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Turn it up, DJ I © erkanyavas/Pixabay
Turn it up, DJ I © erkanyavas/Pixabay

Step Aside Berlin: Here's Why Barcelona Is the Music Capital of Europe for 2017

Picture of Tara Jessop
Updated: 17 May 2017

Berlin might have some of the most famous – and notoriously difficult to get in to – nightclubs in Europe, but Barcelona might just be the new music capital of 2017. From festivals to club nights, through to underground bars and concert halls, Spain’s characterful northern coastal city truly has it all – here’s why you should consider checking out the Catalan capital for your 2017 music fix. 

Barcelona hosts two of the best festivals worldwide

Whatever your preferred music of choice, Barcelona pretty much has it covered when it comes to festivals. Sónar is one of the largest and most revered festivals of its kind worldwide, attracting over 75,000 visitors over the course of the week-long celebration. The line-up always features the biggest names from the world of house, techno, electronica and EDM, and if you don’t get chance to see your favourite act during the festival, there’s a good chance you’ll catch them in one of the local clubs, as the ‘Off Sónar’ program is usually just as exciting as the main event.

As for Primavera Sound, it’s one of the most well-regarded live music festivals in Europe, attracting some of the best acts of the moment as well as legends of the music world. This year’s line-up includes acts as varied as Van Morrison, the XX, Seu Jorge, Bon Iver and Arab Strap. The concerts are all open-air and take place on the very edge of the Mediterranean by the Port Fórum and the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Poblenou.

The variety of clubs and music venues is seriously impressive

Whether it’s massive nightclubs or underground bars, Barcelona has some great places to hear live music. Razzmatazz is both the largest night-club in the city – containing five separate areas within it – and also a concert hall hosting regular live music acts. One of the quirkier venues in the city is known as the ‘Monasterio’ – a replica monastery located in the model village the Poble Espanyol.

Should you prefer something more intimate, the Gothic Quarter is home to a multitude of smaller venues which are more or less easy to stumble across depending on who you know. The mini-club Macarena is tucked away on a quiet backstreet and is no bigger than your front lounge, but has one of the friendliest atmospheres of any of the clubs around. Just the other side of the Rambla, MOOG is credited with introducing techno music to Barcelona back in the 1980s and still hosts some of the wildest parties today.

Brunch In The City is like a mini-festival every other weekend

Formerly known as Brunch Electronik, Brunch in the City takes place every other weekend from March to June and has made Sunday the new Saturday in Barcelona. A daytime affair, the gates open around 2pm and the whole thing is usually over by 10pm. During spring and autumn, the event takes place in the aforementioned Poble Espanyol, while during the summer it moves over to the Joan Brossa gardens on Montjuïc hill – at which point it is known as Brunch in the Park.

The event effectively means that Barcelona hosts a mini-festival every other week and brings some of the most talked about DJs of the moment to the city. This year’s line-up includes the likes of Joy Orbison, Maceo Plex, Bedouin and Motor City Drum Ensemble.

Brunch in the Park Courtesy of Brunch In –

Brunch in the Park I Courtesy of Brunch In the Park

To sum things up, Barcelona has very much established itself as one of the best places in the world to enjoy live music. The quality of its venues, the enthusiasm of the crowds and let’s face it, the sheer awesomeness of the city, continue to attract some of the biggest names and hottest acts of the moment to its stages. Berlin will undoubtedly continue to enjoy its legendary status as a party capital, but Barcelona is where’s its at in 2017.