La Mercè 2020: everything you need to know for a unique edition

La Mercè. This year’s city festival will have limited audience capacities, offer more decentralised events and be able to be followed from home.

We’ll be celebrating La Mercè 2020 from 23 to 27 September. Barcelona annual festival has had to be reinvented because of the COVID-19 crisis, with limited audience capacities, greater decentralisation of events to be enjoyed during the daytime and a focus on talent local.

Barcelona and its residents are the star attractions at the Mercè 2020, which will be extending to the city’s ten districts to enable access to it while limiting mobility. For the first time the celebration events will be reaching neighbourhoods such as La Marina del Prat Vermell, Les Roquetes and Ciutat Meridiana as well as spaces such as Park Güell, the Hospital de Sant Pau Modernista complex, La Model prison and the Teatre Grec.

Commitment to local programmes

In all, 380 events will be held around 35 venues and 60 stages, with limited audience capacities, prior bookings and the possibility of following some through Betevé or online. La Mercè 2020’s activities include re-scheduled shows from the Quinzena de la Dansa Metropolitana, Món Llibre and the Grec festival, as explained in the first shock plan for supporting Barcelona’s cultural fabric that was launched in the city. In addition, there will be a presentation of 100%-made-in-Barcelona productions hailing from the Ateneu Popular 9 Barris, Parking Shakespeare and Pallassos sense Fronteres.

Discover all the details for the La Mercè 2020, the poster, the opening speech, the artists, the Musical Fireworks Display and the activities calendar here.

Measures to ensure a safe Mercè

La Mercè 2020’s activities will follow a daytime schedule, from 11 am to 10 pm, and take place on 24, 26 and 27 September. Every venue will be duly fenced off and have limited and controlled audience capacities, as well as guaranteed traceability of contacts. Audiences will mainly be seated and respect the established social-distancing measures.

How can I access La Mercè 2020’s activities? You will need to book in advance

A total of 100,000 tickets will be made available to city residents this year. Audience capacities will depend on the venues, varying from a minimum of 50 to a maximum of 800 places. Access to events will be through an online advance booking system, which can be managed from the lamerce.barcelona website or the La Mercè 2020’s free mobile app. A telephone booking service (933 161 038) will also be available.

Reservations calendar

Bookings to attend activities will open on a gradual and staggered basis over the coming weeks. Everyone identified with a valid email address will be able to book a music show, a traditional show or a Mercè Street Arts show per day.

Music programme for La Mercè

The concert agenda for La Mercè features over a hundred artists and fourteen venues around the city, with a programme which includes the Festival BAM, the BAM Cultura Viva and the Mercè Música. Local groups and artists, emerging talents and a variety of musical styles all combine for an edition where safety measures and limited audience numbers take priority. As with the rest of the activities for La Mercè, tickets must be booked in advance.

Reservations calendar

  • Bookings for BAM concerts: as from Tuesday, 8 September. Each person will be able to book 2 tickets per day.
  • Bookings for BAM Cultura Viva concerts: as from Tuesday, 8 September. Each person will be able to book 2 tickets per day.
  • Bookings for Mercè Música concerts: as from Wednesday, 9 September. Each person will be able to book 2 tickets per day.

Mercè Street Arts (MAC) and popular culture programme

The MAC Festival (Mercè Street Arts) programme has been adapted for a safer and more decentralised edition, with 130 companies taking part at 13 locations around the city’s ten districts. Highlights includes a special package of shows for young children, in appreciation of their efforts during the lockdown. At the same time, the programme offers a wide array of dance, circus, puppet shows and street theatre for all audiences.

The most traditional activities for the festival are to be found at the Festa de la Tradició, which brings together protocol activities such as the dance by the city’s festive eagle figure, and popular culture events such as the drumming session (tabalada). Giants, devils’ groups and other festive beast figures from Barcelona will be in action during the festivities.

Registration is needed for popular culture activities and MAC Festival shows alike. Tickets should be reserved in advance:

  • Bookings for popular-culture activities: as from Monday, 14 September. Each person will be able to book 5 tickets per day.
  • Bookings for MAC activities: as from Monday, 14 September. Each will be able to book 5 tickets per day.

La Mercè Fun Run, a solidarity event with two formats

The most iconic sports event for La Mercè has been reinvented to enable open and intergenerational participation, with two different versions available. The money raised from registrations (5 euros per runner), will go to the radio and telethon event La Marató (TV3 and Catalunya Ràdio), which this year focuses on research into Covid-19.

The virtual version of the run invites participants all over the world to join in by using a mobile app. Each runner can choose the distance they want to run (2, 5 or 10 km) and design their own route, wherever they are. The app will geolocate their position and record their data.

The physical version of the run will adopt safety and prevention measures:

  • 10 km route: two laps of a 5 km circuit
  • Participation in 8 groups, reduced to 375 runners setting off in each group
  • Four morning starts: 2 sessions on 19 September and 2 on 20 September
  • Healthcare protocol, with measures such as: prior disinfection of infrastructures, safety distance of 1.5 metres between runners, obligatory use of face masks at start and finish lines, hand sanitisers dispensers and a used face mask collection system.

La Mercè from home

To make sure no one misses out on the spirit of La Mercè, this year you’ll be able to enjoy it from home. Betevé and the Barcelona Cultura channels are teaming up to offer concerts and shows, live and pre-recorded, on TV and online. Every day there are festival activities, new content will be broadcast. What’s more, during the festival days (23, 24, 26 and 27), Betevé will be broadcasting a special programme.

This will enable people to follow La Mercè’s opening speech, concerts, street-art shows and traditional popular-culture events.

More accessible edition

La Mercè is a festival for everybody to enjoy, regardless of our age or our abilities. Because of this, all the venues in the programme are accessible. Even more so this year, if that’s possible, as the reduced capacities to ensure safety distances mean mobility is not restricted and no areas are being set up and reserved for people with reduced mobility.

On top of this, there’s a wide array of activities for all audiences and many productions feature artists who are well-acquainted with diversity.

City organisations have their voice

The Associa’t festival once again gives us a close-up look at the richness, diversity and vitality of the city’s associations. This year’s edition will be different due to the current situation caused by Covid-19, but there’ll be no shortage of ideas, with organisations planning a series of communication and awareness activities.

For more information on Associa’t click here.