A VISIT TO PRIMAVERA SOUND FESTIVAL 2011
Primaverasound has gained a reputation for having the best line up of any music festival in the calendar and this year was no exception, with Pulp choosing the venue for their first comeback show, as well as performances from legendary influential artists like Suicide, PIL, John Cale and Pere Ubu.
There were a few teething problems on the first night including massive queues for the bars as organisers thought it would be a good idea to use top up Oyster style cards for payments which unfortunately didn't work, leaving punters thirsty - and increasingly tetchy - for the first few hours until cash bars were hurriedly set up.
There were also noticeably more people than previous years which was making me nervous: had my favourite festival reached a tipping point?
I decided to head to one of the smaller stages to check out some new international bands for Introducing.
The Adidas Originals stage was the place to hear new artists from around the world, showcasing bands from Spain, Canada, Chile, Poland, Austria, Brazil, Australia and the UK.
First up BBC Introducing favourites Bearsuit from Norwich, who pulled in a decent crowd for their Thursday night slot.
And then I watched a set by five-piece rock outfit The Car Is On Fire from Poland, who played an enjoyable set swapping their instruments and encouraging some interesting crowd participation.
Other highlights from Thursday included the much talked-about new duo Cults, then Ducktails, Caribou, and on the bigger stages Grinderman, Big Boi, PIL and Suicide - the latter performing their debut album in its entirety.
One of the great things about the festival is the warm Barcelona night air which continues well into the early hours, no jacket required! Then instead of passing out in a stuffy tent you can retreat to the comfort of your hotel or apartment bed and revitalise yourself for the next late night/early morning.
PrimaveraSound is a great chance to see new emerging talent on small stages, this year curated by Pitchfork, Vice and ATP.
So on Friday, to a Canadian showcase with a new band called No Joy who channel MBV shoegaze with Sonic Youth guitar lines; Laura and Jasamine provide the guitars vocals (and hair!)
Then back to the Adidas Originals stage to see a band from Galicia called Garotas Suecas who make a joyful noise with keyboards, adding a modern twist on their blues-driven riffs - some nice harmonica work too.
Other highlights from the night were a peaceful interlude with James Blake over on the Pitchfork Stage and of course 6 Music's very own Jarvis Cocker wowing the Spanish and very Brit-filled audience with the first of Pulp's comeback shows.
On the final day we tracked down an Austrian band called Frances International Airport who we've been playing on the show for an interview. They told us about what the new band scene is like in Vienna (which you can hear in this week's show).
First memorable performance of the night was from Hackney band Yuck, in the early evening sunshine on the ATP stage.
A quick dash over to see Fresh on The Net favourites Tuneyards Merrill Garbus providing an amazing show, looping her voice live and playing tracks from new album Whokill. Then a very long walk to Warpaint who played on the new Llevant stage. Their hypnotic, meandering sound works well in a festival setting but I was disappointed not to see them on a different stage later in the evening as the large Llevant didn't feel intimate enough for them.
Other highlights included PJ Harvey who drew one of the biggest crowds of the weekend with a 'Let England Shake'-centric set.
Then off to Suicide Of Western Culture, and finally an exhilarating performance from LA rap collective Odd Future, complete with stage diving and a full-on stage invasion with the hyped-up,chanting audience refusing to leave the stage.
Despite the crowds and the excessive corporate branding this year, the festival still retains a laid back atmosphere and for music fans (and probably most 6 Music listeners) the line up is probably the best you will find on the festival circuit. I'm hoping that PrimaveraSound will retain its uniqueness and eclectric line ups and not become victim of its own success.