One doesn't have to hurl their proverbial lasso very far or wide these days to find a music festival. Most of us are familiar with the depressingly popular formula of failsafe Jessie Js and Biffy Clyros, overpriced water-beer and toxic noodles. But for the seasoned festival snob, each new year unveils a plethora of specialised festivals designed to seduce those who pronounce defiantly each September that they are defeated and 'so over festivals; this is the last one until I take my bohemian infant children in five years' time.'
The key to winning over tired hearts is one of two things: a festival with an edge (be it a culinary or theatrical focus; chillies or clowns, anyone?) or the obvious; a stellar line-up catering not to the masses but focussing upon a very particular niche. Publications and radio stations can obviously dictate the template for the tempting boutique events that are sprung into our path. The likes of Latitude and End of the Road are slowly, surely and cunningly luring Glasto diehards away in their thousands, stating their Guardian-friendly pitch unequivocally with their literature tents teeming with John Cooper Clarks and annual Sadler's Wells ensemble on the lake. Move over Creamfields: Croatia is the new Ibiza with its festival focus centred around DJs and bass-laden daytime boat parties for the Mixmag crowd.
Then there's the independent lot. The far left field who know the BBC6 and Pitchfork playlists/charts, respectively, by heart. And there couldn't be a better-fitting festival for such intense music devotees than Primavera Sound, a gorgeous hybrid of all genres in a Mediterranean climate within an exquisite estuary location twenty minutes outside of Barcelona city centre.
If the combination of open air, calm waters and a view of the horizon setting the backdrop for one's favourite bands in the world didn't hold enough conviction to persuade even the most stubborn of festival snubbers, then perhaps the consistently eclectic lineups will. With contemporaries such as Savages, Solange, Tame Impala, and Grizzly Bear riding the bill with the likes of Blur, My Bloody Valentine, Wu Tang Clan, Nick Cave and - unbelievably - Jim Jarmusch's new musical project, there's variety aplenty with the programmes featuring stages curated by Pitchfork, All Tomorrow's Parties and Converse. And aside from the odd band member, everyone is guaranteed to smell good with the festival remaining since day one, a non camping event. Angle your way backstage and you'll even find seawater swimming pools and complimentary towels.
The festival's history is long-respected in the music industry as one that remains fiercely reliable and diligent; the organisers really seem to keep their nifty finger on the pulse booking headliners from PJ Harvey, Lou Reed, and The White Stripes to Pixies, Pavement and Mazzy Star. The concrete plateau that houses the festival is usually home to the Universal Forum of Cultures and is truly spectacular; amongst the eight stages it boasts a breathtaking amphitheatre and a stunning sculptural photovoltaic plate: next to th genius programmers, the architecture of Parc el Forum is to thank for the sonic perfection that Primavera's sound systems provide. If Primavera Sound is for some strange reason not your primary choice, don't miss spin-off/sister event Primavera Optimus over in Portugal, whose line up is nearly identical but one week later within another urban park, Parque da Cidade in burgeoning city of culture, Porto.
For more information, visit the Primavera Sound website.Suggest a correction