Airam.

Today is Maria’s birthday.  Twenty-five years old, a quarter of a century, congratulations….  It’s Thursday and I am writing to you from Tuscany, from a country house near the village of Volterra. Pablo, Alberto, Sònia and I came here with our families to spend a few days resting and recovering from the fatigue after the festival. This is something that we have been doing for a while now; we all get together and spend a few days far away from the noise. It is a good way of calming in-house tensions and of rebuilding the ties that have sometimes become “frayed” because of too much close contact during Primavera Sound. Almost every time a friend turns up, this year it was Sònia Domènech, deputy director of La Razón and close friend of all of us who work in this company. Together we went over results and exchanged ideas on how to face the future, on where to put a coma or where to put a dash, on what are the really important terms that need to be underlined and at what moment we need to know how t o read between the lines. Sitting at the table with quite a few bottles of Rosso de Montepulciano we debated the line of the next edition.  As we knew that this time we would have more work than usual on this trip, we got Mari to come with us to give us the tactical support that we would certainly need. She is a slight girl and she never shuts up, a fan of the festival and of it forums who started working with us almost a year ago to coordinate internal communication and logistics. As you all know, the forum of the festival is for us a second family and some of the people with whom we share the day to day in the office were “ recruited” from that community.  We like to be surrounded by people who live a breath “music” and who also give a critical perspective that after so many years on this side of the fence we can easily lose.

Well, once again the plan worked.  The food was excellent; the wine out of this world and the countryside was the perfect setting to make a series of decisions that I think will be very important in the development of the next editions.

We have talked a lot about our new location, what it should be like and what it should be in the future.  It won’t be like the English style festival in two cities at the same time, it will take place the week after the event in Barcelona and although it will have less stages (for the moment, the idea is that in the future it will have the same number), the programme will basically be the same.

We are trying to solve the problem of capacity in Barcelona by attracting part of our audience to that second capital which will allow us to keep growing.  Time will tell us if this measure has the desired effect but in the meantime we are very excited about this new adventure.  In the last couple of years we have had several proposals to do another PS in various European capitals but this is the only time that we have felt 100% sure that it could be successful.  Both the site and the contacts there are excellent and the support and implication from the public administration are very important.  Now all we have to do is get down to work to make this second event as relevant on the agenda as the current Primavera Sound

Finally, just to let you know that the official announcement of the new location will be at the beginning of next week and that one week later the VIP tickets for both events will go on sale.  The prices of the San Miguel Primavera Sound Barcelona will be the same as for the last edition and together with the first names for Primavera Club 2011 the combined PSound + Pclub full festival tickets will appear.

See you at the Fly me to the moon….

Gabi

 

 

 

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Newton’s third law.

Another festival, one year less of life, something like the equation on which to build the fundamental law of existence of somebody who has spent more years in than out. Truth is that this happens to someone who is after it, but it is not less truthful to say that it was impossible even for him to imagine reaching this point. Here, now and at this moment in time, it is difficult to measure success on the same scale as that teenager who in the mid nineties bought vinyl like there was no tomorrow. To decide whether this has landed on us or whether we have been chasing it, doesn’t bear thinking about anymore. What does it matter?

What is really happening here and now is that the lights have gone down again and that those last three days have snuffed away part of life, maybe the part between 56 and 59, or from 72 to 73, who knows. Three fucking days in which you put all your cards on the table…And what a fuck up, again!!!! And now what….smile and nod, again? Should we play Peter Pan again? No bloody way! Peter Pan doesn’t exist not even in Neverland.

