Primavera Sound has apologised for the "problems" visitors have faced during its first weekend.
Hundreds of people attending the first weekend of the festival took to social media to complain about the lack of water access points, queues for drinks, alleged crowd crushes, and the difficulty of getting from stage to stage.
The festival kicked off on June 2 and went on until June 4. The second weekend is due to start on June 9 and go on until June 11.
This year's edition of Primavera Sound, taking place at its usual Parc del Fòrum site, marks the festival's first event since 2019 following back-to-back cancellations in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some ticket holders who attended the first weekend of acts have said they left the festival due to feeling "unsafe." Many cited lack of access to water — a particular issue with temperatures reaching upwards of 27 degrees over the weekend.
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Other criticisms from this year's event punters have been from the legnthy queues for drinks that took "hours" and the prominence of "VIP zones," with one zone being a bridge that connected the two portions of the site — meaning regular ticket holders were forced to walk all the way around the entire festival exterior to reach other stages and causing congestion.
.@Primavera_Sound is not safe. Oversold, no water access points, crushes/bottlenecks everywhere making it near impossible to get from stage to stage. Unsure what can be done to fix this by tomorrow but it was by far the worst festival experience I’ve ever had.— David Thorp (@DavidThorp) June 2, 2022
Primavera pros so far:— Ally (@allystives) June 3, 2022
- Great lineup
- Two cancelled headliners without replacement
- Free water unavailable, can't bring your own
- Hours long bar queues
- Crowds so compact I'm shocked there wasn't a crush
- Sound is quiet enough that conversations are louder
I’ve loved @Primavera_Sound for years but today it’s just been too much. Oversold, understaffed and only one (?!) water point. It’s 21 degrees at 1am ffs. Queuing for over half an hour to buy drinks inc water isn’t good enough.— Keri Kennedy (@beadyface) June 2, 2022
Organizers of #PrimaveraSound2022 in Barcelona shouldn’t be allowed within 10 feet of live music. Far beyond borderline dangerous. @Primavera_Sound booked a great lineup, but totally failed with logistics. Too many people. Not NEARLY enough water. Beer lines stretching to Madrid.— Jarrett Bellini (@JarrettBellini) June 2, 2022
On Friday, Primavera Sound tweeted: "Today marks the second day of Primavera Sound. We are aware of the problems in the bar services yesterday and we apologise for them. We are working tirelessly to solve them so that we can all enjoy the coming days as we deserve. See you this afternoon."
When contacted by NME, Marta Pallarès, the festival's head of foreign press, explained that the problems were due by a lack of employees and technical difficulties with card payment systems.
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She said, in part, to NME: “COVID is not gone yet and it is affecting us, not only artistically but also our staff. Yesterday we had several casualties both in the bars and in the technical services; in total there are two kilometres of bars which is quite a lot, but in some areas of the festival we realised the audience was way lower and they were empty (we were way under the total capacity of 95,000, with “only” 66,000 thousand attendees).
“The problem with the card payment systems is that there were occasional WiFi outages that affected the operation of the card readers, slowing down the payment process. This was detected and started to be solved already.
"Moreover, we will offer free water in two different stations along the map, reinforcing the fountains that already exist in Parc del Fòrum and that were also working yesterday.
"Throughout today we will be announcing all these measures, plus probably some more that we are still working with."
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This mishandling has left some attendees due to attend the second weekend at Primavera sound "incredibly anxious."
One person tweeted: "after hearing how poorly Primavera day 1 has been managed - enormous bar queues, no access to water, overcrowding - I feel incredibly anxious about attending weekend 2. hoping they will sort out what sounds like an absolute mess!"
after hearing how poorly Primavera day 1 has been managed - enormous bar queues, no access to water, overcrowding - I feel incredibly anxious about attending weekend 2. hoping they will sort out what sounds like an absolute mess! @Primavera_Sound— anna (@anna__cowan) June 3, 2022
Read the full statement from Primavera Sound on NME here.
Aneesa Ahmed is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter