LA MERCÈ 2016 IS A FESTIVAL LIKE NO OTHER

It's Barcelona's most extravagant, colourful festival of the year.

When most people outside Spain hear of a “festival in Barcelona”, they probably think about one of its many music festivals, like Primavera Sound or BenicassimFestival La Mercè isn’t one of those modern music ones though – it has its roots in Spanish Catholic history and has been celebrated as the “main festival of Barcelona” for over one hundred years. 

La Mercè is one of Barcelona’s patron-saints. In the 13th century, she is said to have appeared to the Spanish King and ordered him to go to war with the conquering Moors; years later her spirit shielded the city from a plague of locusts; and by the early twentieth century, Barcelona’s municipal politicians thought she’d make the perfect excuse for an official city holiday – cue a lot of dancing, drinking and traditional papier maché statues.

That single holiday has expanded into an entire week of festivities, with art, music and traditional culture all jostling through the streets of Barcelona, with vivid colours and Catalan style. One of the most famous attractions are the castellers, also known as the daring men dressed in red who form literal human pyramids.

Check out the official website of this year’s festival to find out the programme. They haven’t announced much yet other than the early bird events – things happening in the run-up to the actual parade and festival day on 24 September. One things that looks pretty cool is the Barcelona Acció Musical (BAM). They’re putting on gigs by Lloyd Cole – a singer-songwriter who you might not have heard of but sounds instantly familiar – and the French rapper MHD. The locations haven’t yet been announced, but they won’t be far from Generator Barcelona

 

Check out Festival La Merce

Festival La Mercè runs from 22 - 25 September 2016. Check out the website for more information as it's announced.