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Barcelona’s Cruïlla pushes ahead with ‘bubble’ plan

Cruïlla, one of Barcelona’s three major international music festivals, is continuing to plan for a summer 2021 edition.

Cruïlla 2021, headlined by Two Door Cinema Club, Editors, Morcheeba, Of Monsters and Men and local acts Kase O and Natos y Waor, is scheduled for 8–10 July at the Parc del Fòrum (also usually home to Primavera Sound). Taking inspiration from 27 March’s Love of Lesbian concert at the Palau Sant Jordi arena, which will utilise rapid Covid-19 testing to enable 5,000 people to attend, organisers hope to create a “sanitary bubble” of healthy festivalgoers so Cruïlla can go ahead as planned, according to promoter Barcelona Events Musicals.

The idea, which has also been floated by festivals in neighbouring Portugal, is to require all festivalgoers to test negative for Covid-19 using rapid antigen tests – which, in the case of the Love of Lesbian show, means the Sant Jordi “will be safer to be in the audience than walking down the street, because everyone in the audience will have had a negative result”.

“We will prove we have the right health protocols in place to get back to dancing, singing and hugging in complete safety”

For Cruïlla, the plan for 2021 is to “create a sanitary bubble in the Parc del Fòrum that will allow us to offer a music festival in the same conditions, or very similar, to those we enjoyed before Covid-19,” says the festival.

Barcelona’s other major festival, Advanced Music’s Sónar (80,000-cap.), has yet to elaborate on its plans for 2021, although it is still scheduled for 17–19 June.

Cruïlla held a socially distanced concert series, Cruïlla XXS, in place of its flagship event last summer. While this “was a great example of civility, in which we showed that there are ways of doing culture safely”, the event is committed to returning without restrictions in July.

“This summer, we will go one step further and prove that we have the right health protocols in place to get back to dancing, singing and hugging in complete safety,” say organisers.


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Outdoor events in Barcelona avoid renewed ban

Festival organisers, concert promoters and venue operators in Barcelona have managed to overturn new regulations that would have forced all events and venues to close down again amid an increase in Covid-19 cases.

Due to a recent spike in cases, Catalonian health minister Alba Vergés urged residents on Friday (18 July) to stay at home for the next 15 days and only go out to buy food, go to work or for health reasons. The government also announced that cinemas, theatres and nightclubs would once again be forced to close, with gatherings of over ten people banned.

The reintroduction of more stringent measures in the metropolitan area of Barcelona and in the province of Lleida follows previous stay-at-home orders that affected around 400,000 Catalans earlier this month.

In response to the announcement, representatives from Barcelona festivals including Festival Cruïlla, Festival Pedralbes and Grec Festival, as well as the the association of Catalan venues (Asociación de Salas de Conciertos de Cataluña – Assac), took to social media using the hashtag #CulturaEsSegura (Culture is safe) to protest the re-closing of venues and festivals throughout the region.

“95% of Asacc venues have been closed since March, with no programming scheduled due to the uncertainty of reopening dates. The few that have opened have done so with minimal capacities for musical performances,” reads a post on the Asacc Twitter page.

“We cannot place the responsibility of new outbreaks on venues and not keep track of street gatherings, raves, private parties and beach bars. Enough stigmatising of clubs, music and culture!

“Venues are not the origin of new outbreaks.”

Following the complaints, Catalan civil protection society Procicat (El Pla territorial de protecció civil de Catalunya) posted new guidelines, approving the carrying out of cultural events in “exceptional circumstances”.

“Venues are not the origin of new outbreaks”

According to the guidance, events in Barcelona and other parts of Catalonia are still permitted to go ahead provided they are in remote areas; take place outdoors; have previously been assessed and approved by Procicat; maintain social distancing; implement track and tracing systems; and take extra hygiene precautions.

It is also noted that organisers must be willing “to make maximum capacity requirements more flexible, if the health authorities require more restricted conditions.”

