Barcelona.- The 23rd Guitar Festival is held from March 10th to May 26th at ten venues throughout Barcelona. This year, the festival includes two new concert halls: the Coliseum Theater and the City Hall. In spite of the crisis, this is one of the few Barcelona Festivals which has increased its budget (by 3.5%) thanks to its good results last year. At the moment, the Guitar Festival closed its last edition with a ticket sales rate of 87% and an audience of nearly 30.000 people. This year, a recognised Catalan folk-pop band ‘Els amics de les arts’ are playing for three consecutive days. Marina Rosell, a Catalan singer-songwriter is also presenting her new album based on covers by Georges Moustaki.
The new artistic director of the event, Judit Llimós, said she was very proud of “having the best” of last year’s most successful Catalan artists and, referring to the current edition of 2012, Llimós highlighted “La Iaia” (the winner of Sona9 2010) and Joan Colomo. The festival’s highlights are “Antonia Font”, “Shuarma” (ex Elefantes leader), and “Els amics de les arts”.
New sections and proposals
The Guitar Festival consists of seven thematic categories. ‘D.O’ brings together artists that sing in Catalan. Moreover, ‘String’ is a special section dedicated to guitar focused acts that are closer to the original principles of the event. In this section, the most important artists are Elliot Murphy, The Waterboys and The Aristocrats.
The “In their own name” (‘Amb nom propi’) section of the Festival is also showcasing artists with brilliant careers and new material, still ‘active’ on the present musical scene. One of them is the singer-songwriter Marina Rosell, who is presenting her new album, based on covers by the French musician Georges Moustaki. Other Spanish groups that will perform at the Liceu on the May 24th are Hombres G, a mythical Spanish pop-rock band, that will present ‘In the beach’ (“En la playa”), alongside Mikel Erentxun, Jorge Drexler and Luz Casal.
The Spanish independent music scene is called “Interferences” (“Interferences”) and is featuring Depedro, Christina Rosenvinge, Zahara, Ivan Ferreiro, La Bien Querida and Marlagando will be the headline acts. On the other hand, the “Vintage” section presents new proposals related to soul music, such as Osaka Monaural, Kim Lenz & The Jaguars.
Finally, the Festival has prepared one special section named “Perversions” (Perversions) dedicate to cover bands of legendary groups such as The Ultimate Eagles.
A recipe of continuity
This year, Llimós has taken charge of the Festival with a direction focused on “continuity”, because of the success of last year. “It is good to increase the plurality of our offer, but it would not make sense to try to change a Festival that has 25,000 spectators”, he explained to CNA.
The Festival is taking place at different venues within the city. In this aspect, Llimós explained they tried to look for “natural places of the bands” and that “they wanted the audience to be able to see the artists up close”.
The Palau de la Música, the Liceu, the Bikini concert hall, the Apolo Club, the Luz de Gas Club, the Sant Cugat Auditorium and, this year, the City Hall and Coliseum Theatre are the main locations for the Festival.
A consolidated festival in a process of growth
The Director of the project, Joan Rosell, assured that they have made the Festival a special “date” of the year’s second quarter in Barcelona and considered that the Festival is in “good health”.
In economic terms, the Guitar Festival also shows profitable results. With an average occupation of 80% capacity, between 25,000 and 30,000 spectators, the balance of the Festival is undoubtedly positive. As for the budget, it is “increasing progressively”, at an approximate rate of 2% each year. In 2012, funds have increased a little more (more than 3, 5%) and now reach up 770, 000.
Concerning the budget, Rossell explains that they are starting to set the bases for the next edition of the Festival with “better improvements and more growth”, and says that “taking into account the context of crisis, this increase responds to an effort by organisers to maintain the same high level of the event”.