Spring fever - Issue 114 - Magazine | Monocle

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Company: Primavera Sound
Founded: 2001, Barcelona
Office staff: 47
On site: 5,000
Annual budget: €11m

It takes a small army to put on a party for 200,000 people. Throw in a pulsating programme of more than 300 musical acts – all accompanied by their entourages, technicians and tour staff – and it’s a feat of logistics that calls for a year’s worth of production, promotion and prescience.

The 47-strong Primavera team, headed by founders and friends Gabi Ruiz, Pablo Soler and Alberto Guijarro, swells to 5,000 on-site staff when it engulfs Barcelona’s beachside Parc del Fòrum precinct at the end of May. From drivers, translators and security staff to account-keeping and IT, producing the event may appear Sisyphean from the outside but this team functions like a tightknit family.

“Just like the contents of our main poster – where smaller groups are given equal weight to the headliners – everyone working for Primavera is a fundamental part of a complex gearbox,” says Soler.

Primavera Sound is still independently owned and run. While other city festivals are being pushed out to the fringe, this festival has harmonised its relationship with residents and authorities. “It’s important that we don’t turn our back on the city,” says Soler, whose inclusive approach has kept residents on side; a 2014 survey revealed that 91 per cent see the event as positive for the city.

Every year the team also experiments with new additions. This year will see new culinary line-up Primmmavera inviting 20 Barcelona restaurants to join the food area as part of pop-up diner Casa Primavera, which will be helmed by a different top chef each day. The directors’ shared passion for putting on the best possible show may add to the team’s workload but it’s also the spirit that keeps this sun-drenched festival as authentic as ever.

Alfonso Lanza, Pablo Soler & Alberto Guijarro

Founders and festival directors

 Having started Primavera Sound as a 7,000-spectator celebration of live music in Barcelona in 2001, founders Pablo Soler, Alberto Guijarro and Gabi Ruiza (who no longer lives in the city), alongside Alfonso Lanza, who came aboard later, have danced their gregarious get-together through two decades, securing a reputation as one of Europe’s premier summer festivals. Today the festival attracts more than 200,000 punters – half of whom make their annual pilgrimage from abroad – thanks to diverse headline acts such as Grace Jones, Sigur Rós and the Wu-Tang Clan. Held over five days in Barcelona starting at the end of May and then in Porto a week later, it features a 17.5-hour-long daily line-up. Together with its own record label El Segell, Primavera is still a festival exception, remaining independent despite the growing influence that corporate capital (and ownership) have on the world’s festival calendar. 

The Cabinet

Anna Morales Co-ordination

Xevi Pigem Co-ordination

María de la Fuente Social media

Joan Soley General co-ordinator
“He writes artist contracts, edits artwork, recruits staff or Skypes with a Chinese supplier at the crack  of dawn; he is always thinking and willing to help.”

Marc Peidró Co-ordination

Paloma Lizarraga Accounting

Carlos Gómez Accounting

Isa Cervera Production

Kasia Brychcy Production

Maxi Ruiz Production

Ferran Camarasa Hospitality and logistics

Carlota Gutiérrez Hospitality and logistics

Ana Ayala Graphic design

Charo Salas Personal assistant to direction

Elena Barreras Primavera Pro

Abel Suárez Bookings

Jaqueline Turolla Production management and artist liaison.
“As Primavera Sound kicks off Europe’s festival season, many artists like to rehearse in Barcelona. Jaqueline takes care of all their pre-production needs, including venues and looking after the artist riders.”

Abel González Bookings

Marc Pàmies Sponsorship

Arnau Sabaté Bookings

Alberto Ruiz Sponsorship

Victor Velasco Minimúsica

Pau Cristòful Bookings

Álvaro López Social media

Alba Gelabert Minimúsica

Núria Muntaner Minimúsica co-ordinator.
“Núria has been organising our minimúsica space, where parents and their children can enjoy the festival together, for 11 years.”

Barry Hogan Bookings

Joan Pons Press

Mirko Geest IT

Nuno Pessoa IT

David Parcerisa IT

Francis de León Bookings

Felipe Gómez IT

Estel Martínez Graphic design

Almudena Heredero Primavera Pro

Deborah Kee Higgins Primavera Pro

Gerard Casau Primavera Pro

Alfonso Lanza Director

Pablo Soler Director

Alberto Guijarro Director

Ainara González Bookings

Jose Mortola IT

Fra Soler Bookings

Raúl Jiménez El Segell del Primavera record label

Sonia Harris Translator

Aleix Ibars Press

Marta Pallarès Press

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