Last week, Primavera Sound was in full swing in Barcelona, Spain. The festival, which began June 2, concluded its first weekend on Saturday, June 4. Unfortunately, the first day of this year’s run didn’t go as well as everyone hoped.
On June 2nd, social media was flooded with accounts from festival goers about the lack of organization. From long waits in beverage lines (some waited over an hour to order beer or water), unsanitary conditions (backed up public bathrooms), and overcrowded sets, many fans were disgruntled about their experience.
— 44soy (@44soy44) June 2, 2022
A big issue seemed to be lack of staffing, impacting drink lines and crowd control during sets. If anyone’s been to a festival before, you know that absolute necessities are hydration and being able to move from stage to stage in a safe way. Not having these measures can be dangerous and lead to dehydration, as well as injuries.
The head of international press for Primavera, Marta Pallarès, confirmed to NME that staffing shortages and technical difficulties collecting card payments were part of the problem. However, more staff were being hired, and free water stations were being added, as well as a re-working of distribution.
COVID is definitely playing a role here, too. Pallarès cites the pandemic as a reason for the shortages and difficulties. Not only that, but Bleachers and The Strokes had to drop out of their sets due to positive cases within the bands.
On day 2, Primavera social media accounts apologized with a vow to improve conditions. “We are aware of the problems in the bar services yesterday and we apologize for them,” a tweet read. “We are working tirelessly to solve them so that we can all enjoy the coming days as we deserve. See you this afternoon.”
Today marks the second day of Primavera Sound. We are aware of the problems in the bar services yesterday and we apologize for them. We are working tirelessly to solve them so that we can all enjoy the coming days as we deserve. See you this afternoon.
— Primavera Sound (@Primavera_Sound) June 3, 2022
And it looks like Primavera organizers came through. The Twitter account featured an updated map of the festival grounds, along with the caption, “We hear you: we have added 3 free water points in the venue alongside the 3 we already have. Thank you for helping us to improve.”
It’s always unfortunate when festivals have unsafe conditions, but it’s not often we see festivals take full responsibility for the shortcomings and actively work to make things better. Granted, this should be a mainstay in festival culture, but it’s great to see Primavera Sound work to improve things as the event continues. Other fests, take note.
Photo via Xavi Torrent/WireImage