens… and its shortest. in the square of the same name. accompanied by the festive beasts. de la Mercè. not only to see the gegants dance. On the morning of September 24. 12 noon CoMiTivA de AuToRidAdeS It is pretty much inescapable duty to go and salute the patron saint at some time during the festivities. and to visit Her home.30 am Pl. These traditional characters are a reminder of the bandoleers who once rendered homage to the patron saint by firing their guns. the gegants and the Àliga perform their dances in what is amongst the most solemn moments during the festivity. de la Catedral and Pl. Pl. 10 am 8. the Basilica of La Mercè. but also to greet the capgrossos that accompany them and form an essential part of La Mercè.

de la Mercè (1 pm) Two squares in old Barcelona host the great festivity staged by the local groups of bastoners. September 25: the Minyons de Terrassa and the Castellers de Vilafranca. del Rei (11 am) and Pl. performing traditional dances that are an essential element in the festivities for La Mercè. BASToNeR MATiNee sunday. demonstrating that the casteller tradition is more alive than ever in our city. As a result. in which different colles or groups compete to see who can build the best human tower or pyramid in an absolutely thrilling spectacle. the city’s castellers also invite the best colles from all over Catalonia to share in this festive performance. SARdANeS saTurday. castellers and balls de bastons Sardanes and castells are two well-known ingredients of Catalan popular tradition. de la Mercè The Colla Sardanista Violetes del Bosc performs sardanes accompanied by the Cobla La Principal del Llobregat.Sardanes. sepTember 25 / 11 am Pl. CASTeLLS dAY saTurday.30 pm — Pl. This year. . sepTember 25 / 12 moon — Pl. CASTeLLS dAY WiTH GueST CoLLeS sunday. two top ensembles will perform on Sunday. the colles or casteller groups of Barcelona enter Plaça Sant Jaume to give an exhibition. to see them performed live is always a surprise. However. de Sant Jaume As well as themselves giving an exhibition of their skills to mark the feast of their patron saint. sepTember 24 / 12. sepTember 24 / 19 pm — Pl. we welcome a new colla. particularly in the latter case. de Sant Jaume When the city’s gegants and the Àliga have performed their dances outside the City Hall.

gegants and fire beasts are the stars amongst Barcelona’s mythical festive characters. Pl. Via Laietana and Pl. These popular “giants” will be joined by many street art companies to give life and colour to a parade structured into different thematic blocks following a route through the main streets of the city centre. de Pelai. sepTember 25 / 6 pm — Pl. C. the new sardana Bicicleta. To meet them and other leading characters. sunday. bringing together ensembles from Barcelona and guest groups from all over Catalonia. Popular culture Dracs. de la Catedral The competition for sardana groups has taken place regularly since 1950. the best thing is to attend one of the following events: BARCeLoNA PARAde sepTember 17-25. de Ramon Berenguer el Gran Characters from traditional and popular Catalan culture take to the streets at a festive event in which the real stars are the city’s gegants.sunday. cullera. de Gravina. de Sant Jaume Sardanes by the Cobla Nova del Vallès La Mercè Cavalcade saTurday. de Jaume I. 99) . from 10 am To 8.30 pm Palau de la Virreina (Rambla. de Ferran. C. de Sant Jaume. C. sepTember 24 / 6 pm C. poma will be performed for the first time. At the end of this year’s event. sepTember 25 / 11 am — Av. Rambla. Pl. de Catalunya.

As the last explosion rings out. Everyone wants to take part in this spectacle.30 pm Via Laietana /Av. de la Catedrall Where does the Correfoc come from? From Hell itself. using lower-intensity fireworks. particularly during the famous Correfoc. Hell’s Gate will be even more spectacular than ever. Antonio Maura. de Montalegre. Does it smell of sulphur? No. Don’t believe us? Well. from 10 am To 8 pm Vestibule. every year a family version of this great festival of fire takes place. passing through Via Laietana Fire and gunpowder are essential elements in Barcelona’s festa major. even younger children.eXHiBiTioN oF THe GeGANTS oF BARCeLoNA sepTember 12-23. Hell’s Gate sunday. . ready to begin their route around the streets of the city centre. fire beasts and all sorts of evil creatures bring with them.30 pm From C. So that they can do so without danger. Casa de Caritat (C. just the gunpowder that devils. de Sant Jaume) Children’s correfoc sunday. sepTember 25 / 6. sepTember 25 / 8. all you need to do is to be there when the fireworks go off outside the great gate that is installed right across Via Laietana. de Joan Massana to Pl. the gates of the underworld will open. 7) eXHiBiTioN oF dRACS ANd FiRe BeASTS sepTember 17-23. But be warned: this year. from 10 am To 8 pm Pati Manning. This scaled-down version is the best way for young participants to get their first taste of what is an absolutely Mediterranean celebration. Barcelona City Hall (Pl.

