f e s t i v a l o f
b a r c e l o n a
SEPTEMBER 22 TO 25
gunpowder, street theatre,
circus, dance, music… Just mix
them all together, stir, and
you have the festive cocktail
that is being served up in
Getting the party started
Thursday, sepTember 22 / 7.45 pm
Pl. de Sant Jaume
Those who want to experience the festival from the very start and, by the by, get a live taste of Barcelona traditional imagery, should come to Plaça de Sant Jaume. There you will find the city’s gegants, giants, along with the Àliga, Víbria, the Bou, the Mulassa... ready to perform their traditional dances, some accompanied by fireworks, to music played by the Ministrils del Camí Ral. This ensemble, which performs only once a year, is formed by some forty musicians, all playing traditional Catalan instruments: the gralla, the tarota, the flabiol the tabal, and so on. Pure tradition.
A little bit of history
Festa major matinee
saTurday, sepTember 24 / 8.30 am
Pl. de la Mercè, Pl. de la Catedral and Pl. Sant Jaume
The traditional festivity takes to the squares and narrow streets of the Gothic Quarter. A morning in this quarter during La Mercè leads festival-goers to the very heart of Catalan tradition.
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, awakening the cityfolk and inviting them to join in with the celebrations.
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. These traditional characters are a reminder of the bandoleers who once rendered homage to the patron saint by firing their guns.
A date with Barcelona’s tallest citizens… and its shortest. On the morn-ing of September 24, Plaça de Sant Jaume is packed, not only to see the gegants dance, but also to greet the capgrossos that accompany them and form an essential part of La Mercè.
CoMiTivA de AuToRidAdeS
and balls de bastons
Sardanes and castells are two well-known ingredients of Catalan popu-lar tradition. However, to see them performed live is always a surprise, particularly in the latter case, in which different colles or groups compete to see who can build the best human tower or pyramid in an absolutely thrilling spectacle.
saTurday, sepTember 24 / 12.30 pm — Pl. de Sant Jaume
When the city’s gegants and the Àliga have performed their dances out-side the City Hall, the colles or casteller groups of Barcelona enter Plaça Sant Jaume to give an exhibition. This year, we welcome a new colla, dem-onstrating that the casteller tradition is more alive than ever in our city.
CASTeLLS dAY WiTH GueST CoLLeS
sunday, sepTember 25 / 12 moon — Pl. de Sant Jaume
As well as themselves giving an exhibition of their skills to mark the feast of their patron saint, the city’s castellers also invite the best colles from all over Catalonia to share in this festive performance. As a result, two top ensembles will perform on Sunday, September 25: the Minyons de Terrassa and the Castellers de Vilafranca.
sunday, sepTember 25 / 11 am
Pl. del Rei (11 am) and Pl. de la Mercè (1 pm)
Two squares in old Barcelona host the great festivity staged by the local groups of bastoners, performing traditional dances that are an essential element in the festivities for La Mercè.
saTurday, sepTember 24 / 19 pm — Pl. de la Mercè
sunday, sepTember 25 / 11 am — Av. de la Catedral
The competition for sardana groups has taken place regularly since 1950, bringing together ensembles from Barcelona and guest groups from all over Catalonia. At the end of this year’s event, the new sardana Bicicleta,
cullera, poma will be performed for the first time.
sunday, sepTember 25 / 6 pm — Pl. de Sant Jaume
Sardanes by the Cobla Nova del Vallès
La Mercè Cavalcade
saTurday, sepTember 24 / 6 pm
C. de Gravina, C. de Pelai, Pl. de Catalunya, Rambla, C. de Ferran, Pl. de Sant Jaume, C. de Jaume I, Via Laietana and Pl. 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. 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.
Popular cultureDracs, gegants and fire beasts are the stars
amongst Barcelona’s mythical festive characters. To meet them and other leading characters, the best thing is to attend one of the following events:
sepTember 17-25, from 10 am To 8.30 pm
eXHiBiTioN oF THe GeGANTS oF BARCeLoNA
sepTember 12-23, from 10 am To 8 pm
Pati Manning, Casa de Caritat (C. de Montalegre, 7)
eXHiBiTioN oF dRACS ANd FiRe BeASTS
sepTember 17-23, from 10 am To 8 pm
Vestibule, Barcelona City Hall (Pl. de Sant Jaume)
sunday, sepTember 25 / 6.30 pm
From C. de Joan Massana to Pl. Antonio Maura, passing through Via Laietana
Fire and gunpowder are essential elements in Barcelona’s festa major, particularly during the famous Correfoc. Everyone wants to take part in this spectacle, even younger children. So that they can do so without danger, every year a family version of this great festival of fire takes place, using lower-intensity fireworks. This scaled-down version is the best way for young participants to get their first taste of what is an abso-lutely Mediterranean celebration.
