Summer festivals are plentiful here and cater for all tastes and pockets. Pop, rock, classical, opera, contemporary dance, even poetry. Indoor and outdoor venues small and large. The choice is yours and it all happens during the long summer break. A fair number start late in the evening, so won’t interrupt your sun-bathing or siesta.
Some have been running for a very long time and attract audiences from near and far. Whilst many take place in Girona and the Costa Brava, I’ll also mention those near Barcelona and other parts of Catalonia.
El Grec (late August) Home grown and foreign theatrical and musical talent appear in this Barcelona based festival. www.lameva.barcelona.cat/grec
Festival de Torroella de Montgrí (August 1 – 19)
Classical music is the order of the day, in what is considered one of the three main classical music events that take place in the Emporda region every summer. A few international names with some recitals held inside churches.
Cap Roig Festival (July 12 – August 21) www.caproigfestival.com
Cute, chic Calella de Palafrugell must’ve felt like the cat that got the cream when it landed this gig. Set in botanical gardens overlooking the sea it bangs out beautiful sounds over 26 nights. A mix of Spanish stars and from abroad. Big international names like Sting, Elton John, Tony Bennet and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli have graced the stage. That usually means big prices, like about 200€, but I saw George Benson for about 50€ and Texas the same. The programme is released about early March so early booking is advised. My tip is to dress up and come early for pre-concert drinks and snacks. Cava by the bottle is a bit steep, 30€ last time.
Festival de Musica de Begur (July 27- August 24) www.festivalbegur.cat
Begur, a vibrant, well kept village lends itself to a music turn, like its Placa de la Vila. Long running established music festival, since 1977, promising quality, different music styles at accessible prices. In the past that’s included anything from pop to flamenco-that’s nice, but about as Catalan as cheese-on-toast.
Festival Castell de Peralada (July 4 -August 17)
Another firm favourite that crosses our radar to book early when its programme is advertised. An outdoor auditorium is erected in the grounds of this pocket-sized private castle. Posh patrons walk through the mature gardens, past its sauve lake with white swans. Same mix of national and international stars as Cap Roig, but with an extra dash of classical music, opera and dance. Bar and dining options are available, but we prefer to come early and choose somewhere else in the village. Cavas del Ampurdan is a wine shop with an outside terrace that also serves acceptable tapas dishes, just a stone’s throw from the castle. Post concert there’s an outdoor bar area with live music that we stop at to avoid the exit rush. Artists we’ve seen include Earth Wind and Fire, Roger Hodgson (Supertramp), Kool and the Gang and Simply Red.
If the music didn’t float your boat there’s a swanky casino next door to drown your sorrows. www.festivalperalada.com
Festival Nits de Classica (June 26 – July 30) Classical music, held in Girona’s modern venue next to La Devesa park. www.auditorigirona.org/nitsdeclassica
Festival Jardins de Pedralbes (until July 15) www.festivalpedralbes.com
Relatively small scale music festival in the Pedralbes area of Barcelona.
A temporary auditorium is set up inside these fine, landscaped palace gardens which also feature numerous food and drink areas. Again, a mix of domestic artists and from abroad. It all makes for an enjoyable night out, we saw the Gipsy Kings here back in 2019. British band Madness were billed for 2020 but postponed till the following year (Covid).
Portalblau festival (July 11 – August 9) www.portlblau.cat
Various venues around the seaside town of L’Escala are used for this event, even the Greco-Roman ruins at Empuries, for extra effect.
Festival de la Porta Ferrada (July 4 – August 20) Long running music festival held in St Feliu’s port area with some concerts in its football stadium.
Spanish artists and a fair few international bands and solo artists, with most concerts at reasonable prices. We almost made it here one year to see UK pop band Spandau Ballet, until they cancelled last minute. www.festivalportaferrada.cat
Pau Casals festival (July 12 – 23) www.auditoripaucasals.cat
Celebrating the music of Pau Casal, so classical performances from various soloists.
Estereofonics (June 1 – September 21) www.estereofonics.com
Largely free concerts and lots, the 5th edition had 82 over the span of 113 days. All happening in Castell-Platja d’Aro and S’Agaro.
Jornades Musicals a l’Ermita de la Petat d’Ulldecona (June 2 – August 25)
Festival Internacional de Musica d’Altafulla (August 5 – 27) www.altafulla.cat Another long-running classical music festival.
Sons del Mon (July 5 – August 3) www.sonsdelmon.com
Small and large venues in Castello d’Empuries and Roses. Some of the smaller performances take place in wineries.
White Summer (August 3 – 25) www.whitesummer.es
Near the medieval village of Pals. We went here when it first started, as an upmarket outdoor retail event with food stalls and music acts peppered throughout the month. Back then the entry fee was a few euros and the music acts so so. As its popularity grew the entry prices increased, for what we thought of was a predominantly retail event. It’s 8th edition offered a lot more shows, almost 80, a mix of music, theatre and dance.
