Things to do in Barcelona, Spain - major events and music festivals in Barcelona 2014

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Barcelona, the capital of the Spanish region of Catalonia, is one of the most popular tourist destinations worldwide.

The city offers an amazing array of attractions, capable to cater for interests and needs of every type of visitor, amongst them monumental architecture, exquisite choice of museums, vibrant night life, excellent beaches of Costa Brava and last but not least, great year-round weather.

To make your stay in Barcelona even more interesting, find below information on the major events and festivals to take place in Barcelona in 2014.

Music events Barcelona 2014

Primavera Sound Festival Barcelona 2014
First held in 2001, the Primavera Sound Festival is a prime event for a wide range of music genres. In the previous editions, the festival brought to Barcelona performers such as Sonic Youth, Lou Reed, the Smashing Pumpkings, Portishead, Pet Shop Boys and The Cure. For the Primavera Sound Festival Barcelona line-up see the festival’s official website. In 2014, Primavera Sound Festival will take place in 29-31 May. The venue is, as in the previous year, Parc del Fòrum in the Sant Martí district of Barcelona.

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Barcelona Sónar Festival 2014
International Festival of Advanced Music and Multimedia Art, known shortly as Sónar is a broad spectrum event comprising multimedia expositions and installations, workshops and conferences during day time and electronic music concerts by night. The line-up of the 21st edition of Barcelon Sónar Festival, to be held between 12-14 June, include world-renowned names of electro music, amongst them Massive Attack, Woodkid, Jon Hopkins, amongst others.

Barcelona Jazz Festival
Jazz music fans  visiting Barcelona in late October/early December will have multiple opportunities to assists jazz concerts held in different venues of the city, amongst them Palau de la Musica, BARTs (Barcelona Arts on Stage) Theatre and Ciutadella Park.  The events featuring world class jazz performers are organized under the banner of Barcelona Voll-Damm International Jazz Festival

Religious and popular culture events Barcelona, Catalonia
Although the regions of the Spanish southern coast appear to be less religious than the country’s central and northern areas,  many of the most popular festivities of Catalonia derive from the Spanish catholic tradition.

Barcelona Carnival 2014 - Barcelona Carnestoltes
Forbidden during the times of Franco dictatorship, celebrations of Carnival, known locally as Carnestoltes, are one of the most colourful traditions of Catalonia combining both religious and popular tradition. Although not as exuberant as the Carnivals of Rio de Janeiro or Venice, the Carnival festivities in Barcelona  are extremely popular amongst both locals and tourists. While in the past years the central venue of Barcelona Carnival used to be Gran Rua de Carnaval (the Great Carnival Street) where the main parade was held, since 2012 the celebrations have spread all across the city. At the street fiestas held in different neighbourhoods of Barcelona the visitors have a chance to get to know the Catalonian tradition in its purest form, dance to the folk music and try the local dishes.  In 2014, Barcelona Carnival will be held between 27 February (Fat Thursday- Jueves Lardero) and 5 March (Ash Wednesday).

El Feile - Barcelona St. Patrick’s celebrations
Due to the significant number of tourists, as well as residents from Ireland and the UK on Costa Brava, a lot of effort is put into the celebrations of the Irish St. Patrick’s Day in Barcelona. During the week of 17th March, music, dance and sports (including football, rugby and hurling) events are held in different venues across the city.

Easter in Barcelona - Holly Week in Catalonia
Easter period is a rather quiet time in Barcelona, marked mostly by religious events starting with the traditional and very picturesque processions of the Palm Sunday held in any major church across the city. Please note, that most of the tourists attractions in Barcelona will have reduced visiting hours during the Holly Week (in 2014 from 13 April to 21 April) and will most likely be closed on Friday preceding Easter, as well as on Easter Sunday and Monday. As a tourist in Barcelona you will surely enjoy the display of chocolate goods that goes well beyond the traditional Easter egg. Surprisingly elaborate chocolate sculptures are sold in most of the cafés and patisseries during Easter time in Barcelona.

St. George’s Day Barcelona - Sant Jordi
Celebrations of St. George, the patron saint of Catalonia on 23 April are particularly interesting and picturesque in Barcelona. On that day, red and gold, the colours of the Catalan flag cover the city, and so do roses, as  according to the legend of the dragon-slaying St. George, the drops of dragon’s blood would turn into roses. Much like on St. Valentine’s Day, during the St. George’s festivities, men offer women red roses and – here is the local touch, heard to explain by St. George’s legend - receive books in return. St. George’s Day (or Sant Jordi) is the best day to buy books in Barcelona, as the bookstores will usually offer significant discounts. Traditionally, the center of St. George’s Day festivities is La Rambla, the pedestrian street in the very centre of Barcelona, favourite with tourists and locals.

