Primavera Sound is fast becoming one of Barcelona's most popular music festivals. It has a growing reputation for offering one of the most innovative and forward-thinking line-ups in Europe. This is a festival for true music aficionados.
I have attended Primavera Sound for the last three years running and have decided that it's about time that somebody provided answers to all of the practical questions relating to the festival. If you're coming to Primavera, it's useful to get clued up on the basics before you arrive. There's nothing worse than standing in a ticket queue for an hour whilst your favourite band are playing, before being told that you were in the wrong queue all along!
This page will provide a general overview to Primavera Sound Music Festival, with news on the line-up, advice on how and where to buy tickets, how to get to and from the Primavera Sound site, accommodation information and some tips on where to eat.
As you can probably guess by Primavera's location - there's not a field in sight at this festival. It is located in a purpose built outdoor area called the Forum. This seaside site was originally built for an international convention - the Universal Forum of Cultures. It is a large outdoor space with concrete floors and large auditorium areas - perfect for a festival with no mud and clear views of the bands. There is no camping at Primavera, so you will need to find accommodation elsewhere in Barcelona.
Date: 30 May 2018 - 03 June 2018
For the full festival line-up, check the Official Primavera Sound Website.
This is the full ticket and grants you access to all events during the whole weekend.
Tickets for the festival are available on the phone or online. Primavera Sound sell the tickets through various ticket outlets. It is worth noting that most outlets add a booking fee to the price of the tickets and these vary depending on which outlets you get your tickets from.
For more information regarding how to purchase tickets for Primavera Sound. Check the Official Primavera Sound website.
Weekend Pass: €180.00
Primavera Sound is located in an area called the 'Forum'. The most distinguishing feature of the area is the famous blue building called 'Barcelona Fórum' that sits at the heart of the area. You cannot miss it - it is designed to look like a large sponge and is bright blue with mirrored sections.
If you are a truly dedicated Primavera Sound fan you may wish to stay at one of the hotels that are located right next to the festival site (see below for more details). However, it is worth remembering that the festival site is a 50 minute walk from the city centre so if you stay in one of these hotels you may not get to see much of Barcelona. However, whilst waiting for the festival to start you will be perfectly located to hit the beach.
Buses to Primavera
There is a regular bus service that runs from the centre of Barcelona to the Forum. However it is worth noting the operating hours this bus service. Therefore, this is the best bus to catch if you are heading to the festival to check out some of the bands who are playing during the day. The bus travels from Zona Universitaria through town. It is available every 6-12 minutes during its operating hours.
Buses to Primavera Sound
Operating hours: 06:30 - 23:15
Bus line to and from Forum to Barcelona Centre:
Click on the bus route link to see the route.
Luckily, there is a metro station close to the festival site. On leaving the metro you will not find it hard to figure out where you are going - simply follow the crowds towards the big bright blue building.
On Saturday there is a continuous service, but on Thursday and Friday there is a break in service. When the metro has stopped running it is relatively easy to catch a bus from outside the festival site (see below).
Thursday: 05:00 - 00:00 Midnight
Friday: 05:00 - 02:00
You can see the metro operating hours on our Barcelona Metro page.
Metro: El Maresme Fórum (Yellow Line, L4)
There is a tram stop that is located right outside the forum site. This is on T4 of the tram line. Depending on where you are staying this could be a convenient way to get to and from the festival.
Tram Last Service
Thursday: 00:00 Midnight
Friday and Saturday: 05:00
For a full guide to the tram service in Barcelona, see our El Tram guide. Here you will be able to find links to the tram stops and timetables, plus information on how and where to buy tickets.
A taxi from Barcelona city centre (Plaza Catalunya) to the festival site will probably take about 20 minutes and cost around €20.00. This is a viable option if you are in a larger group and do not fancy the hassle of using public transport.
On leaving Primavera Sound you may not find it easy to get a taxi. Depending on what time you leave the festival, there are likely to be a lot of people trying to flag down any taxis that pass by.
Due to the Forum's location, it is a long, but enjoyable, walk from the centre of Barcelona. The Forum sits at the Northernmost point of Barcelona's long stretch of beach. Therefore, if you head towards Barceloneta Metro: Barceloneta (Yellow Line, L4) beach in the centre, you can walk the beach promenade for about 60 minutes (depending on how many stops you make to buy beers on the way!) and you will find yourself at the Forum. It is a long walk, however, if you are in the mood for a walk along a beautiful blue seafront, it is a delightful experience.
If you plan on using public transport (metro, bus or tram) to get to and from the festival site on a regular basis, it is worth buying a T10 ticket. This ticket will allow you to take ten journeys at a more affordable rate than if you buy individual tickets. For full details, see our public transport page. It is also worth noting that these tickets can be shared. So, if you are travelling with a group of friends you do not all need to buy individual T10 tickets.