I want to see my family

My wife and child waiting for me

I’ve got to go home

I’ve been so alone, you see

Gabi

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Aftermath

When we started this blog we started with the firm conviction that we would use this new tool of communication like a logbook for this edition of the festival.  A sort of diary that would document the day to day of an event that because of its idiosyncrasy really lent itself to this.  Since then we have tried to show, from behind the scenes, how the line up of a spectacular edition was decided, where we went and who we spoke to, what our current objectives were in order to later contrast them with the final result.  We have travelled half the world and have witnessed the efforts of hoards of freeloaders to get on board and at some moments we have come close to those intimate moments when it becomes almost impossible to distinguish between the person and the character.  But then along comes reality, sarcasm’s good friend, to show me that what we had been documenting for months was something like the story of the particularly difficult moment of my life I was living.  A crossroads where my past converged with a new uncertain future that lies ahead.  And it is precisely because rereading some of the lines I had written which were explicit and painfully premonitory that I had to step back from this blog and forget this self imposed obligation of documenting our journey for a while.

Now it seems that a new day is dawning and that maybe it is not too late to start again.  Maybe the person behind the character will help him to write the happy ending to such a surprising script.  Perhaps it is true that all’s well that ends well and for that reason I want to make an effort so that in the future we will be able to see this adventure as something positive.  Maybe the best purgatory is getting back to normal and what we need to talk about now are the changes.

Changes all round.  These weeks of inactivity on the blog greatly contrast with the incessant movement in our office.  The days have become longer and right about now we are reaching our maximum speed.  Lately, several work teams have made superhuman efforts to make some of the most surprising changes that we will introduce in this edition a reality.

On the one hand a general rearrangement of the stages has gone one step further thanks to the negotiations with the new managing team of the Parc del Fórum we have obtained the right to use one of the areas that was most popular with the festival goers.  Past the deadline and running out of time, we decided to move the Pitchfork stage to the area where the Vice stage was in 2008.  Back to one of the spaces that had been the most popular with the crowd at that edition.

There will also be noticeable improvements in the communication between stages, which was a really priority and the solution of our production team to link the Fórum space to the platform in the south of the site will almost certainly be one of the most talked about innovations.  There will also be new and improved food areas and areas in which to relax, as well as a new wireless cinema and several interactive spaces.

But without a doubt the most impressive innovation and the area where the activity is most surprising is in the design of the new payment system at the bars.  The famous PS card will now also be a money card and for the first time in our history the user will have the option to recharge the card from their home and so avoid any queues on the site.  To do this it will be necessary to personalise the card through a very simple process which will allow you to replace it in case of loss and will also act as an electronic record which will give you numerous advantages in the future, like preference when buying VIP festival tickets.

All of these changes are marking the path of the future editions, making PS a festival with all the necessary commodities to allow the crowd to enjoy live music in optimum conditions.  This may seem like all talk no action now, but in a few weeks they will be confirmed by reality.

Anyway, here we are with our hearts beating hard faced with the new challenges of this edition.  Together and particularly thanks to your help I am sure that the two thousand and eleventh edition will be a historical one and one which people will talk about a lot and in glowing terms in the future.  Today more than ever Primavera Sound is as full of life as the season whose name it bears.

Gabi

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New Incorporations For San Miguel Primavera Sound 2011

The next edition of San Miguel Primavera Sound will start in a few weeks and the list of confirmed artists for the Parc del Fòrum is now complete and the names and details are as follows.

Bradford Cox’s band Deerhunter will be one of the attractions of the festival after their recent successful tour of our country, with the acclaimed “Halcyon Digest”. The hypnotic rock of Moon Duo, which is on the lips of everyone because of the release of “Mazes”, the tribal psychedelia of Prince Rama and the home grown artists Marina Gallardo, Za! and La Débil completes the list of the performances that will take place on the main stages of the Parc del Fòrum.

There are also already details about the programme of some of the activities that will take place during the week prior and parallel to the main event, like Primavera al Parc which will be on the 27th, 28th and 29th May. Sonny & The Sunsets, Comet Gain, The Fresh & Onlys, Tennis, Cloud Nothings, Autolux, Espaldamaceta & Caballo, Ducktails, Dan Melchior und Das Menace, Las Robertas, Espanto, Inspira and Dotore are some of the bands that will play on the two stages of the Parc Central del Poblenou.

