Every year, around September 24th, Barcelona celebrates La Mercè, patron saint of the city, and its Festa Major.
A festival of festivals, it draws together between 1.500.000 and 2.000.000 people during its week-long run.
Festivities, cultural and artistic, take place throughout the city in differing public spaces.
La Mercè transforms Barcelona into a grand stage bursting with fantasy and imagination.
Creativity is the driving force behind it, traditions its roots, and music an outstanding voice. over 600 activities and shows go on during the week with more than 2000 artists and professionals taking part.
The wide artistic endeavour embodies the city’s values. a key element is the involvement of a large number of local groups and associations, with spon- sorship andcollaboration from private companies. all events are free.
La Mercè aims to be a reflection of the city itself – enterprising, creative and inventive. Barcelona is a city moving forward with a search for innovation and evolution. the Festival manages to maintain its qual- ity while at the same time it is searching for and pre- senting new trends.
La Mercè has an artistic program, with street theatre as the outstanding feature.
Dance, circus, bands, fringe, and touring shows make up the bulk of the events; in the evenings, large format installations that combine light and new technology are integrated with fire traditions and pyrotechnic displays.
All in all, it is a proposal of public nature that not only wants to get the magic of performance closer to peo- ple’s differing interests, but also to try more risky, daring and challenging artistic experiences.
This major artistic event has consolidated Barcelo- na’s position over the last years as the perfect meet- ing point for programmers and artists, and in this way has become one of the best stages on which to see some of the most brilliant artistic expression of the moment, right at the beginning of the season.
The Festa Major -a celebration which goes back more than two-hundred years. La Mercè wants to capture the character of the city itself, a Barcelona which keeps renewing itself and opening up to the world.
Over the last few years, one of the most important processes has been to rework the traditions with modern elements – the result being a folklore that is much more accessible to today’s citizens of Barce- lona.
The most traditional events reflect catalonia’s pop- ular culture as a whole. the toc d’inici (the start of the festival), the parade of the giants, the castellers (human castles), the sardanes and other dances, the correfoc (fire-run) and the street parades with bas- toners (stick dancers), grallers (a kind of oboe) and trabucaires (carrying blunderbusses), bring around 600,000 people onto the city streets, making our traditional programme one of the largest public events in the whole of europe.
Barcelona has always been a city with a wide and diverse musical culture, as a result of which, music plays a major role during la Mercè. the musical events are divided into, on the one hand, a programme of popular concerts for the general audience, and on the other, the independent music festival BaM
(Barcelona acció Musical).
BaM, brings together more than 70 musical events on ten different stages, and has a massive response from an audience of almost 500,000 people year after year. at the same time, la Mercè presents a series of popular concerts for the general audience, with na- tionally and internationally known pop and rock artists. Among that, a program recently started stands out, with a stage dedicated to jazz music, combining international stars with up and coming artists.
Barcelona is an open city, a meeting point, a melting pot of cultures, origins and beliefs, that have left a mark in the history of our land. La Mercè encloses the Guest City program aimed to bringing Barcelona’s people closer to the different cultures with which they coexist. Through this parallel program, a city from somewhere else in the world is invited to present its culture and its top artistic proposals.
The cities of Medellin (Colombia), Quito (Ecuador), Istanbul (Turkey), Dakar (Senegal), Saint Petersburg (Russia), Montreal (Quebec-Canada), Vienna (Austria), Stockholm (Sweden) and Buenos Aires (Argentina) have already shared the magic and quality of their top avant-garde artists in music, theatre, dance and film, as well as their most representative traditional expressions with the people of Barcelona. The stages of Barcelona become a great showcase for the guest city to present its culture to Catalan society.
The whole of Barcelona is ready to take part in its Festa Major More than 200 groups and associations led by the Barcelona
City Council’s Institute of Culture are part of the festival’s organizing team
Almost 30 major companies are sponsors or collaborators…
More information: https://www.barcelona.cat/lamerce/en