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15 years of stories

Daniel Kessler (Interpol guitarist)

"Primavera Sound is one of those events that all musicians look forward to playing. It’s not just another festival. It’s a lasting experience for both festival-goer and performer.
It’s special for many reasons but it really begins with the care that the programmers put into building the overall event"

Barry Hogan & Deborah Higgins (founders of All Tomorrow's Parties)

"Over the past nine years, ATP have had the great honour of hosting a stage at Primavera Sound, an event that has grown into the most vital of all the festivals.

We knew the minute we met Gabi, Sonia, Pablo and Fra for the first time, they were cut from the same cloth and we bonded instantly over our shared passion for the same type of good music. They have been the most generous and supportive people we have come across in music, and regard them as part of our family.

The world needs more people like Primavera. They are as influential now as most bands that play for them and we would like to salute them for what they have achieved and here's to another fifteen years"

Todd Trainer (Shellac’s drummer)

"Primavera Sound has become the musical highlight of the year for me as a musician and a spectator. The location of the site itself is absolutely spectacular and comfortably accommodates all of the bands and fans alike. It is perfectly situated between the tranquil waters of the Mediterranean Sea and the electric excitement of the incredible city of Barcelona making it an ideal setting for one of the most unique festivals on the entire planet. Have a stroll along the astonishing seaside as the sun rises then go check out 25 of your all time favorite bands then stroll through the magnificent city as the sun sets and go check out 25 more of your all time favorite bands. Of course the icing on the cake is the diverse and interesting musical offerings year after year organized by the excellent always welcoming and wonderful host. Primavera Sound is world-class"

Bradford Cox (Deerhunter y Atlas Sound)

"Looking back on over a decade of touring the world with Deerhunter and alone as Atlas Sound, I have had the great fortune to play so many shows that it becomes a nebulous sort of blur.

This is never the case with Primavera. The years I've spent there are without a doubt the highlight of my career, and to be honest, my entire adult life. I remember every show I've seen with total clarity. If you had told me the kind of experiences I'd have while playing there when I was a kid messing around with a 4-track in the garage I would have fainted. It is there that I have experienced some of the most transcendental moments I've ever had on stage.

Primavera is where you rush around, lost in the music, trying to get from stage to stage to take in as much of the absolutely brilliant line-up as possible.

I have had so many dream-like experiences at Primavera, it is difficult to think of a specific experience that sums it up. I would say the one that comes to mind most is the year I watched Neil Young play an absolutely haunting set, climaxing with "Cortez the Killer," as the sun set on the ocean in a surreal haze. When I die and get to heaven I hope St. Peter is set up behind a folding table in the lobby of the Princess Hotel with a schedule and a wristband waiting for me.

There are never any bad vibes and everyone is treated like they really matter, everyone that runs this festival is a saint.

I love you the most Primavera, always!"

Santi Carrillo (editorial director Rockdelux)

"Why do I love Primavera Sound? Because it has always been a melting pot of excellent music: past and present, classical and contemporary, electronic and rock, folk and pop, American and European, radical and heterodox... Its line ups: lists of names some with a history and others with just their future to play with, a wide selection unconstrained by stylistic clichés that has gradually opened itself up to every corner of the world, enriching its musical vision and becoming a magnet for world music lovers.

I have hundreds of good memories as a spectator; it is impossible not to have been emotionally affected by so many extraordinary moments lived at the festival during these fifteen years. After a lot of thought about the best of the best, I have chosen one moment among thousands of possibilities: the meeting with (my idol) Billy Bragg dressed up as a bee after playing a concert for kids (together with Los Carradine), an anecdote like any other that is no more than the consequence of the thousands of tentacles extending from a festival that has not stopped reinventing itself since its inception"

David Gedge (The Wedding Present and Cinerama)

"Primavera Sound is the best festival in the world. That doesn’t even sound like a big claim to me any more because I’m so used to telling everyone exactly that. And I’ve been to a lot of festivals! What makes it different? The atmosphere, the people, the location, the weather and, above all… the music. Primavera always provides a brilliant selection of interesting artists... old and new, influential and challenging. And that’s why I go to Primavera every year, whether I am performing or not!"

Xavi Cervantes (editor of ARA)

"I saw her from a distance. A small figure dressed in white singing, “Let England Shake”. A crowd listening to the lament for all that we are still doing badly. In a Europe deep in crisis, PJ Harvey was a blurry angel reminding us of the horror. We welcome the rock star gathered in a place where there is no place for pain. Because that is what it is all about, celebrating euphoria surrounded by thousands of people. But it is also about something else.

There was a moment of silence while she explained that she had seen things that she would like to forget. It was whilst listening to “The words that maketh murder” that I felt the pain, the sadness, and moral ruin.