Likewise and as usual, the cycle Primavera als Clubs will flood some of the cities venues with music on the 23rd and 24th May. On Monday 23rd in La [2] de Apolo the label BCore will present Betunizer, Capsula and Bullitt and upstairs in the Apolo Acuarela will bring us Darren Hayman & The Secondary Modern, The Bitter Springs and Nacho Umbert & La Compañía. On Tuesday 24th the second room of the Apolo will put on a showcase from Germany of Discorporate/ Hack with the appearance of Dead Western, Capillary Action, Schnaak and special guests. There will soon be news about the rest of the activities in this cycle.

The children’s activity minimúsica will expand this year with a programme divided between the Parc del Fòrum and the Parc Central del Poblenou. The artists who will participate are: Mujeres, Me And The Bees, Za!, Viva Ben-Hur, Anímic, Manos De Topo, Evripidis And His Tragedies, Internet2 and Proyecto Personal.

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Back Again

 

I arrived in NY, my transfer flight was changed, later they cancelled it, I got a place on a small plane, they wouldn’t let me into Canada nor would they let me out of Toronto airport; my suitcase was lost, they found it a day later but my hotel turned it away, in short sleeves in the snow in Toronto, sunshine in Las Vegas, the mother of hangovers, my laptop was stolen, we flew to Austin, Westlake, Guadalupe Plata, Mujeres, Lüger, I got thrown out of my own showcase by the bouncers, more hangover, Twin Shadow, Odd Future, people, lots of people, more people, XL, Beggars Banquet, Pitchfork, margaritas and a beaver hat!, Sunday to Frankfurt via Houston, and from there, at last, to Barcelona.  Never again.

I could explain my journey to North America in many ways.  This is one of them.  Luckily we are no longer at school and nobody has asked me to write a five hundred word-essay.  This is all that is left after eleven exhausting days of listening to background music, watching Fra messing around and not seeing one single concert in proper conditions.

On a positive note my enthusiasm for programming more bands has vanished and now I am getting ready to look for a more useful occupation within the festival.

In the next post on this blog I will tell you about some of the new things in the next edition.  As well as going over some bands that we still have to announce, I would like to write about the new spaces, some ideas on how to improve the services and maybe some future projects.

Getting back to focusing on the day to day of Primavera, which is why this page was started.

Gabi

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SXSW

Last week we announced that San Miguel Primavera Sound would put on two showcases at the South By Southwest festival that has been held every month of March in Austin, Texas for the last 25 years. More than a festival SXSW is a fair for professionals (with all the usual trimmings of these events: stands, talks, etc) in which with the passing of the years concerts, concerts and more concerts have been added until it has become what it is today: a week of parties and endless concerts.

The, shall we call it; artistic part of the festival is divided into two. The official part, that is the concerts and showcases programmed from 8pm until 2 am, and the unofficial, that takes place mainly from midday until the start of the official one, although recently it takes place at any time of the day or night. Well, normally until 2am, because although there are parties from that time, and there are, parties at that time are complicated (let’s just say that the authorities of that State are not very receptive to early hour excesses.

For many of the professionals who come from all over the world, the event SXSW is more like a week of margaritas, free beer and sun (rare in Europe in March), but for us, since the first time we went in 2007, it is the perfect opportunity to build the line up of our festival. Almost 2000 bands, most of which are novice with only one record out in our eyes is irresistible, as it gives us the opportunity to see for ourselves, in advance what the artists who come to San Miguel Primavera Sound are like live, in advance. The only handicap is the date, it is too close to May, which makes it impossible for bands “discovered” at SXSW to be very present in the line up of that same year. However, we always find room for them in San Miguel Primavera Club or in the next edition of the festival.