The exceptions allow for the Cruïlla XXS shows, over 200 open-air events organised by the Cruïlla Festival team, to go ahead this month, along with performances by Van Morrison, Diana Navarro and Paco Ibanez, as part of Fes Pedralbes. Barcelona’s Grec Festival is also taking place, with a programme of dance, theatre and music.

The Sala Barcelona concert series, which is taking place in the grounds of the Montjuïc Castle, has also been given the green light to host performances over the coming weeks. Upcoming concerts at the venue include DJs Ikram Bouloum and Santa Marts, pop band Los Retrovisores, folk group River Omelet and film score composer Niño de Elche.

However, the new restrictions saw the team at Barcelona festival Primavera Sound cancel the next two weeks of its Nits del Fórum series due to “the uncertainty provoked by contradictory recommendations and restrictions”.

“Despite complying with all the required safety requirements, despite being a concert series lauded by the authorities and despite the warm welcome received from fans over the past few weeks, Nits del Fórum has decided to take a break,” reads a Primavera Sound statement.

Organisers state they have voluntarily suspended activity until 31 July, in anticipation of “a clearer and more definite framework of limitations and recommendations for all”.

All affected concerts will be reprogrammed for new dates.

Elsewhere in Spain, outdoor events with up to 800 people are permitted, with concert series promoted by Live Nation and the Music Republic, as well as shows at the Wizink Center and Ifema exhibition centre taking place over the coming weeks.


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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First post-lockdown concerts take place in Spain

The first post-lockdown live music events are taking place in Spain this week, as the country embarks on phase two of its lockdown easing plan.

As of 25 May, outdoor events of up to 400 people and indoor concerts with a maximum capacity of 50 people have been allowed to resume in Spain.

Although the reopening measures have been criticised by members of the Spanish live industry for being unclear and unrealistic, a number of event organisers have taken the opportunity to restart business.

This week, five concerts are taking place in the northern region of Cantabria as part of the local government’s ‘Culture Counterattack’ campaign. Performances by acts Rulo, Vicky Castelo, Billy Boom Band, Deva and Repion will take place this weekend (29 to 30 May) in the cities of Santander, Torrelavega and Muriedas.

“These five Cantabrian artists will connect with their fans again, to a lesser extent than we would like, but with as many as is possible right now,” says Pablo Zuloaga, vice president of Cantabria, who announced the campaign last week.

Elsewhere in Spain, organisers of Barcelona’s Festival Cruïlla, who, along with promoters of major Spanish events including Primavera Sound, Mad Cool, Bilbao BBK Live and Sónar, recently called off their 2020 festival, have announced Cruïlla XXS, a series of over 200 open-air events taking place throughout the city in July.

“This is a way of putting the message out there that, little by little, things are getting better”

Priced between €15 and €45, each event – which range from concerts, talks and conference sessions to urban art and circus performances – will be seated and have a maximum capacity of 400. The events will be hosted in venues including open-air architectural museum the Poble Espanyol, the Design Museum of Barcelona, the Anella Olímpica (Olympic Ring) and the gardens of the Catalan national theatre.

“This is a way of putting the message out there that, little by little, things are getting better,” comments Cruïlla XXS programmer Jordi Herreruela. “This will have a positive impact on the collective state of mind.”

Cruïlla XXS organisers are working with the Barcelona Institute for Global Health to ensure adequate safety measures are in place. “If we want to go back to putting on events with several thousand people, we will have to show we are capable of doing so,” says Herreruela.

Two Door Cinema Club, Kase.O, Residente and Of Monsters and Men are among acts confirmed for Festival Cruïlla 2021.

Spain is due to enter it final stage of lockdown easing on 8 June, which allows outdoor events of up to 800 people and indoor concerts with a capacity limit of 80, as well as the reopening of night clubs and bars at a third of usual capacity.

Photo: Roger Canals/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0) (cropped)


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