Primavera Sound 2022 Was A Rollercoaster Of Emotions

A close look at the Barcelona festival...

Primavera, the music festival set against the backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea and glowing in the Barcelona sun. Primavera is its own world with an entirely different timezone, and a world where its residents can party through the sunset and watch the sunrise, only to do it all over again.

The festival is spread over two weekends and runs through the whole spectrum of genres. It has attracted a host of big brands and major league sponsors such as Cupra, who launched a fleet of impressive electric cars in tandem with the festival’s second weekend. A Soho House pop-up took over the nearby Go Beach Club to pamper members and VIPs alike. You could argue that Primavera is the European’s response to Coachella with influencers, celebrities and brand pop-ups sprawled all over the Parc del Forum. It is an impressive setup with an even more impressive lineup, so could it all be too good to be true?

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Primavera Sound 2022 Was A Rollercoaster Of Emotions

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When it comes to a festival of this magnitude and with so many ambitions, the expectations are high. It is often one of those festivals you hear everyone rave about. It’s a holiday and music festival in one so what’s not to love? The logistics and security. The main stage suffered from multiple sound and video issues. There were points where artists were difficult to hear, or the sound felt muffled. The video playback on screens lagged, making it appear as if performers were lip synching.

Rumours were stirring of the festival being oversold and as one of the many bodies on the ground, it certainly felt that way. Getting to and from each stage was anxiety inducing and a hard lesson in resilience to say the least – thoughts and prayers go out to the Dua Lipa and Charli XCX fans on the first night, trying to get from the mainstage all the way to the other side of the site. Even before the festival came to a close, a dedicated Instagram account posted some troubling accounts from those on the ground. There were many highs but many lows, making the whole weekend a rollercoaster of emotions.

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Primavera Sound 2022 Was A Rollercoaster Of Emotions

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Despite these issues, Primavera’s strength lay in the reason we all flocked to Barcelona in the first place – the music. Local talent, Bikoko was one of the opening acts of weekend two. Playing with her father on bass and her two percussion teachers, the stage presence and chemistry was unmatched. “Everyone that I play with is my teacher,” she exclaimed at one point. Further on in the set, her very proud father stood up to shout, “She’s my baby!” The whole set wrapped you in the familiar warmth you feel reminiscing on fond memories. Music inspired by her father’s native Cameroon, infused with jazz and delivered with her sultry vocals and hypnotic dance, put a smile on everyone’s face and a groove in every step. Bikoko is one to watch and is sure to stir up a storm once she hits these shores.

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Primavera Sound 2022 Was A Rollercoaster Of Emotions

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Gorillaz stunned with their extensive collective of musicians, iconic cartoon visuals and a cameos from Mos Def and Moonchild Sanelly. Damon Albarn was on top form with his theatrics and mischievous demeanour. Running through their back catalogue to present their distinct account on the state of the world, every member of the crowd was left satisfied.

Dua Lipa wowed with her infectious pop hits, bringing Angele on stage to join her for ‘Fever’ and flying the rainbow colours towards the end of ‘Cold Heart’ in support of Pride. Her defiant performance of ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ resonated and felt like the anthem for every womxn in attendance. Tyler, The Creator climbed the grass pyramid on stage, accompanied by smoke, organic visuals and pyrotechnics to deliver a showstopping performance to close out the first day.

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Primavera Sound 2022 Was A Rollercoaster Of Emotions

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The second day saw Sampa The Great play the Binance stage as the first Zambian band to play Primavera, Coachella and the Sydney Opera house. “We are the first Zambian band to play Primavera and we’re not the last!”, she proudly announced to the crowd. Sampa played a mix of older songs and some from the new project, a product of returning to Zambia to reconnect with her people and her home.

On the Cupra stage, Giveon delivered a smooth and beautifully intimate performance to a packed-out audience. Slowly sauntering around the stage crooning in a black Vlone jacket and a wine glass in hand, he enamoured the crowd with his timeless and stylish performance. Everyone in the vicinity quickly fell under his spell. “It’s giving Giveon,” a gaggle of fans swooned.

The Strokes made an appearance after Julian Casablancas fell victim to COVID and was unable to play the first weekend. It was everything you expect from The Strokes at a festival, playing all the usual hits, much to fans’ delight. Burna Boy turbo charged the fun factor with his set as fans let loose and a full-blown party commenced. If anyone was having a bad day, Burna Boy made all those worries fade away and didn’t let you leave without a smile on your face.

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Primavera Sound 2022 Was A Rollercoaster Of Emotions

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Back at the main stage, M.I.A gave it her all. For ‘Paper Planes’ she stepped back to allow fans to take charge and sing the song for her. It was a spiritual moment of sorts, only slightly conflicting with the desire to hear her perform the song in full. Running over to Dorian Electra, they were in full fetish mode – costume, back-up dancers and all the works. Only catching a few songs, it left you yearning for more for the wild performance they gave to an ecstatic audience.

Ending Day Two was Remi Wolf, injecting her signature energy into the 2am crowd. Only Remi Wolf could get people partying and dancing after trekking multiple kilometres in the hot Spanish sun. She brought her notorious humour, bold statements and unique brand of empowerment to adoring fans. Whatever Remi is having, everyone could use some – especially to get them through to the final day…

Day Three and a much-needed poolside break was had. Walking over 12km with camera gear on both the previous days, some serious R&R had to occur before braving the Parc del Forum for a final day. Arriving in time for Sky Ferreira, fans eagerly awaited their starlet. Chatter on the barrier brewed, many discussing their excitement for the new music. One fan beamed and explained how Sky was one of the main reasons for coming to Barcelona and attending the festival.

Sky took the stage exuding raw rockstar energy in an oversized leather jacket. She powered through technical issues beyond her control, with poise and dedication to giving fans a formidable performance. The setlist packed a punch with hits such as ’24 Hours’, ‘You’re Not The One’ and ‘Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay)’ as well as new material. Sky finished on a high as she pleaded with staff to let her play ‘Everything is Embarrassing’, which sent the crowd soaring.

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Primavera Sound 2022 Was A Rollercoaster Of Emotions

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Over at the main stage, every softboi on site geared up to update their tinder profiles as thousands flocked to see Tame Impala. Opening with a woozy public announcement, hands slowly waved in the air to the psychedelic vibes of the Australian band. Jessie Ware attracted hordes of fans. People were backed all the way up to the top of the stairs, with the crowd bursting at the seams of the Cupra stage amphitheatre. Her performance radiated a beautiful energy and power that washed over the crowd and injected itself into every soul. ‘Wildest Moments’ had everyone burst into song and the atmosphere was heavenly.

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Primavera Sound 2022 Was A Rollercoaster Of Emotions

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Day Three went out with a bang as Megan Thee Stallion commanded the main stage. Having played a small gig at Barcelona’s famed Razzmatazz earlier in the week, those lucky few received but a taste of the queen whose set at the club was undeniably mind blowing. Going back for round two, Megan’s performance was larger than life on the big stage. Everyone was dancing and twerking along with her. Megan is unlike any other, holding an approachable authority and a contagious confidence that breathes new life into the way you feel and see yourself. Megan is authentic and practices everything she preaches. It’s hard not to leave one of her shows on a high and for many, that’s how they left Primavera.

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Primavera Sound 2022 Was A Rollercoaster Of Emotions

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Words + Photography: Yasmin Cowan

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