We have come back from our trips to Austin with bands, which many times, have travelled to Europe for the first time to be with us. Ezra Furman & The Harpoons, Deerhunter, Beirut, Fucked Up, A Place To Bury Strangers, Man Man, Elvis Perkins, Port O´Brien, Voxtrot, Sleepy Sun, Marnie Stern, The Soft Pack, Vivian Girls, Ponytail and Crystal Antlers are some of the bands that we were able to see before many people in those March days and who have played on one of the stages of the Parc del Fòrum. But at South By Southwest it is also possible to end up at the end of the night in the suburbs of the city where Les Savy Fav and Black Lips are playing for 50 people, or to see the first concert of Mary Weiss together with Reigning Sound in a tiny venue.

This year we are going back with two showcases, after a first incursion in 2008 in collaboration with Catalan Music when El Guincho played (these concerts were crucial to launch him into the world scene), Tokyo Sex Destruction, Les Aus, Veracruz and Mazoni together with the guest performances by The Extraordinaires and Fuck Buttons.

On Wednesday 16th March in the Nuvola club we will have The Baseball Project (with members of REM The Dream Syndicate and Young Fresh Fellows), The Soft Moon, Mujeres, Lüger, Guadalupe Plata and the Porto Rican Dávila 666. The next day in the same venue it will be the turn of Edwyn Collins (on what will be his first tour of The USA), the Canadians Suuns, Tokyo Sex Destruction, Za!, Capsula and the Costa Ricans, Las Robertas.

Abel Suárez

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Solitude

The month of March is the starting signal for those of us who programme the PS.  The anxiety and rush to close this year’s edition have been and gone, the line up has been revealed and we have taken on board both the positive and the negative reviews.  And this is the time of year when I hang around the office lost in thought.  Should I sit here? Move over a bit?….

I move from table to table and note that their occupants get uncomfortable, what does he want now?  What clever idea is he going to come up with? “ Excuse me Gabi, could you move out of the way please?” …..

On my desk, work is piling up.  I have been asked to write a prologue to a book by Paco and Manolo, to check to information about the bands that will play in the underground and to look at some notes on the Deerhunter tour.

Primavera Club is miles away….What does the programmer do when he isn’t programming?  I interfere in the production meetings: what about a new stage in the port?  A new pay system? Lets move the fair here and put a new area of toilets there.  I say yes to everything, it seems that they have everything under control and that if I open my mouth they will see cobwebs.  I feel so useless….

Suddenly, some good news, “ You and Fra have been invited to give talks at the Canadian Music Week, do you want to go?  Yes, please, that’s my ticket out of here, to get on the road again.  A few days in Toronto watching who knows how many bands, a plane to Las Vegas, another couple of concerts and from there to Austin, just in time to witness, with a margarita in my hand, the explosion of senses that the SXSW is.

Just then, like every year, everything will start making sense again and all my ideas will become so clear that it will be as if they always were.  “ No, Gabi, no, that is not the way to go”

Saved by the bell.

Gabi

 

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Festivals

In the last year Fra, Gabi, Pablo and I have been going to international meetings of professionals non-stop. We have been invited to numerous round tables, debates and conferences to talk about our model of festival or to debate about the future of festivals.  Or sometimes festivals or music export offices from different countries have invited us to see the local artists and on those occasions Beba, Xavi or Joan have covered for us.  Something is going on we haven’t stopped, in only a year one or other of us has been at Popkomm/Berlin Music Week (Berlin), c/o Pop (Cologne), Eurosonic (Groningen), Reeperbahn (Hamburg), Feira Musical Brasil (Belo Horizonte), Don’t Panic, We’re from Poland (Warsaw), HWCH Industry (Dublin), CMJ (New York) and of course at ATP, and in the next months we will travel to the Canadian Music Week and to SXSW with whom we have established a collaboration of exchanges and where Fra will participate in a round table about festivals.  Even our main sponsor has had to go to Midem to explain the model of sponsorship that they have established with San Miguel Primavera Sound.  Apparently our festival is surprising people and generating a lot of interest in the industrial sector of music.  Everyone wants to know what is happening in Barcelona and why it is that suddenly San Miguel Primavera Sound is on the lips of everybody.  We are not letting it go to our heads, we have grown and learnt with time and it is rewarding when people you looked up to want to meet you and collaborate with you. When the creative director of SXSW asks for your collaboration saying, “ now in Spain you are setting the pace” or when the people from Coachella want to meet those they consider as their European counterpart you can only feel proud of the work you have done.

