Tradition, creativity, arts, participation and activities for everyone: 7 days, 600 street theater and dance shows, 100 concerts and 2 million visitors. This is how Barcelona celebrates its City Festival, La Mercè. This year, celebrations kick off with the Festival proclamation on Friday 18th September and ends, as it always does, with the Piromusical, the greatest show of music, water and fireworks on the night of the 24th.
Needless to say that is impossible to name all the events that will take place in these seven days of celebrations. The agenda is completely full from 11 am 4 am, specially during the weekend, but we will try to summarize the highlights down below.
As in any other Festa Major (Town or City Festival), Catalan traditions will be present: Giants, Fire Devils, Sardanes (the traditional Catalan dance), Balls de Bastons (Stick Dances) and Castellers, some traditions that date back to 200 years.
Mercè nights are full of free live music all around the city with more than 90 concerts by bands coming from 13 different countries. One of the highlights of this year’s edition is the band Crystal Fighters, that will play on the 19th in the evening in front of the Old Estrella Damm Factory. But the main music venues are Forum, Bogatell Beach and different stages on the Gothic Quarter and Raval streets and squares. Emerging and consolidated bands put different styles together in the BAM Festival.
However, La Mercè is much more than Music and Tradition. It is also a Festival of Open Air Arts. Shows and performances of Theater, Dance, Clowns, Circus, Technology and Creativity unfold on the Parks of the City in a melting pot of Performing Arts for all audiences. Up to 200 companies will showcase their work for free in Montjuïc Castle and Ciutadella Park, day and night. On the weekend, Montjuïc Castle gardens turn into an open air Circus Tent with different stages hosting jugglers, trapeze artists and clowns. These are daytime shows ideal to take the children to. Ciutadella Park will be the stage of a number of street performances from various disciplines aimed to all kind of audiences eager to be surprised.
Technology also has its place in Mercè Festival. Artists and technicians work together to make an impact on the audience with audiovisual mappings on the facades of two emblematic buildings: Casa Batlló and Barcelona’s Town Hall. The facades become the background of integrated screenings which tell stories with colors, shapes and sounds. This year a special and unique mapping will also take place in the Ciutadella Park.
The closing of the Festival is the Piromusical, a fireworks show combined with the Magic Fountain water performance. Thousands of people gather at Maria Cristina Avenue to witness the show live and many more follow the show on television.
If you are fortunate enough to be in Barcelona during La Mercè, you will be part of this great festival of the city and enjoy arts and entertainment for free during seven days.
Check out the programme of La Mercè 2015.