Sonar (July 18 – 20) www.sonar.es
Barcelona based, electronic dance music, promising 140 shows spread over 9 stages.
Festival Pau Casals (July 25 – August 13) www.prades-festival-casals.com
More of this Catalan composer’s classical output from a festival that’s been running for almost 70 years. (Northern Catalonia).
Festival Internacional de Musica S’Agaro (July 20 – September 21) www.associaciopaucasal.cat
Classical music concerts held inside churches in S’Agaro and Sant Marti d’Empuries, no doubt for their acoustic appeal.
XXIII Festival Ple de Riure (July 23 – 27) www.plederiure.cat
Comedy festival in Mas Nou, a municipality in the province of Barcelona.
Planestiuja’t (July 6 – August 31) www.planestiuejat.cat
Saturday night concerts and food through these two summer months in the La Garrotxa region.
Festival Cambrils (July 25 – August 11) www.festivalcanbrils.com
International music festival with well over 45 editions, set in this coastal town in the county (comarca) of Baix Camp. province of Tarragona.
Festival Anolia (July 13 – 20) www.igualada.cat
Local artists feature in this programme of free concerts in Igualada, in the province of Barcelona
Bachcelona Festival (July 16 – 21) www.bachcelona.com
Classical music dedicated to German maestro Bach with inaugural concerts held at Barcelona’s Palau de Musica.
Festival de Musica de Sant Pere de Rodes (July 13 – 25) www.festivalsantpere.com This Romanesque monastery plays host to various classical pianists from home and abroad.
Festival Internacional de Guitarra (July 24 – 28) www.guitarfesthospitalet.cat Classical guitars galore in this part of Tarragona province.
Jazz Festival L’Estartit-Costa Brava (July 25 –28) www.jazzestartit.cat
Just 4 days and several performances is all the jazz you’ll get, in front of the Medes Islands next to L’Estartit.
San Miquel Mas i Mas Festival (July 30 – August 31) www.masimas.com
Held across five venues this Barcelona festival began in 2003, a mix of jazz, blues and soul, backed by the brewer San Miguel.
Festival de Sant Pere de Casseres (until July 27) www.santperedecasseres.cat Poetry every Saturday in July, in this old Benedictine monastery.
Notes al Parc (until July 27) www.girona.cat Girona’s parks and gardens provide the venues for free concerts throughout July. A nice range of music from pop, hip-hop, electronic, rock, rap and folk.
BioRitme Festival (July 22 – 25) www.bioritmefestival.org Set in the Sau reservoir and billed as ‘a space to share committed music for a better world’. This means all the stalls and bars are 100 percent organic, with workshops and talks on environmental conservation.
Festival de Musica Antiga Poblet (August 16 – 18) www.fundaciocima.org
Five baroque music concrete, over three days in the Santa Maria monastery.
Arts d’Estiu (July 27 – August 25) www.artsdestiu.com Music concerts next to the beach, spread between the municipalities of Pineda de Mar and Santa Susanna, near Barcelona.
Sant Cugat al Descobert (until September 27) www.cugat.cat A well to do satellite town near Barcelona which hosts about 35 cultural events, in various areas. Not just music, but visual arts and theatre.
Festival de Musica Antiga dels Pirineus (unti August 25) www.femap.cat
A large scale affair with over 35 towns in the Catalan Pyrenees hosting various Baroque music.
Garrigues Guitar Festival (until August 24) www.garriguitar.com A guitar festival started in 2012 to honour the memory of classical guitarist and composer Emili Pujol. Guitar workshops run alongside, and it also promotes local gastronomy and heritage.
Poesia I + (until July 14) www.poesiaimes.cat A festival devoted to mostly poetry, with a bit of music.
Sons Solers (July 17) www.sonssolers.cat Held in the natural surroundings of the Sant pere de Ribes estate it’s very much a celebration of music of Catalan origin.
Tempo Sota les Estrelles (July 18 – August 11) www.tempogirona.com
Loosely translated as ‘time beneath the stars’. A small-scale, top quality food and music festival in Girona’s old quarter, opposite the Arab Baths. Large outdoor terraces are transformed with a small stage surrounded by seating, bar and food stands. Free and paid concerts with home grown talent, and from abroad. On balmy, summer non-music nights just come for a drink and a bite to eat.
Festival Jardins de Terramar Sitges (July 19 – 04 August) www.festivaljardinsterramar.com Another large garden area is used as a temporary outdoor arena to host a mix of international and Spanish artists, and groups. Take a relaxed stroll through the manicured grounds with plenty of food and drinks stands, plus various retail stalls. We went in 2019 for George Benson and spent an extra few days here. Sophisticated Sitges, near Bacelona has good beaches, very lively and popular with the gay community.