Despite Turbulence, the Inaugural Primavera Sound Madrid Soared: Review

Thanks to heavy-hitting headliners and a willingness to get weird

Primavera Sound Madrid 2023 review recap photos photo gallery blur
Alvvays (photo by Christian Bertrand), Kendrick Lamar (Eric Pamies), and Bad Religion (Sergio Albert)

    Primavera Sound has come a long way since debuting in 2001. What started as a modest festival bringing indie music to Barcelona has grown to become a powerhouse of live music and entertainment, one that spans multiple continents, one-off weekenders, and year-round club shows. This past weekend saw the festival expand its flagship event to yet another city: Madrid.

    Dubbed “I’ll Be Your Mirror,” Primavera Sound Madrid initially comes across as a one-to-one translation of its Barcelona counterpart. Featuring a nearly identical lineup and taking place only one week apart (tickets for both weekends were even sold as a special package), it wouldn’t be absurd to assume that the only difference between the two festivals is a two-and-a-half-hour train ride. But ask the locals, and they’ll happily explain the nuanced cultural differences between the two cities, especially when it comes to music.

    With different tastes and concert etiquette, as well as an entirely different geographical layout for the festival grounds, Primavera Sound Madrid immediately distinguished itself as a uniquely Madridian experience from the week’s first performances.


    Of course, despite the palpable excitement of the local and traveling music fans, shit happens. Music festivals of this scale are a wonder of organization and management, and with so many moving pieces, something is bound to give… it’s just a question of what. For Madrid’s first-ever Primavera Sound, it just so happened that it would be something quite substantial – a full day of programming.

    And yet, despite the turbulence, Primavera Sound Madrid 2023 soared. Rolling with the punches, Primavera’s Madrid debut proved to be a weekend of genuine musical jubilee, one that sowed the seeds for the success of future editions.


    Just over 24 hours before the festival was to open its doors, Primavera Sound Madrid announced the cancellation of their first day (Thursday, June 8th) due to “persistent severe weather” and an “adverse forecast.” To say people were bummed out would be the understatement of the summer. Look no further than the replies below the Twitter announcement to read account after account of people traveling from across the world to see artists like Blur, New Order, Halsey, Turnstile, and Le Tigre only to have their plans ruined with little notice.


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