Equality, eclecticism and audacity in the revolutionary line up of Primavera Sound 2019
The New Normal, or the new normality, is the idea on which the universe of the nineteenth edition of the Barcelona festival Primavera Sound is based. From May 30th to June 1st 2019, the Parc del Fòrum of Barcelona will be witness to an exceptional edition. A turning point. As explained from the “future” with the spectacular ad aired from the Radio Primavera Sound studios, this is the edition in which everything changes. Solange, Tame Impala, Cardi B, J Balvin, Erykah Badu, Future, Janelle Monáe, Nas and Rosalía are the headliners of a line up in which for the first time there are as many female as there are male artists. The festival consolidates its reinvention by committing to urban music without forgetting any essential references. The full festival ticket price will remain at the current price of 180 € (plus distribution costs) until January 7th and day tickets are now on sale.
Speaking further on the latest line up, the official Primavera Sound press release goes on to explain,
“Equality in the line up between men and women, a stylistic eclecticism that is patently obvious and the drive to constantly take risks to connect to the times we live in are central concepts of the Primavera Sound 2019 line up. It is the culmination of what was intuited at the previous editions of the festival, heralded by the 226 names of which more than 50% are women, with a variety of genres that goes from extreme metal to reggaeton, passing through pop, hip hop, jazz, electronic experimentation, trap and canonical indie rock, and with an obvious commitment to renovate the most outstanding positions in the line up.
All of this without abandoning the presentation of a line up that is absolutely unique in the world, risky and convincing, as it is every year. And that this year comes headed by the names that will define the music of 2018-2019: the return of Solange to the festival, consecrated at her last appearance as the diva of R&B that the whole world needed; the champions of psychedelic pop Tame Impala presenting their long-awaited new album; Cardi B heralded as the new hip-hop American hip-hop thanks to a spectacular debut and her unlimited charisma; the Colombian J Balvin, foremost exponent of the new wave of reggaeton which is destined to cross all red lines, as well as being author of one of the albums of the year, Vibras; Erykah Badu as an undeniable classical modern figure of soul; the standard bearer of American trap Future; the star Janelle Monáe armed with her politically-charged pop; hip-hop icon Nas; and Rosalía in her unstoppable rise to the top of global experimental pop. The headline is completed by James Blake as the epitome of the new creators who brings together dance and emotion, Interpol with their new album on top form again, and Swedish artist Robyn with her comeback album after an eight-year silence.
Why do an equality line up now?Because we should have done it ages ago. Because, looking back over our previous lineups and despite the progress in the last few editions, we needed to go further. If half of our audience is female, why shouldn’t half of our line up be so too? Why can’t there be equality in schedules, styles and stages? It has not been easy to fight against the inertia that has been passed down for so many years, but after all, if the future is female, what’s the point in waiting? We are starting here, accelerating our change to build a line up that shouldn’t be the exception, which we want to make the norm. But let’s not forget that this is only a lineup and only a festival, what matters is everything else.
A line up for a younger audience?Yes… and no. There are idols of the new generation like the enfant terrible Mac DeMarco, the outstanding FKA twigs, the spirited Courtney Barnett, the representatives of pop with personality Carly Rae Jepsen, Christine and the Queensand Charli XCX, the Colombian new diva Kali Uchis, the stripped back indie rock of Snail Mail, the stage madness of Boy Pablo and many other names representing the immediate future of exquisite pop such as Sigrid, Clairo and Empress Of. But there is also room, and lots of it, to announce the awaited comeback of Stereolab (yeah, that’s right), a new adventure by the illustrious Jarvis Cocker, the long-awaited first visit to the festival of Guided by Voices, the titans of punk Jawbreaker, the return of Low with one of their best albums, for non-conformism from Róisín Murphy, the sober folk by Kurt Vile & The Violators, Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner’s exciting Big Red Machine (that will perform on the inaugural free day of Wednesday) and a long list of other names that make it clear that the love of the 90s will never die: Suede, Built to Spill, Primal Scream, mother indie Liz Phair, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks… Can you combine legacy and future? Of course you can!
Reggaeton?Yes, reggaeton. That’s enough of the dictatorship of what is correct. The world is focusing on Latin rhythms and the moment is right to commit to a festival without dogmas, a festival that is freer and more diverse. That is why the presence of J Balvin, an essential figure in the worldwide expansion of reggaeton is so important. He is an artist who has broken down barriers and prejudices with his latest album, Vibras. Just as important is the presence of the Puerto Rican queen Ivy Queen, of the pioneer DJ Playero and of the Panamanian Japanese –living history of the genre. Add to this list other legends such as Don Chezina, Hurricane G and Tony Touch and it is not that reggaeton is disembarking at Primavera Sound 2019. It is rather that the entire perreo armada is coming.