Due to the Forum's role as a year round conference and convention space, it is surrounded by a large selection of hotels. However, many of these are built to target a business market, and this is reflected in the prices. Also, you will find that these places get booked up quickly, as they are where the acts who are playing and their 'entourages' will be staying! We have some full reviews of the hotels located within five minutes walk of the festival site:
Hotel Barcelona Princess is a four star hotel that sits directly opposite the Forum site. It is where a lot of the acts will be staying.
Hotel AC Barcelona Forum is a four star hotel with extensive facilities. It is located less than five minutes walk from the festival site.
Hotel Diagonal Port is located slightly further from the festival - about 10-15 minutes walk. However, this is a more, affordable three star hotel.
For a list and reviews of hotels close to the festival site, see our Guide to Hotels in the Poble Nou area.
If you decide that you would like to be closer to the city centre, there are a whole range of options available to you - everything from cheap hotels to apartments and hostels.
Here are some recommendations that may suite larger group bookings or those looking for cheap accommodation:
For more information on hotels where you can stay with cheap rates and good deals, check our guide to value hotels page.
For more information on the cheapest hotels and hostels in Barcelona, see our page with listings for budget accommodation.
If you are coming with a larger group, an apartment can be one of the cheapest and most convenient ways to stay in Barcelona. In general, Barcelona apartments are of a high standard. However, it is worth remembering that the more nights that you stay in them the cheaper they tend to become per night. Therefore, if you are only staying for the weekend, staying in an apartment may not be an option. Check our advice on how to find a reliable apartment agency in Barcelona.
One of the least convenient aspects of the Primavera Sound festival is the catering. Inside the festival site you will find a whole area dedicated to food - like an outdoor food court with a large selection of stalls selling everything from noodles to burgers. However, this food is sold at inflated prices. For example, a simple sandwich that you could buy in a city centre bakers for about €2.00 is likely to cost €5.00 or €6.00 on the festival site.
Fortunately, you are allowed to bring food onto the site. So, it is worth planning ahead and bringing a little picnic with you. Especially in the early evening, before the larger crowds arrive, there tends to be quite a lot of space at the festival. What could be better than watching you favourite band whilst the sun sets and munching on some bread and cheese from a local supermarket?
Alternatively, you could eat in the city centre before heading to the festival site. Here I have listed a few of the budget eating options in Barcelona city centre.
Maoz - They are falafel take-aways where you can fill your own pita to the brim with a whole selection of fillings.
Carrer de Ferran, 13
08002 Barcelona, España.
Pollo Rico - A Barcelona legend - order a half chicken and chips with a glass of 'tinto de verano' (the locals' version of sangria) for less than a fiver. And sit upstairs in the old fashioned tiled surroundings.
Carrer Sant Pau, 31
08001 Barcelona, España.
The only drinks that you are allowed to bring in to the festival site are plastic bottles of water with the lids removed. And the festival staff are strict about this. Therefore, if you plan on having some drinks during the festival you will need to budget for this. The drink prices on the festival site are higher than normal, but you have no real alternative options.
It is worth noting that whilst the festival goes on there are other events that will be taking place in the clubs and bars all over Barcelona. Some of these will be official events that are organised by the festival itself. For these events you will be able to get in with your Primavera Sound ticket (if you are a weekend ticket holder). Keep an eye out on the Official Primavera Sound website for further details closer to the event.
There will also be a whole load of other club nights and small gigs that will also be organised unofficially in celebration of the Primavera sound weekend. When you arrive in the city keep an eye out for posters and flyers advertising events that might take your fancy.
How to avoid being denied entry to the event
You can be denied entry to the event for a number of seemingly minor issues. It's best to know what these are in advance so you will have a trouble-free entrance.
Cameras and video recorders
You will be denied access to the event if you have a professional camera (Single Lens Reflex) or a video camera. If you wish to bring this type of professional recording gear make certain to get official permission from the event organizers before you arrive. If you have an iPhone or small non-SLR camera that can fit in your pocket you would be OK.
Can I bring drinks to the event?
You will be denied entry to the event if you bring any drink other than water. Not only this, but the water must be in a plastic bottle without a lid. So if you have water in a glass bottle you will also be denied entry.
Primavera Sound is one of Barcelona's most successful music event stories. Unlike Sonar festival it's focus is more on bands and less on electronic music. It has filled a niche in the city and never fails to provide a fun packed weekend of original music in an electric atmosphere. If you've never come to Primavera Sound before, it's definitely worth giving it a try. And if you're planning on making a return visit make sure to spread the word and bring your friends.