Beautiful, buzzy and endlessly chic, Barcelona is a music lover’s dream, with its extravagant concert halls, verdant parks and romantic little bars, all perfect venues for the amazing array of tuneful events and festivals that keep the city awash in rhythmic romance and foot-stomping exuberance throughout the year.
Photo licensed under the Creative Commons, created by Arek Krupiński
Experience the mesmerizing magic of exquisite classical finger picking, cool contemporary strums and sizzling rock-n-roll riffs at Barcelona’s internationally renowned Guitar Festival. Drawing artists from around the world, vibrant venues range from spacious concert halls to intimate bars to the lively streets themselves. The exciting, eclectic entertainment runs from the beginning of March through the end of May, bringing passionate Catalan ballads, dreamy folk tunes and wild-hearted rock anthems to bohemian Barcelona’s buzzy springtime.
Seven thematic categories encompass such genres traditional Catalan singers, indie groups, superstars and cover bands. Founded in 1990, this annual extravaganza grows wildly each year, bringing the best of folk, classical, jazz and reggae tunes to such city landmarks as the Palau de la Música, the Sala Bikini, the Cinema Coliseum and even City Hall. Through the years, performers have included Judy Collins, Chuck Leob, the Stanley Clarke Band, the Waterboys and the Mothers of Invention.
With a dazzling array of experimental and electronic music, Sonar lights up the city for three blazingly exciting days and nights in June, with concerts, exhibitions, conferences and even a special, splashy kids’ festival. Now a legendary meeting arena for music lovers and industry movers and shakers from around the world, Sonar is hip, happening and blazingly hot. Lovers of progressive sounds will relish performances by the newest artists, while kids of all ages thrill to amazing multimedia art presentations, wild electronic music and rockin’ DJ sessions. Drawing over 80,000 visitors to the city, Sonar’s performers have included Magneticman, Underworld, Die Antwoord, Shackleton and Little Dragon.
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Divided into daytime and after-dark sections, the festival’s Sonar by Day shines the spotlight on up-and-coming newbies in smashing concerts and showcases throughout the city. After sundown, Sonar by Night fires up the sultry summer darkness with extravagantly presented, super-sizzling shows by such major international stars as The Roots, Hot Chip, Richie Hawton and Fatboy Slim. Also providing perfect family entertainment, Sonar Kids brims with wildly creative and festively fun tune-themed activities for children. Such avant-garde performers as Papa Topo, Polock and DJ Gilles Peterson get the crowd singing along, while Broda’s Company gives a great interactive show of hip-hop and urban dance.
Elegant and sophisticated, winter’s enchanting Mil-leni Festival brings a series of extravagantly lovely one-night performances by stars of opera, flamenco and jazz to some of the most opulent venues in the city. Such mega-wattage superstars as Philip Glass, Las Migas and Dianne Reeves step onto the stage at L’Auditori, the Gran Teatre del Liceu and the Palau de la Música.
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Experience the passion of flamenco, the soaring beauty of the world’s purest soprano voices and the smoky romance of jazz in some of the most entrancing music halls in the world. Russian Red, Joss Stone, Fangoria and Marlango are just a few of the acclaimed artists to grace the sophisticated venues of Mil-leni, now in its eleventh year. One of the most prestigious music festivals in Europe, Mil-leni runs from January through April.
If you’re planning on travelling to Madrid during one of these or any of the other popular festivals, make sure you start planning and booking your flights and accommodation as well in advance as possible, it’s not uncommon for local businesses to hike up the prices to take advantage of all the last minute travellers who have no alternative but to pay the inflated prices.