At the round table that I was invited to at Eurosonic about “the future of festivals” I realised that we are the exception because we are romantic.  From the very beginning the debate centred around how technology was going to modify festivals, above all what social networking tools Internet offers and how, in a festival which is in itself a means of socialisation, these tools can be used….It’s an obsession!  I don’t think that all the future of festivals lies in their becoming more technological, that will happen, and we will do everything that we can, but I had imagined talking about other more creative possibilities in the line of what ATP is doing, models which we talk about when we let our minds run free…..that I am not going to reveal here, as I know our competition reads us!!

Talking about the future of festivals shouldn’t be about technology and how it will be present in a festival, this will happen, progressively festivals will adapt technically and economically but it shouldn’t be more than a tool that we can use and it can’t be the protagonist, the spirit of a festival cannot change because of technological advances.

I like watching concerts alone, in the middle of the crowd, losing myself in the music whilst watching the performance and ….I hate it when somebody talks to me when I am watching a concert! (Be warned if you see me in the middle of the crowd, don’t talk to me, you will only get monosyllabic answers and a look that says, “Come on man! Can’t you see what is going on? Watch the concert- leave me alone!!).

In short, the formula is so simple that nobody sees it, it hasn’t changed at all and as for the essence, nothing will change only the appearance, but we still enjoy live music and will carry on doing so, like they did centuries ago…(amplified though).

Alberto Guijarro

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PJ HARVEY, SUFJAN STEVENS, INTERPOL AND P.I.L., AMONG THE NEW CONFIRMATIONS OF SAN MIGUEL PRIMAVERA SOUND 2011

San Miguel Primavera Sound presents an extensive list of artists who will play on the eight stages in the Parc del Fòrum during the last weekend of May.

PJ Harvey presenting her new album “Let England Shake”, Sufjan Stevens’ new show, the darkness of the New Yorkers Interpol and the post-punk of John Lydon P.I.L. (Public Image Limited), the terrorists of sound Einstürzende Neubauten, the master of instrumental hip-hop DJ Shadow and the ubiquitous M.Ward, really stand out.

In the music made in Spain there are two clear focuses of attention: the reunion of the band from Asturias Nosoträsh playing their record “Popemas” and a special show by El Guincho, both of which will play with special guests at the festival.

