In the past I’ve felt something of a euphoria thanks to Primavera Sound, so although I didn’t go this year, I remember the pain when the double host with Madrid was announced. Then the statements of the director Gaby Ruiz began to make the rounds, a sinister type who blackmailed the city more clumsily with every intervention. Then came the organizational omissions gyrization Outliers and a sense of fuzziness from repeating over two weekends. Today there is no trace of the great enthusiasm that made Primavera fans unbearable at other times. Fear of losing the festival, not much.
The vague countercultural mystique that shrouded the Primavera Sound has worn away over the years, as has the view of the world it represented. Musically, the original idea was to find that cute interface in between mainstream and the Culturewhat we call in a symptomatically distant time hipster. Politically, it was an ode to late Maragallismo, the Barcelona getting beautiful, the creative classes of [email protected] and progressiveism washing the face of the market economy. So cosmopolitan and rootless, it came as no surprise that the event moved from Poble Espanyol to the Fòrum de les Cultures.
Millennials and Social Democracy are now in cultural bankruptcy, viewed as gadgets from a wrong era, two news shows where a young (of the real one) says, “OK, millennial“. First of all, the new generations prefer the appeal the far right or the far left, strong ideologies that promise victories where center liberalism has failed. On the other hand, the rhetoric of posturing and accumulating authentic experiences is totally downward. The contemporary sentiment is to curate much looser and more discreet digital identities whose fetish word is “normal”.
And then there is the problem of carbon in the atmosphere. In 2017, Coldplay announced they were quitting touring (the most recent tour ended with 122 concerts across five continents) and on the night of the American Music Awards they inaugurated, Gen Z musical icon Billy Eilish wore a T- Shirt with the inscription “No music on a dead planet“. No one wants to condemn festivals as ecological bonfires, but a relocated macro event where there are more tourists than locals is becoming increasingly outdated.
Now that the decline is evident and the end is almost in sight, let’s compare it all to the greatest festival of all time. If he summer of love von Woodstock is remembered because it was a ritual in which the political utopianism of the 1960s found its brilliance. Primavera Sound will never evoke such nostalgia because it is the product of a post-political era in which culture capitulated to an absurd neoliberal vision. If it’s typical of Woodstock that a lot of people who didn’t go say they did, at Primavera Sound it will be the other way around.
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