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"The New Normal" at Primavera Sound

Photo Credit: Primavera Sound

Primavera Sound is a festival that is unique in many more ways than one. This year it made headlines with its focus on recycling and sustainability, as well, more importantly, having a gender balanced line-up. It is the first festival to ever have a 50-50 split line-up between male and female performers. However, the best part of the festival is that none of its efforts seem forced. The female acts headlining were incredibly worthy of their spots and at as further proof that women are just as important, if not more important, in the music industry. The tagline of the festival is “The New Normal” and that is just what it is. Genres blend together, artists challenge the norms of what is accepted on a sunny coast in Barcelona where everyone, regardless of race, gender and sexuality, is gathered together in their love for music.

The early hours of the festival saw the performances of Soccer Mommy and Clairo – artists that exude confidence and coolness despite their young age. Both of the artists got their start producing their own songs on the internet as pioneers of what has trivially been referred to as "bedroom pop", yet their stage presence and tremendous talent proves that they should not be reduced to that.

Once the sun started setting over Barcelona, it was time for icons like Erykah Badu and Christine and the Queens to perform. Christine was definitely one of the highlights of the festival as her energy captivated the audience. Before ending her set, Christine screamed “I’m short, I’m tiny and I’m angry” before closing the show with Intranquilité. Christine’s set was filled with contemporary dance and her distinctly French persona was rife with poetic musings and celebrations of queerness and difference. Christine came back to the stage during Charli XCX’s performance to debut a new song, Gone. Charli is known for collaborating with innovative artists in the pop sphere and this duet encapsulated just what pop music should be.

Photo Credit: Primavera Sound

Day 2 was another day showcasing powerful female artists with performances from Carly Rae Jepsen – the internet’s favourite pop princess. This was followed no more than five minutes after by Janelle Monaé. Although Monaé is clearly a household name, it seems as though she does not get enough credit for all the work she puts into her music. Her set incorporated a multitude of costume changes and interludes were spent encouraging affirmations of love and inclusivity whilst denouncing the United States’ government. More than anything, her show was a celebration of queer black women and the power they have. Her art is clearly proof of the importance of interlacing art and politics and another demonstration of just how much representation matters.

Photo Credit: Primavera Sound

The last day of the festival had what could only be described as one of the most blasphemous clashes of all time with Rosalía, Lizzo and Solange’s performances all overlapping. Rosalía, for those who have not yet been introduced, is slowly becoming a global phenomenon. Her music has a distinct flamenco twist to it, due to her classical music training, but still perfectly incorporates the energy and modernity of pop music. Earlier this year, she played Coachella but the energy brought to her home turf in Spain is unparalleled. The crowd enthusiastically chanted back the lyrics to her as she performed with both charisma and coolness. Three songs in, Rosalia brings out James Blake to perform Barefoot in the Park, their duet released earlier this year, to which the crowd was rendered silent. Rosalía encapsulates the feeling of Primavera with utter perfection. The night continues with Lizzo’s energetic performance that preaches self-acceptance with such joy and charisma that it is impossible to leave her set without feeling like you are worth the world.

Photo Credit: Primavera Sound

The whole experience at Primavera Sound managed to encapsulate just what a music festival should be, a place of acceptance,embracing the difference and making it normal. Music is not just straight white men strumming their guitars, it is about challenging the norms of what should be accepted, it is teenage girls making their own music to translate their feelings of boredom, it is marginalised women celebrating themselves and everyone who resembles them, it is merging traditional culture and history in a world that seems only focused with modernity. Music is everything and Primavera Sound proves it better than anybody else.

Edited by Evangeline Stamford, Digital Editor

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