Barcelona’s local festival is on from 22 to 25 September and this year spreads to more neighbourhoods in the city. La Mercè 2017 looks to decentralise festivities further this year, with neighbourhoods taking on greater prominence and the Parc de Nou Barris and the Parc de Sant Martí featuring for the first time. Reykjavik is the guest city and has a strong presence in a programme which will also use the start of the music and fireworks spectacular to pay homage to the victims of the attack on La Rambla.
Festivities get under way with the opening speech by Marina Garcés on Friday 22 September and carry on through until the night of Monday 25, rounding off with the music and fireworks spectacular in Av. Reina Maria Cristina. The final event also includes a tribute to the victims of the attack on La Rambla, with a performance of John Lennon’s Imagine, accompanied by the crowd as they colour Av. Reina Maria Cristina blue with sparklers.
Apart from music and fireworks, fire and light also feature with the 20th International Fireworks Festival. As on other occasions, the City Council will be offering a light show, this year based on the world of dance.
Art and popular culture
This year’s opening ceremony includes stick dancing, the fire run, the festival parade, dancing by dwarf and giant figures, sardana dancing, the human towers gathering and many more activities linked to tradition and designed for the public to watch and join in.
Once again this year, the Mercè Arts de Carrer (MAC) will be a privileged showcase for street arts, circus, dance, theatre and technology, with a line-up of local and international talent at various places around the city. Over the four-day festival, the MAC will be offering over a hundred shows. Montjuïc Castle will be hosting circus acts and the activity in the Parc de la Ciutadella will also extend to Passeig Lluís Companys. The Parc de Sant Martí turns this year’s edition of La Mercè into a little paradise of family activities, while at the Parc de la Trinitat, the Mac is inviting spectators themselves to be part of circus acts, hip-hop and even monologues. Elsewhere, at the Palauet Albéniz there is a three day programme, and finally the Old Damm Factory will also be offering performances as part of the MAC.
Extensive music programme
The music programme for La Mercè 2017 includes the alternative rhythms offered by the Barcelona Acció Musical, as well as the sounds of classical symphony formations. The Plaça Major de Nou Barris becomes a new space for festivities and will host classical music from the likes of the Barcelona Municipal Band and the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra – The National Orchestra of Catalonia (OBC).
The BAM – Cultura Viva space at the Fabra i Coats, in Sant Andreu, brings together live music and new forms of understanding music and communities, while a new family music section will also take place in the Parc de Sant Martí.
The full programme can be found on the website for La Mercè or using the smartphone app.