Everything became gloomy except that white figure that ordered me to feel that devastation. It was as if she was grabbing my heart and shaking it violently. She continued to dance and I understood that there was nothing to celebrate. And I was grateful for the rude awakening. The figure in white was pointing at the guilty parties. Dance, jump, laugh, but above all never forget. And for God’s sake wake the fuck up. That’s what that hazy angel, the most moving of killjoys brought to mind on that 28th May 2011 in the Parc del Fòrum"

J (Los Planetas)

“For me Primavera Sound is seeing Enrique Morente gobsmacked while watching Animal Collective and saying that what they were playing was just like “bulerías”. It is my annual rendezvous, to present every record and each new tour, to mingle with the audience enjoying the bands in the line up at each edition, bands that you cannot see anywhere else. If you ask me how many times we have played, I couldn’t answer you, but what I do know is that it is one of the best festivals in the world at which to see a concert by Los Planetas”

Christopher Kaskie (president of Pitchfork Media)

"Fifteen years of the Primavera Sound festival. Incredible. Pitchfork is grateful to have programmed a stage for the past seven years, but that first year of Primavera holds a very special place in my life. My daughter was born the summer before, and Primavera was her first music festival ever. She learned to walk in Barcelona, and her exposure to the festival set a very important precedent for her even if she didn't know it.

Over the years, she's grown to understand how Primavera's been a huge inspiration to her father and a showcase to the world. It's one of the best musical happenings on earth and one of the most well run and important festivals in history. As my daughter (specifically) grows alongside our involvement, it's now clear to her how beautiful and meaningful this festival is to me. The world is a better place with an event like this around, and a hearty congratulations to all involved getting it to where it is now"

Pepo Montsant (unconditional fan of the festival)

"It has been fifteen years and I still mark the Primavera Sound dates on the calendar. In fact it not only represents my yearly visit to the Fòrum, but also to Barcelona, as since 2007 I have been living in Costa Rica. So the festival is the high point of the holidays, the moment to see everything that is going on at home and to catch up with festival going friends.

My favourite concerts during these years of Primavera Sound have been The White Stripes under the pouring rain on the main stage of Poble Espanyol, the Pixies’ comeback in 2004, the first time I ever went to the stage in front of the sea to watch Why? at sunset or PJ Harvey presenting her latest album. Every year has had its moments, although sometimes I have trouble situating them on my festival time-line. I congratulate Primavera Sound on its fifteenth anniversary and for keeping the excitement of live music buzzing for us for such a long time"

Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth, Lee Ranaldo and The Dust)

"Primavera Sound has been one of the most consistently adventurous and nurturing festivals ever, and while it’s now grown to an unbelievable juggernaut where it seems like a thousand bands play each year, it’s never failed to balance the ‘big’ acts with smaller, interesting young acts that will become the future. I’ve now played the festival many times with Sonic Youth (memorably going onstage back to back with Neil Young one year, and also playing the first of our ‘Daydream Nation Revisited’ shows in 2007) and some of my solo projects, and it’s always one of the best festival experiences everywheregreat city, great music and good vibes. Happy 15th Anniversary Primavera, hope to see you again soon!"

Alex Julià (director)

"Music was the objective, meeting somebody was a possibility and taking them home was a goal. But I never imagined what would happen next. We remember our story every year, and with the passing of time it has become the most important story, as every year is another year together. Your memory plays tricks on you and I tell our kids a different version every time, as I actually don’t really remember much about the night that changed everything, I only remember that it was the last night of Primavera…"

Ben Gaffin (4AD, director of A&R)

"Primavera Sound may be the best festival in the world. I have countless amazing memories from the Parc del Fòrum: Watching Neil Young as the setting sun reflected off of the Mediterranean Sea, losing my head to a sinister late night Aphex Twin set, and soaking up Caetano Veloso's gentle croon on a flawless afternoon are just a few that first come to mind. But perhaps the best part of going to Primavera is sharing the incredible musical experience with great friends, new and old, who come from around the world to take part in this magical event"

Jordi Évole (journalist)

"I’m not going to lie. I don’t know 99% of the bands that play at Primavera Sound. So… why do you go? You ask yourselves. Actually I don’t know. I think that it falls on dates that are perfect for me: the end of the television season. And Primavera is one of those moments during which you are closing one file and opening another. Sometimes you don’t open or close anything. But you anticipate the excitement of the following day.