Correfoc sunday. one that has become popular all over Catalonia and was even seen on the silver screen thanks to Woody Allen. It is up to each individual spectator to decide where they want to see the show and how far they want to be exposed to the fireworks. making a realistic appraisal of the situation. de Antonio Maura. Pl. contrary to what it might seem. never pour water over the devils. Although this is an outstanding event on the traditional Mercè programme of activities. In any case. but an invention that dates to the restoration of democracy. monsters like Tarasca. a spectacle not to be missed. Do you dare come and meet them? Fun without danger There is not doubt that the Correfoc is a magical event. the Mulassa and the Víbria. Better not to wear synthetic materials (cotton is better). wear a hat and a neckerchief. but it should be enjoyed with the maximum precaution so as to avoid accidents.30 pm Pl. Via Laietana. shorts or high heeled shoes. a dragon with a woman’s breasts a snake’s tail. those taking part should wear clothing their covers their whole body. are ready to bathe the city streets in fire. this is not an ancestral celebration. . above all. Dragons breathing smoke from their mouths. accompanied by the devils. And. de Antonio López and the Consulat del Mar The beasts from hell have been released and. sepTember 25 / 8. as wet gunpowder becomes highly unpredictable. these are just some of the main characters in this awe-inspiring spectacle. as well as comfortable footwear. Watching the Correfoc from a prudent distance need take nothing away from our enjoyment of the spectacle.

For the Mercè Piromusical marks the end of celebrations until next year. These shows will presented by two companies devoted to creating elegant spectacles of fire and gunpowder. yet it is also one of the saddest moments. will feature some of the best-known songs. sepTember 23 Piromusical sunday. tunes that form part of the soundtrack to our lives. The fireworks launched from behind the Magic Fountain la Mercè light up the sky. sepTember 23 and saTurday. LeS ARTiSANS du SPeCTACLe (FRANCe) PiRoTeCNiA vuLCANo (MAdRid) saTurday. sepTember 25 / 10 pm Av. sepTember 24 / 10 pm Barceloneta beach (Gas jetty) Two firework displays will take place on the beach this year. de la Reina Maria Cristina This is one of the events that awakens the greatest expectation and draws the biggest crowd. sepTember 24 friday. this year. each with its own distinctive style.Fireworks Firework display friday. perfectly synchronised with music that. . filling the city’s sky with awesome forms and colours.

rock. Those seeking to revive the spirit of the traditional old festa major marquee should go to Plaça Sant Jaume.. are showcased at a festival whose goal is to discover new talent and detect new trends. both in Catalonia and internationally. . the American acts Aloe Blacc and Man Man and. Those who prefer jazz have a date with the Barcelona Jazz Orquestra and the youthful Sant Andreu Jazz Band in Plaça Catalunya.. sepTember 23 and 24 Various venues The latest bands to emerge on the indie scene. but also such outstanding international acts as the French duo Herman Düne. Mercè Music friday and saTurday. This year’s programme will feature not only some of the most popular Catalan groups. pop and electronica. world music. World music fans should check out fado artists like Cuca Roseta and the fusion of Aziz Sahmaoui in Avinguda de la Catedral. such as Antònia Font. All these sounds and more make up the festival soundtrack. flamenco. for rock. from the UK. don’t miss the live show featuring Sidonie and many other groups and singers at the Fòrum site. sepTember 23 and 24 Various venues Dance. jazz. Guillamino and Cuchillo. Portico Quartet and Zomby.Music BAM Festival friday and saTurday. pop. where they can dance to such groups as Orquestra Plateria and the Gracia Power rumba ensemble. Finally.

