Sunday seemed like the calm after the storm, and after long ambles, it was another bicycle ride up to Poble Espanyol, which was built in 1929 by architects Francesc Folguera and Ramon Reventós as an open air architectural museum. It closely resembles a castle really, and is a perfect and quite romantic setting for concerts; so having been denied Caribou at the beginning of the festival it was lovely to catch Mercury Rev performing Deserter Songs at the ultimate end of it. The atmosphere was very relaxed, and there was a real sense of joy about the night, which was evident in Jonathan Donahue’s mood and general manner, he simply seemed happy to be alive, and the band rumbled through their fourth record, with ‘Holes’ and ‘The Funny Bird’ as sparkling highlights.
One thing that struck me as we reluctantly came home was how lucky we are in Ireland to be able to see so many of these musicians quite regularly, and how many have played on our shores in the last year alone; yet in times of financial distress, something like Primavera Sound comes along and manages to gather up such a diverse set of voices into one beautiful city, over a short period of time, quite inexpensively. With different organisations from all over the world involved; Pitchfork, ATP and several others, it seems like a huge collective effort.
The best stage of the entire festival was probably Pitchfork, the programming really seemed to work so well, and bodes positively for their further excursions into international festival events (they are landing in Paris on the October Bank Holiday weekend for a two day festival curated by Bon Iver, which looks great), and technological issues aside, the festival mainly gets it right; it is accessible, friendly and quality-led, something that is not lost on the musicians or audience, and there is a real union between the two. On Sunday evening, during Mercury Rev’s encore, Donahue shouted excitedly, “you’ve got the best festival in the world here!”, and it’s not just that he genuinely seemed to mean it, but that he is probably right.