Primavera Counting On Record

The size of the third-day crowd hadn’t been confirmed at press time, but Spain’s Primavera Sound Festival was already confident that its 10th-anniversary edition had smashed its attendance records.

More than 31,000 showed for the first day at Barcelona’s San Miguel Parc del Fòrum, when the bill included Pavement, Superchunk, Mark E. Smith and The xx, the UK band that owed its slot to the European Talent Exchange Programme.

On the second day, Primavera put up the “Sold Out” signs for the first time in its history as a 35,000-capacity crowd turned up for Pixies and international acts including Wilco, The New Pornographers, Yeasayer, and Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions.

With a similar-sized crowd on the third day, Primavera appears to have pulled 100,000-plus over the May 27-29 weekend, about one-third more than the previous record-breaking crowd of 76,000 in 2009.

Primavera head of press Beba Naveira said the festival’s success is largely thanks to 10 years of growth based on word-of-mouth recommendations. After four years at the city’s El Poble Espanyol, in 2005 it was forced to move to the larger Parc del Forum.

“[This year’s] lineup was very powerful with big names like Pixies and Pavement, who can easily attract a lot a people. But we have always had these big names, such as Neil Young in 2009, and I think many also come to see the lesser-known acts,” Naveira explained.

Apart from the appearance of four or five well-known international acts each day, the vast majority of the 240 artists spread across Primavera’s seven stages are virtually unheard of outside of Spain.

Also new this year was PrimaveraPRO, a music business conference that attracted more than 400 music industry professionals from various countries. The delegates included label staff, booking agencies, promoters and festival programmers.

The various showcases it staged linked with the “Primavera a la Ciutat” programme that Primavera stages in Barcelona clubs in the days leading up to and during the main festival.

Other names on the Primavera bill included Pet Shop Boys, The Charlatans, Gary Numan, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Orbital, Broken Social Scene, Florence & The Machine, Shellac, Wire, Chrome Hoof and CocoRosie.