In this way. as a special guest. . from circus acts to variety theatre turns. in all its genres. festival-goers should not miss a visit to this venue. The Park of dance and Street Theatre saTurday and sunday. a huge travelling carillon from Douai in France. The venue will also centre particularly on dance. With or without the family. where they can enjoy a range of performances. revealing its nocturnal alter ego. light technology joins the party to produce one of the most attractive events on the programme. and will feature. then. the City Hall will become the “house of magic” for that is when a spectacular show featuring stunning projections will breathe life into the stone of the building.Street performances Projections onto the façade of the City Hall sepTember 22-25 Pl. de Sant Jaume At night. sepTember 24 and 25 Ciutadella Park One of the most popular parks in the city hosts a full programme of theatre and festive activities for all audiences. all with a large dose of humour. throughout La Mercè.

the castle cannon fire only laughter and good cheer.The Park of Light sepTember 22-25 Ciutadella Park At sunset. the park undergoes a radical change of scenery in order to host a series of shows in which light plays a key role. our guest city. this was a strategic point from which soldiers even bombed the city itself. The Great Circus at Montjuïc sepTember 24-26 Montjuïc Castle Once upon a time. are local performers. transformed by projections. . Don’t miss the dancers – many are from Saint Petersburg. and the central lake in the park. testifying to the good health of Catalan circus. Amongst the most exciting of these events this year is a version of the ballet Swan Lake. and this is the site of the finest circus acts on the Mercè programme. including several artistes from Saint Petersburg. which takes place in a waterfall. however. this year’s guest city. Today. whilst others.

we are visited by Saint Petersburg. Barcelona invites a different city from around the world to join in with the festivities in honour of its patron saint and. This year. whose enormous artistic wealth features particularly many outstanding circus and dance performers. By night. Russia’s second city. dance by the Mariinsky Theatre of Saint Petersburg. presenting their version of Swan Lake alongside several Catalan performers. Victor Savrasov’s unusual Tubo Transformer and the traditional folk group Barynya. MoNTJuïC CASTLe Visitors to Montjuïc Castle will enjoy an excellent taste of the circus talent to be found in Saint Petersburg. The circus programme at the castle venue also includes a superb selection of the finest artistes from Saint Petersburg. The Russian artist have taken over the park and Barcelona audiences can only applaud this happy invasion. . in doing so. including the most outstanding acrobats and tightrope walkers. CiuTAdeLLA PARk By day. to present its finest artists to Barcelona audiences. Absolutely not to be missed are the performances by Licedei. a theatre company founded by the great Slava Polunin that represents the very essence of that Russian city.The guest city Saint Petersburg: from Russia with Talent sepTember 22-25 Montjuïc Castle and Ciutadella Park Every year.

Many more activities are listed on the full programme for Barcelona’s festa major. whilst others will also organised activities that day or at other moments during the festivities. These include the following centres: CaixaForum Montjuïc Castle CCCB El Far Consortium CosmoCaixa Capitanía General – Palau de la Mercè Mercat de les Flors Antoni Tàpies Foundation MACBA MNAC Museum of the History of Barcelona (MUHBA) Music Museum Barbier-Mueller Museum Ceramic Museum Natural Science Museum Museum of the History of Catalonia Marès Museum Joan Antoni Samaranch Olympic and Sport Museum Biomedical Research Park Sagrada Familia These are just some of the events on the Mercè’11 programme. Please note! .Festive museums Anyone interested in visiting some of the city’s many museums are informed that admission to a good number of them will be free on September 24.

06 per minute. de Sant Jaume and Pl.Further information: — On Visit the following websites: www. de Catalunya .bcn. 93 317 14 16. Palau de la Virreina (Rambla.46.30 pm Information and Tourist Information Offices in — By telephone: 010: Barcelona Informació. 99).cat/barcelonacultura www. including VAT) Information adapted for the deaf and hard of hearing: send an SMS to tel. from 10 am to 8. 24 hours a day (cost of call: €0. charged by the second. plus €0. — At information offices: Tiquet Rambles.

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