Four hundred years ago, a haze of dust and ceaseless buzzing enveloped the sky over Barcelona. To the people of the city, it was an event of Biblical proportions, a plague. There flew a plume of locusts, who devoured and consumed anything the light touched. The Consell de Cent, the leading political council of Barcelona, issued an official order out of desperation: that there be prayer for the Mare de Déu de la Mercè, the Virgin of Grace, so she may deliver the city from the plague. And it seemed she listened, for the locusts parted, and the city partied ever since.
La Mercè, ever after, became the staple celebration of the city of Barcelona. Ending on September 24th, the celebration lasts days and ranges from the traditional (Catholic processions worshiping Corpus Christi) to the very Catalonian (the giant figurines and human towers) to the more contemporary (bands and pyro-musical shows).
The central Parc de la Ciutadella is typically transformed into an explosion of bright neon lights and esoteric decorations, including glowing human stick figures and psychedelic iridescent water.
Mercè 2017 holds many events. Almost all are musical, but the variety of musical genres and venues, as well as the sheer number of them, means you probably won’t be able to or even want to see them all.
The following is a brief list of particularly interesting or unique events:
- Barcelona’s jazz scene came to a start in 1966 when Dave Brubeck himself played at the Palacio de la Música Catalana, and this year’s Mercè holds no exception: the “Barcelona Jazz All Stars” concert will be playing Friday, 22nd, during the evening.
Don't forget that from concert to concert you can enjoy various international food trucks.
There’s plenty more not on this list, and by no means do we recommend the above over the any of the rest of the events – these are just some examples that caught our eye.
Above all, La Mercè is best experienced for yourself – and walking around and exploring is better than any list of recommendations we could make. Step out, keep your mind open, be safe, and enjoy Barcelona’s biggest festival, now locust-free.