Nit de Sant Joan - St. John’s Night Barcelona
The feast of St. John the Baptist, celebrated in Barcelona on every 23 June is not for the faint hearted. On the night of the midsummer solstice hundreds of firework display and firecrackers can be seen - and heard - in all of the city’s neighbourhood, although the central celebrations, gathering crowds of as much as 75.000 take place by the ocean, on Barcelona beaches. The street parties and bonfires of the St. John’s night are very animated and noisy, thus, not the most recommendable place to be for families with small children. 

All Saint’s Day Barcelona - La Castanyada
The celebration of the All Saint’s Day in Catalonia is known as La Castanyada for the traditional meal of castanyas, roasted chestnuts, panellets, small treats of almond paste and pine nuts and moniatos, roasted sweet potatoes.  The chestnuts are sold from the charcoal grills which appear on the streets of Barcelona already in October, when the chestnuts are in season. Although the ‘imported’ tradition of Halloween costume parties and trick-or-treating is gaining popularity in Barcelona, much like anywhere else in Europe, the traditional way of celebrating the All Saint’s Day in Catalonia is visiting the cemeteries and decorating the graves with flowers and lights.

Les Festes de La Mercè Barcelona
Early autumn is a great time of the year to visit Barcelona. With the still excellent weather and less tourist crowds you can fully enjoy the beaches as well as the vibrant cultural life of the city. In September do not miss out on Les Festes de La Mercè, the celebrations of Barcelona’s patron saint are held simultaneously in many different neighoubrhoods of the city. The Merce Festival  includes street parties, parades, firework display, traditional folk dance, sardana and endless nights of tapas and sangria in open-air restaurants.

Read more about Festes de la Mercè Barcelona.

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Sports events in Barcelona

Zurich Marató de Barcelona - Barcelona Marathon
The Barcelona Marathon, originally known as Marató de Catalunya was first held in Barcelona in 1978, having gained over the years the fame of one of the most prestigious events of this kind in Spain. The route of the full 42,2 km run includes them most emblematic locations of the city, amongst them Plaça d’Espanya and the Sagrada Familia church. The 2014 edition of Barcelona Marathon is scheduled for Sunday, 16th of March. Find out how to sign-up for Zurich Barcelona Marathon. If you are driving in Barcelona on the day of the run, please expect major traffic diversions to affect most of the city centre.

Basketball World Cup Barcelona 2014
Barcelona is one of the six cities to host the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. The matches scheduled to take place in Barcelona will be held in the iconic Palau Sant Jordi pavilion in late August and early September. Find more information on the site of FIBA (International Basketball Federation) website. 

Barcelona Harley Days
The capital of Catalonia is the venue for Europe’s largest gathering of Harley Davidson lovers.  The three-day event attracts thousands of motorbike owners and H-D enthusiasts from all over the world, as well as spectators, locals and tourists. The starting point of the motorcycle parade is traditionally Plaça d’Espanya in the very centre of Barcelona, but accompanying events, amongst them expositions, demo rides, concerts and activities for children - take place in several locations across the city. 

Fira Barcelona - trade fairs calendar 2014
While Barcelona is considered to be a city of culture and tourism, it also plays and important role in the development of the Spanish economy.

With over 120 years of trade fairs tradition, Barcelona is home to one  of the most recognizable European fair trade institutions and business exposition centres in Europe - Fira Barcelona. Amongst the most important events organized by Fira Barcelona are: Mobile World Congress,  International Motor Show Barcelona, Business Travel, Congress and Incentive Show, International Boat Show of Barcelona and many, many more.

See the calendar of Fira Barcelona trade shows.

Barcelona Fashion Show
Promoted by the Catalan Business, Handcraft and Fashion Consortium, together with Barcelona City Council, the 080 Barcelona Fashion Show is one of the most important events for designers and textile industry professional s in Catalonia. The fashion shows are held twice a year, featuring the spring/summer and autumn/winter collections.

Find out more about 080 Barcelona Fashion Show.

Barcelona LGBT events - Pride Barcelona
The capital of Costa Brava is venue for one of the most important events for the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community in the Mediterranean. Attracting thousands of participants from Spain and abroad, Pride Barcelona comprises the traditional parade, street entertainment, debate platforms and sport events, amongst them running race against homophobia.  The 2014 edition of Pride Barcelona will run from 27 to 29 June.

A smaller-scale event, yet quite recognizable on the European LGBT scene is the Carnival of Sitges. A small coastal town of Sitges, located approx. 20 miles southwest of Barcelona is most known for its Film Festival and the Sitges Gay Carnival which takes place four days before the regular Sitges Carnival celebrations.

Things to do in Barcelona, Spain - major events and music festivals in Barcelona 2014
Article: Things to do in Barcelona, Spain - major events and music festivals in Barcelona 2014
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