Top festivals in Barcelona for photographers
Photographers arriving to Barcelona during the various festivals held throughout the year are in for a treat. Barcelona can sometimes feel like one long fiesta. During the summer months, every district celebrates it’s own patron saint – photographing these street parties can be extremely rewarding for the adventurous photographer.
As well as the “Fiestas de Barrio”, Barcelona experiences an invasion of Rock and Dance festivals in the form of Primavera sound, Sonar festival and dozens of smaller music festivals. Theatre, dance and music also bombard the city during the Grec festival.
But it’s the stunning visual displays, street performers, colours and characters in our favourite festivals listed below that can often yield extraordinary images for photographers.
Festa de la Merce [several days either side of September 24]
Dedicated to “our lady the virgin of mercy”, La Merce is a highlight to capture through your lens. Catalan legends enacted, fireworks, Castellers [human towers], Gigants [giants paraded through the streets] and the Correfoc [the fire run] make for an overdose of the senses. The procession of fire-breathing dragons, and locals setting off pertados through the Gothic quarter at night really is a sight to behold.
Festa Major de Gracia [mid August]
Undoubtedly the most famous of all the local street fiestas is the Festa Major de Gracia. For a week during the month of August, the streets of the Gracia neighbourhood are adorned with fabulous papier mache statues, decorative lanterns and all types of materials recycled in the most creative ways imaginable. As well as fabulous visual displays, the week consists of music concerts, competitions and workshops for all the family. The aim of the festival is to bring local residents together, though the Festa Major de Gracia has become so popular, recent years show that 1.5 million visitors now visit this small neighbourhood during that week.
Sant Joan [June 23rd-24th]
The eve of Sant Joan is without a doubt Barcelona’s biggest party night of the year. This celebration is renowned for it’s firework displays and total disregard for EU safety regulations. Sant Joan falls on the summer solstice and is one of the most important feast days celebrated by Catalans throughout the city. Anyone visiting the city during this time will be rewarded with countless photo opportunities when the city comes alive at night.
Dia de Sant Jordi [April 23rd]
The patron saint of Catalonia, Sant Jordi [Saint George] is celebrated by Catalans on April 23rd. The most colourful of all the fiestas held in Barcelona, the entire length of the Ramblas is transformed into one long flower stall. Roses of every colour are found throughout Barcelona. As is custom here, the men purchase a rose for the dainty damsel in their life. Women buy their man a book as the country’s legendary icon, Miguel Cervantes died on this day. Sant Jordi truly is exceptional to capture while visiting the city.
Feria de Abril de Barcelona [last week April-1st week May]
Every year, Barcelona celebrates it’s own version of the famous “Feria de Abril de Sevilla”. It’s a very festive affair, with fun-filled rows of Casetas [marquees] filled with dazzling costumes and authentic flamenco dancing from Spaniards originating from the southern communities. Environmental portrait photography should be at the top of your list for visiting this Fiesta. It also includes a fun-fair at the site, and is located at the Forum at the end of Diagonal Mar, itself a great part of the city for modern architectural photography. All in all, a great day out for the avid photographer!