Summer in Barcelona is electrifying. Of course, you can relax in the warmth of the sun along the beautiful Mediterranean coastline, taking in the tranquil vibes of seaside living, but don’t get too comfortable. There are numerous festivals and events through the summer months to fill your agenda. From theatrical entertainment at the Festival del Grec to meandering through the ornately decorated streets of Gràcia during the Festa Major de Gràcia, there is no room for the weary. Put your party hat on and take part in some of the best cultural and spirited celebrations around.
Festival del Grec
Where: Various Venues
When: Throughout July
Tel & website: 93 316 10 00 http://grec.bcn.cat/en/
Named after the Greek amphitheatre, Teatre Grec, that forms such an vital part of its programming, this is the major cultural festival of the year. It showcases entertainment from across the globe, incorporating dance, music, theatre, and circus performances into the schedule. More and more there are performances in English, with Catalan surtitles.
Música als Parcs
Where: Various Venues
Tel & website: 93 413 24 00 http://ajuntament.barcelona.cat/ecologiaurbana/en
These al fresco concerts are offered freely and run during the summer months in some of Barcelona’s most beautiful and frequented parks. It encompasses two series; there’s jazz from June to August on Wednesday and Friday evenings at 10pm in Ciutadella park, right in front of the iconic fountain. In July, young musicians perform a variety of classical concert performances from Thursday to Saturday in various parks. The municipal band will also make an appearance and will enhance the schedule on occasional Thursdays with renown numbers from Gershwin’s West Side Story among many other distinguished pieces.
Sala Montjuïc Outdoor Film Festival
Where: Castell de Montjuïc
An eclectic blend of classics and recent independent films will be projected three times a week throughout July and into August. The Castell de MontjuÏc transforms the grassy moat surrounding the castle into a jammed packed outdoor cinema. Bring a picnic and arrive early for the jazz band. A free bus service runs from Placa Espanya metro from 8:30pm to 9:30pm and again after the film has ended.
Festival Cruïlla Barcelona
Where: Parc del Fòrum
When: Jul 7 & 8, 2017
The Cruïlla music festival got its first wave of popularity in neighboring Mataró as an international music festival, but since moving to Barcelona in 2008, it has evolved the blend of styles and culture to be an eclectic festival that features pop and rock bands alongside electronica acts and a broad spectrum of R&B, Jamaican, and African compositions. Headliners gracing the stage in the 2017 edition include Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, The Lumineers, Patrice, Youssou Ndour, and many more.
Festa Major del Raval
Where: Rambla del Raval
When: July 14-17, 2016 (2017 dates TBA)
This three-day festival hosts traditional giants, well known in Catalan culture, an open air flea market, children’s workshops, and free concerts on the Rambla del Raval. This festa major embraces multiculturalism, with music from around the world and ethnic food stalls for the enjoyment of locals and tourists alike.
Nits d’Estiu CaixaForum
When: Every Wednesday in July & August
Tel & website: 93 476 86 00 https://obrasociallacaixa.org/en/
Many museums support the Nits d'Estiu (Summer Nights) programs in July and August, but CaixaForum has one of the best offerings. All of the museum’s exhibitions are open until midnight, and there are concerts of varying styles (€6 general public; €3 La Caixa customers), films, and other fun and entertaining activities.
San Miguel Mas i Mas Festival
Where: Various Venues
When: Late July – Early September
Tel & website: 93 319 17 89 http://www.masimas.com/en
This classy music festival stretches over the summer and has gone from primarily focusing on Latin sounds to highlighting a little bit of everything from classical numbers to international hits. Concerts are orchestrated at a wide variety of venues across the city, including the Palau de la Música Catalana.
Gandules Outdoor Film Festival
When: August 9-25, 2016, 10pm (2017 dates TBA)
Tel & website: 93 306 41 00 http://www.cccb.org/en
A series of films are projected outdoors on the patio of the CCCB. It is an extremely popular venue and gets quite crowded. Arrive early to have your hand at grabbing a seat.
Where: Various Venues
When: August 5-20, 2017
The major international gay and lesbian event of the year, along with its sister act, Girlie Circuit, encompasses two weeks of lively parties and music, not to mention, literary readings, talks, debates, workshops, documentary film showings and lots of outdoorsy fun with football tournaments, beach volleyball, fitness courses, longboard excursions, and yoga sessions. If you like a crowd, this is the place to be.
Festa de Sant Roc
Where: Various Venues Around Plaça Nova, Barri Gòtic
Tel & website: 010 http://www.barcelona.cat/en/
The Festa de Sant Roc, celebrated every year since 1589, is the Barri Gòtic’s massive street party. It is the go for the lovers of Catalan traditions: there are parades with the giants and bigheads, 'sardana' dancing, and old 19th-century street games. The festivities, which are concentrated around the Plaça Nova, in front of the Cathedral, close with a correfoc, or fire run, and a colorful display of fireworks.
Festa Major de Gràcia
When: 3rd week in August
Tel & website: 93 459 30 80 www.festamajordegracia.cat
The main event at Gràcia’s extravagant Festa Major is its street decorating competition using only recycled material. This unique project is taken on by residents who transform some 25 streets into pirate ships, rainforests, mystic fairytales, and futuristic wonders. The festival commences with giants and castles in Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia, and culminates with a correfoc, or fire run and a castell de focs, castle of fireworks. In between, there are some 600 jovial activities, from concerts to sardanes and children’s’ inflatable playgrounds.
Festa Major de Sants
When: Last Week in August
Tel & website: 93 490 62 14 www.festamajordesants.net
The Festa Major de Sants takes place in one of the lesser recognized neighborhoods for summer celebrations. It has a traditional Catalan flavor, with floral offerings to images of St. Bartholomew at the local church and the market. Major events, such as the popular correfoc on closing night, can be witnessed in the Parc de l’Espanya Industrial; others are held at Plaça de la Farga, C/Finlàndia, C/Vallespir de Baix, C/Galileu and other locations all across the neighborhood.