I suppose that the first time always leaves its mark. And at my first Primavera I saw The Cure from far. Almost like the soundtrack of that eternal night. Every time they put that festival bracelet on me I remember that concert. Thank God that man with an impossible hairstyle called Robert reminded us that Friday is a good day to fall in love. Or something like that… English is not my forte. And if it is a Primavera Friday so much the better"

Dan Snaith (Caribou and Daphni)

"I've always had an awesome time at Primavera both as a punter and as a performer we've had a couple of our best concerts there. It's a great festival situated in an amazing city. I can't wait for this year"

Ferran Mascarell (Cultural Counsellor)

"If Catalonia is a musically diverse country, a place of creation, promotion and international projection of music as an integral part of culture, Primavera Sound festival is a doorway open to innumerable notes and sounds, which promise good times. Good times that fill you with the energy needed to go from one stage to another, to let yourself get caught up in the rhythm, to be dazzled by the voices and seduced by the vibes. Good times…

Catalonia is best defined both by its powers of attraction and its inherent attractiveness, for artists from home and from abroad, the different styles of contemporary music, clear references, emerging artists, independent creators and performers. This year once again, on the Fòrum site, Primavera Sound attracts audiences from Barcelona, Catalonia, Europe and the rest of the world. Primavera Sound’s “Mediterranean spring” extends well beyond the other side of the Atlantic. I congratulate the organisers and I invite you to enjoy the good music, dreams, stories and experiences next to the sea once again this year"

Borja Prieto (from ESTA PASANDO)

"I always get strangely excited around Primavera Sound time. It’s happened before and will go on happening, despite my regrettably being in my forties. The truth is that nowadays we live in a continuous overdose of musical events, webs that are bursting with exclusives and thousands of festivals but my excitement never changes. There is something different about this one; I don’t know whether it is because it is urban, because of the setting, because of the friendship that I share with some of its creators. God knows what it is but there is something unique and I think I know what it is: the little bands. I, who am a great fan of new bands, those bands that aren’t any good anymore by the time they release their LP, find something akin to a sanctuary at Primavera Sound. It is where I find the weird new bands, bands that only the most obscure blogs talk about; it is like a huge shop window of unlimited surprises, the not so typical festival where you don’t see what you want to see but you see other things that you like ten times more, I like the fact that some time ago, when I was the director of a digital platform that none of you will remember now, so I am not even going to name it, the people of Primavera let me set up a salon where all the weirdest bands of Iberian peninsula played. Hundreds of brilliant bands played there: Emilio José, Aias, Mujeres, Javiera Mena, Kana Kapila, Ornamento y Delito, Lidia Damunt, Anntona, Klaus & Kinski, McEnroe, La Bien Querida, Manos de Topo, Tachenko… all of them before they had released very much. It was out of this world and I still can’t believe that they let me do it. Life has made me a little less delinquent and a little more serious and not long ago, when I set up my agency they agreed that I would set up the same salon on a bigger scale with a brand. We maintained the same spirit and bands such as Kokoscha, Los Ganglios, Sangre, Juventud Juché, M A J E S T A D, Murciano Total, Bananas, Perro… played there. It was brilliant too. I know there are thousands of reasons to go to a festival: the party, friends, the sun, drugs, the headliners, the newcomer bands of the moment… my main reasons are the small esoteric bands and how easy it is, I think that is why I like Primavera Sound so much. 4EVER Primavelier"

Dean Bein (Founder and director of the label True Panther)

"My first Primavera Sound festival was 2009. They were the first people to take a risk on booking a few of the still unknown artists on the label and a big group of us flew out. The first night we walked onto the festival grounds and into a blanket of sound coming from My Bloody Valentine’s stage. I saw some amazing sets, got in a political argument with Sonic Boom (one of my musical heroes) and walked home shoeless, by the beach, as the sun rose over a beautiful Barcelona day thinking the same thing I think now: this is the best festival I’ll ever go to.

The scale of Primavera has certainly changed, but the spirit feels the same, intimate and loving… curating classic artists alongside emerging new sounds, often times plopping them onto the biggest stage, with the most adoring audience the new artists have ever played. The bookings often seem fearless and forward thinking, and the environment and audience is incredible. I’ve seen some of the most magical sets of my life on Primavera’s stages (along with memorable meldovvns) and probably shortened my life by a few years from some of the ancillary excesses of the festival, and all of it is worth it. It’s without a doubt my favorite festival in the world and I hope to get to come back for at least another 15 years”

Abel Suárez (Dj Coco)

"2003, Poble Español. After a couple of crazy days behind the scenes at the festival and under torrential rain, I go on to the main stage and from the side watch some men dressed in 30s style setting up the equipment for The White Stripes, who then come on stage and give one of the best concerts I have ever seen. Before them Television, Sonic Youth and Mogwai, had played on the same stage, forty years of guitar history concentrated into one rainy Barcelona night and one of those moments that only the festival I work for can give me"