sunday, sepTember 25 / 8.30 pm
Via Laietana /Av. de la Catedrall
sunday, sepTember 25 / 8.30 pm
Pl. de Antonio Maura, Via Laietana, Pl. de Antonio López and the Consulat del Mar
The beasts from hell have been released and, accompanied by the devils, are ready to bathe the city streets in fire. Although this is an outstand-ing event on the traditional Mercè programme of activities, contrary to what it might seem, this is not an ancestral celebration, but an invention that dates to the restoration of democracy, one that has become popu-lar all over Catalonia and was even seen on the silver screen thanks to Woody Allen. Dragons breathing smoke from their mouths, monsters like
Tarasca, the Mulassa and the Víbria, a dragon with a woman’s breasts a
snake’s tail; these are just some of the main characters in this awe-in-spiring spectacle. Do you dare come and meet them?
Fun without dangerThere is not doubt that the Correfoc is
friday, sepTember 23 and saTurday, sepTember 24 / 10 pm
Barceloneta beach (Gas jetty)
Two firework displays will take place on the beach this year, filling the city’s sky with awesome forms and colours. These shows will presented by two companies devoted to creating elegant spectacles of fire and gun-powder, each with its own distinctive style.
friday, sepTember 23
LeS ARTiSANS du SPeCTACLe (FRANCe)
saTurday, sepTember 24
PiRoTeCNiA vuLCANo (MAdRid)
sunday, sepTember 25 / 10 pm
Av. de la Reina Maria Cristina
friday and saTurday, sepTember 23 and 24 Various venues
The latest bands to emerge on the indie scene, both in Catalonia and in-ternationally, are showcased at a festival whose goal is to discover new talent and detect new trends. This year’s programme will feature not only some of the most popular Catalan groups, such as Antònia Font, Guillamino and Cuchillo, but also such outstanding international acts as the French duo Herman Düne, the American acts Aloe Blacc and Man Man and, from the UK, Portico Quartet and Zomby.
friday and saTurday, sepTember 23 and 24 Various venues
Projections onto the
façade of the City Hall
Pl. de Sant Jaume
At night, throughout La Mercè, the City Hall will become the “house of magic” for that is when a spectacular show featuring stunning projec-tions will breathe life into the stone of the building, revealing its noctur-nal alter ego. In this way, then, light technology joins the party to pro-duce one of the most attractive events on the programme.
The Park of dance
and Street Theatre
saTurday and sunday, sepTember 24 and 25
The Park of Light
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. Amongst the most excit-ing of these events this year is a version of the ballet Swan Lake, which
takes place in a waterfall, transformed by projections, and the central lake in the park. Don’t miss the dancers – many are from Saint
Peters-burg, our guest city.
The Great Circus at Montjuïc
The guest city
from Russia with Talent
Montjuïc Castle and Ciutadella Park
Every year, Barcelona invites a different city from around the world to join in with the festivities in honour of its patron saint and, in doing so, to present its finest artists to Barcelona audiences. This year, we are vis-ited by Saint Petersburg, Russia’s second city, whose enormous artistic wealth features particularly many outstanding circus and dance per-formers.
Visitors to Montjuïc Castle will enjoy an excellent taste of the circus tal-ent to be found in Saint Petersburg. 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 circus programme at the castle venue also includes a superb selection of the finest artistes from Saint Petersburg, including the most outstand-ing acrobats and tightrope walkers.
Anyone interested in visiting some of the city’s many museums are in-formed that admission to a good number of them will be free on Septem-ber 24, 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
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
— On Internet. Visit the following websites:
— By telephone:
010: Barcelona Informació, 24 hours a day
(cost of call: €0.46, plus €0.06 per minute, charged by the second, including VAT)
Information adapted for the deaf and hard of hearing: send an SMS to tel. 93 317 14 16.
— At information offices:
Tiquet Rambles, Palau de la Virreina (Rambla, 99), from 10 am to 8.30 pm