What about commitment to urban music? It also gains ground. In this case, beyond the first visits to Spain of true references of contemporary North American hip hop such as Cardi B and Future as headliners and other fundamental players of the genre like Danny Brown, Nas and Pusha T, at Primavera Sound 2019 we will also hear the incendiary rhymes of Kate Tempest, Flohio, slowthai and Loyle Carner from the United Kingdom, and those of artists who are building the future of the genre such as 070 Shake (backed by Kanye West), the incredibly irreverent cupcakKe who will perform twice, JPEGMAFIA following his blazing concert at Primavera Club, the imaginative Tierra Whack, Princess Nokia with her own particular emo revival and the magnetic Nathy Peluso and the prodigious Sticky M.A. as representatives of the Spanish language. But it doesn’t end here, because the festival will have a stage that will be entirely dedicated to urban music, with 18 artists selected by the king of Spanish trap Yung Beef. From the collective Goth Boi Clique to the New York artist Rico Nasty passing through local legends such as Somadamantina and names of the moment like La Zowi, Goa, Albany and Brat Star this stage will make it clear that it is impossible to look the other way and that through an urban vision we can understand everything from trap to reggaeton and everything that is still to come.
So what’s happening with electronic music then?It is still very much there. Once again with the collaboration of the Town Hall of Sant Adrià de Besòs, Primavera Bits will have three stages to supply the most hedonistic, festive and alternative side of the festival, as well as a surprise or two to wrap it all up. And as usual, all genres will be represented, from legends such as Richie Hawtin CLOSE to new pillars of the beats such as Nina Kraviz, Modeselektor, Peggy Gou, Krystal Klear and Helena Hauff, as well as the first live performances by Objekt and Veronica Vasicka, Yves Tumor accompanied by a band and a new spectacle by the German maestro Apparat. There will also be enriching lessons like that given by Suzanne Ciani (pioneer of electronic music), challenging ones like those by SOPHIE and Mykki Blanco and hybrids like those of Neneh Cherry, Maribou State, Jungle and David August, together with the new generations represented by Mura Masa, Yaeji, Danny L Harle and RRUCCULLA.
What does a festival against algorithms mean? In the era of big data, we are proud to be a festival that can only exist thanks to the tireless work of the booking team. This is the only way that the same event can bring together an extreme metal band like Carcass with the millennial flamenco voice of María José Llergo, the militant experimentation of BEAK> with the politically charged punk rock of Stiff Little Fingers, the vintage EBM by Nitzer Ebb, the surprise comeback of Lisabö with the combinado 2018 by Bakar, two concerts by Dirty Projectors (one in the Auditori del Fòrum and the other outdoors) with the afro-funk-vogue of the Brazillian Linn da Quebrada and tradition of the Cuban artist Daymé Arocena. From the ambient of Tim Hecker & Konoyo Ensemble to The Messthetics (with Joe Lally and Brendan Canty from Fugazi) and from the post-hardcore by June of 44 to Lisa Gerrard from Dead Can Dance lending her voice to The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices to free jazz by The Necks, from the four drummers of Sons of Kemet XL to the first ever tour in history by the fathers of electro Cybotron (Juan Atkins and Richard “3070” Davis) to one of the rare occasions to see trumpeter Jon Hassell on stage. And the expedition this year into the territories of Japanese music with performances by Wednesday Campanella, the garage quartet CHAI, the Asian legend Midori Takada and rebellious j-pop by Haru Nemuri. Only at Primavera Sound.
Will there still be free concerts?Of course. The inaugural day on Wednesday in the Parc del Fòrum will be completely free with concerts by Big Red Machine, the post-millennial genius Cuco, dream pop by Hatchie and the local Melenas and Mow. And for yet another year, CCCB will host the free closing concerts on Sunday, this year headed by Filthy Friends of Peter Buck (REM) and Corin Tucker (Sleater-Kinney), Christina Rosenvinge in a state of grace and Cupido, the revelation band of the moment in urban music formed by Pimp Flaco and Solo Astra.
So how are we keeping the festival’s essence intact? With the 12th performance by Shellac, for example, with our Deerhunter who have decided to come one more time to inaugurate the festival on the Monday night at the Apolo, and with DJ Coco who this year will close the festival at the Apolo on the Sunday and will give up his place for the end of the party on the Saturday on the Ray-Ban stage of the Parc del Fòrum to DJ Rosario & Sama Yax, two DJs from the Primavera Sound family who will sign and seal this unrepeatable edition of the festival.
Anything else? There are so many things in the Primavera Sound 2019 line up that are not yet normal, but we hope that from now on they will be. We are not the first, but more than anything we don’t want to be the last. We want the new normal. Get on board, this is already moving.”