CONFIRMED ARTISTS San Miguel Primavera Sound 2011: Aias, Ainara LeGardon, The Album Leaf, Animal Collective, The Annuals, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Arto Lindsay, Autolux, Avi Buffalo, Baths, Battles, Belle & Sebastian, Berlinetta, Big Boi, The Black Angels, Blank Dogs, BMX Bandits, Caribou, Carte Blanche, Caspa, Cloud Nothings, Comet Gain, Connan Mockasin, Cults, Cuzo + Damo Suzuki, Dan Melchior und Das Menace, Darkstar, Das Racist, Deakin, Dean Wareham plays Galaxie 500, Del Rey, DJ Shadow, DM Stith, Ducktails, Dúo Cobra, Echo & The Bunnymen performing Heaven Up Here & Crocodiles, Einstürzende Neubauten, El Guincho, El Mató A Un Policía Motorizado, Emeralds, Explosions In The Sky, Factory Floor, Field Music, The Fiery Furnaces, The Flaming Lips, Fleet Foxes, The Fresh & Onlys, Games, Gang Gang Dance, Girl Talk, Glasser, Glenn Branca Ensemble, Gold Panda, Gonjasufi, Grinderman, Half Japanese, Holy Ghost!, Incarnations, Interpol, Islet, James Blake, Jamie XX, John Cale & Band + Orchestra perform PARIS 1919 live, John Talabot, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Julia Kent, Julian Lynch, Kode9 And The Space Ape + Kode9 Burial Set, Kokoshca, Kurt Vile & The Violators, La Célula Durmiente, Las Robertas, Les Aus, Lichens, Lindstrom, Low, Lüger, M. Ward, Male Bonding, Matthew Dear Live, Me And The Bees, Mercury Rev perform Deserter’s Songs, Mogwai, Money Mark, The Monochrome Set, My Teenage Stride, The National, Nisennenmondai, Nosoträsh “Popemas”, Odd Future, Of Montreal, Oneohtrix Point Never, Ornamento Y Delito, P.I.L. (Public Image Limited), Papas Fritas, Pere Ubu plays “The Annotated Modern Dance”, Perfume Genius, Phosphorescent, Pissed Jeans, PJ Harvey, Pulp, Rubik, Salem, Seefeel, Shellac, Simian Mobile Disco, The Soft Moon, Sonny & The Sunsets, Sufjan Stevens, Suicide, The Suicide Of Western Culture, Suuns, Swans, The Tallest Man On Earth, Tennis, Thelematicos, Toundra, Triángulo De Amor Bizarro, tUnE-yArDs, Twin Shadow, Ty Segall, The Vaccines, The Walkmen, Warpaint, Wolf People, Yuck.

 

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Music

Making the most of the fact that I had been invited to a conference about the future of festivals in this new musical era I travelled from Mexico to Costa Rica to visit some friends in the South Caribbean part of the country

Pepo and Sònia left everything to pursue their dream of opening a small eco-lodge in the Costa Rican paradise.  The Kulula Lodge is near Puerto Viejo, a small quaint village which lives on the harvest of cacao and that a few years ago reinvented itself to attract a demanding tourism that was looking for peace in one of the last unspoilt places of the Caribbean.

It was not the first time that I had visited them and they already knew since my last stay that I wanted to witness an authentic performance of Calypso music.  My curiosity had led me to the trail of Walter Ferguson, a living myth of this type of music born in Panama but settled since his childhood in the neighbouring village of Cahuita.  Despite Pepo’s attempts we had to give up the idea of interviewing him and had to accept the fact that we would once again only be able to see some concerts by local young reggae bands. That’s why it was a really pleasant surprise when by chance we were able to see a spontaneous session of calypso in the fisherman’s village of Manzanillo, very close to the border with Panama.  The impromptu band was playing odd metal drums, made from paint tins and a sort of two-stringed double bass that had a very peculiar sound.  They were accompanied by a couple of guitars and a sort of fanfare that sounded like a carnival troupe.  The songs were sung in Patois, a mixture of English and African, which is very typical in the Caribbean and varies from country to country. Speaking to the musicians later they told me loads of anecdotes about the evolution of this style and how little by little they were losing ground to the new rhythms coming from the north.

When we got back to the hotel I couldn’t stop thinking about how privileged I felt about having witnessed a tradition that will soon perhaps completely disappear.  This loss will make us a little poorer and a lot unhappier because without it we will be losing a big part of the authenticity of true art, the one that is born from the need to be narrated

In Primavera Sound we cannot include all the voices that make music an outstanding element in human communication.  It’s impossible.  We can however cultivate the love we feel for this essential part of our lives.  For this reason we think that we must really make an effort to show, year after year, that a festival can be more than a meeting of trendy bands.  That an event of these characteristics should really be a meeting point for people who love music directed by people who feel it in the same way.

I also wanted to let you know that in the first week of February we will finally reveal the line up of the next edition.  A day that we hope will be special for all those people.  For us after a year of work, I am sure it will be.

Gabi

 

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