The programme for Barcelona’s annual festival includes more than 600 proposals and will take to the streets from the 19th to the 24th of September
Once again, Barcelona prepares for its annual festival. La Mercè 2014 will begin on Friday the 19th of September and finish on Wednesday the 24th, the Feast Day of Our Lady of Mercy, the city’s co-patron. The programme for this year’s celebration includes more than 600 activities and performances, including music, street art, popular culture, circus and dance, among other disciplines, and will be distributed throughout the city’s most emblematic venues. This year’s inaugural address will be given by the activist in the area of voluntary social work, Núria Gispert, and the poster has been designed by artist Ignasi Alballí.
During the six days of the festival the streets of Barcelona will be home to a host of traditional elements, including the festival parade (Seguici festiu), historical bestiary, the city’s emblematic eagle (Àliga de la Ciutat), knights on human horses (Cavallets Cotoners), devils, human tower builders (castellers), human figure builders (falcons), fire runners (correfocs), and traditional dance groups (esbarts and sardanistes). This year’s highlights will include the 30th anniversary of the Coordinadora de Gegants de Barcelona (the Barcelona Giants Association), with an exhibition of giants on the Avinguda de les Drassanes, the La Mercè Parade, a recreation the city’s most significant festivals that will take place between Santa Eulàlia and Sant Joan, and the dances offered by the sardanistes and esbarts (traditional dance troupes) in the Palaulet Albéniz, coinciding with this year’s nomination of Barcelona as the capital of the sardana (a traditional circular dance).
Throughout the day and well into the night the Parc de la Ciutadella will play host to the Mercè Street Art Festival (MAC), a multiple-stage area distributed throughout the park which include the parade of the Til·lers al Parlament, water fountains and the Umbracle, a tropical greenhouse. There will also be an artistic recreation of the original Ciutadella theme park of the early 20th century, sound and light installations and numerous offerings of local cuisine.
As usual, the Castell de Montjuïc will host the MAC contemporary circus performances, which, this year, total roughly thirty productions from around the world. In a similar vein, the public cultural centre, Ateneu Popular 9Barris, will present six international and local trapeze, pole, juggling and tight-rope-walking productions in the moat of the former Santa Eulàlia castle.
The guest city for this year’s La Mercè Festival is Stockholm and the Swedish capital has programmed a series of interesting proposals that include street art, circus, dance and music which will be distributed throughout the festival venues. Highlights include the projections onto the façade of the Ajuntament using mapping, entitled Barcekholm 3D, a combined circus in the Castell, magic and dance performances in La Ciutadella or the night of Swedish music programmed as part of the BAM festival.
The music programme for La Mercè can be consulted here and includes a total of 91 concerts by bands from 15 countries. The Mercè Música programme will take place in the Plaça de Catalunya, Plaça de Sant Jaume and the Avinguda de la Catedral, with the addition this year of a new night-time stage. On the night of the 23rd this privileged location on Bogatell Beach will host performances by Manel, Txarango and La Troba and Kung-Fú. The 22nd edition of BAM, meanwhile, will take place on stages in the Plaça dels Àngels, Plaça de Joan Coromines, the Moll de la Fusta and the Antiga Fàbrica Damm and will feature artists and bands such as Javiera Mena, Blouse, Young Fathers, Lust for Youth, Seward, Mishima and Klaxons. El Fòrum will host a combination of BAM and Mercè Música concerts, while radio stations will present their usual concerts on the Avinguda de Maria Cristina. Orchestras such as the OBC, The Barcelona Municipal Band and the Gran Teatre del Liceu Orchestra and Chorus will perform on the Avinguda de la Catedral.
As is customary, the Mercè musical fireworks display will put the closing touches to the festival and, this year, will also mark the end of Barcelona’s tercentenary celebrations with a display recreating 300 years of Barcelona’s history with tributes to creators the stature of Gaudí, Dalí, Pau Casals and Joan Miró and a homage to the Catalan language throughout the ages, from Ausiàs March to Miquel Martí i Pol.
An app that allows you to have all the festival information at hand on your Smartphone can be downloaded from the Mercè 2014 website. The app also allows you to share photographs of Mercè 2014 via Twitter and Instagram, identifying the photos with hashtag #Moments Mercè. Prior registration is required here.
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