The Voll-Damm International Festival is back from this weekend to 30 November with local and international artists and bands.
This weekend (19-20-21 October), which unfortunately looks like it will be rainy, has free outdoor concerts between 13.30 and 16.30 at many of the bars and cafés in the city centre. See the website for venues.
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A lot of great music comes from Barcelona, and it can be hard to find. This site has a radio podcast programme you can stick on your ipod with the latest in music from Barcelona, with details of the artists and where they are playing in Barcelona. You can also find which bars have live music in Barcelona.
One of the best music venues in the city. On our visit, late on a Sunday night, we saw a three-piece comprising a double-bass player with a massive quiff, a flamenco guitarist with long jet-black hair, white shirt, black tie and trademark cigarette hanging from his lower lip and a steel guitarist who looked like a cross between Steve Buscemi and Tom Waits.
The three increased to seven when they were joined by other musicians including a clarinetist, trumpeter and a sultry singer. It's hidden away down a back alley in the Gothic Quarter but once inside, you won't want to leave. Nothing is rushed, it's not at all poncey and the vibe gets better as the morning approaches. Get there early (before 10) to secure a seat. For a change from the normal bar scene, head to the Harlem.
This is a bar that I would dearly love to have just down the road at home!
Small, cosy and intimate, playing great music from Joy Division, The Smiths, Bowie, The Sex Pistols, etc.. An indie mecca for music.
Friendly bar staff, cheap prices and never that concerned about closing! I left there at gone 2am and there was no sign of people leaving, in fact others were still coming in!
Do yourself a favour and discover this little gem!
For Barcelona events, gigs, news, art and clubs grab any of the following three:
BCNWEEK, a witty free paper with cultural reviews and listings.
BUTXACA, a small free listings booklet for almost everything in Barcelona, or
MUNDO SONORO (free, comes out first thursday every month) a thick monthly music bible with music reviews and of course, gig listings.
For a good city map, city and beach guide, airport transfer info. and apartments check out:
These publications are found lurking in the doorway of any given Barcelona bar, record or clothing store in the centre of town (most likely in Raval or Gotico).
Discreetly hidden away in a quiet backstreet is this cultural centre and lounge club built into an old warehouse.
They publish an online magazine, screen films and run a funk, soul, hip-hop and rare groove session at Apolo. During summer 2006 it proved the ideal venue for Spain vs France in the World Cup. Don't lose heart as you head up Calle Fontrodona, it is there and the cava is at knock down prices.
Calle Fontrodona 33; Metro: Parallel L3; www.maumaunderground.com
This Benedictine Monk retreat makes for an amazing break from the bustle of Barcelona. You can get a combined ticket from the station which includes the cable car.
The views from the top are stunning. Inside you can visit the Holy Grotto and listen to the world renowned Montserrat Boys Choir. Time your visit so you are there before 13:00 when the choir sing.
Anti-Sonar is an alternative to Sonar which runs in Barcelona at the same time. It's free and much more fun.
Whereas Sonar attracts a moneyed, trendy, international crowd, Anti-Sonar is an anarchic impromptu festival for the scruffier inhabitants of Barcelona who can't afford or simply resent the festival and the hordes of techno tourists that take over the city for the weekend. Don't expect any big name DJs. Expect unrelenting hard techno, and bring your own water, beer, absinthe, and suncream, as you'll be dancing through into the morning.
Usually located on the outskirts of the city near to the Sonar by Night festival site, follow the crowds or ask around
The best record shop in Spain. Yards and yards of rare and wonderful jazz, rock, funk, soul, and soundtracks on vinyl. And a cat called Marcel.
Riera Baixa 14, deep in the heart of El Raval; tel: 93 442 37 03;
Great club/venue in old music hall. Very good atmosphere.
Located in the former Casa de la Caritat building, the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona offers a wide range of multidisciplinary activities to visitors. The original, inspiring exhibitions on art, thought and contemporary society often take an alternative slant on life and usually have accompanying descriptions in English.
The museum also organises concerts, audiovisual festivals and debate, which take place in the open courtyard in the summer months. It also plays host to the famed Sonar music festival in June. There's a pleasant terrace at the back of the museum for a quiet coffee in the sun.
Tel. 933 064 100
Metro Plaça Universitat
Not far from the Ramblas, behind the MACBA
Electronic media and music festival in Barcelona every June. It has two elements, Sonar by day is centred on MACBA and is a perfect way to spend time in between eating and drinking. Sonar by night is not for the faint-hearted, situated out in the suburbs, its an all-night party on a grand scale.
I am not an opera lover, but this was a fantastic experience. Don't go early. About 10 pm on a Thursday night go two doors along Calle Montcada from the Champagne Bar. Insist on getting past an old bloke who seems to try to prevent people entering! Explain to him that you do not expect to eat there. Pay 20 euros, get a table near the bar and experience real opera singers performing right beside you. It was wonderful.
Calle Montcada, opposite Picasso Museum
Go straight up to the rooftop, sample the magnificent views amidst the characteristically strange Gaudiesque motifs which decorate the terrace. On summer evenings, you can listen to jazz, tango and flamenco concerts for just €6, including a drink. The ultimate in rooftop ambience.
Psseig de Gracia, Metro: Passeig de Gracia
It's a palace of music and concerts are held here, but it also attracts visitors for its modernist tilework and stained glass. The interior of the building is beautiful and crowned by a fantastic (and huge) inverted dome of stained glass in the main auditorium. Guided tours are every 30 minutes during the day - just wait outside the door until they let you in - it's worth it.
Carrer de Sant Pere Mes Alt
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