PS_The National PS_Arcade Fire PS_Neutral Milk Hotel by Will Westbrook

183 concerts, 8 stages, 3 days, 2 tired legs, 1 long wishlist
A music geek’s guide for survival, clash & crisis management, and what you should discover

Thousands around the world held their breaths on a cold evening late-January, as Line-up the movie finally put an end to end the mystery surrounding that pressing question asked every year: Which artists are confirmed to perform at Primavera Sound this year?

The movie playfully dropped hints for 24 minutes, and rolled the credits, which revealed 2014´s virtually never-ending lineup. And officially started the Primavera season.

The 183 acts confirmed as of the end of April encompass many different musical genres, from avant-garde experimental electronic to unadulterated indie-pop, folk rock, R&B, along with different genre revivals, fusions, and genre-defying avant-garde, to jazz infused African rhythms of Antibalas, along with the soft, sad and sweet bossa nova of the living legend of Brazilian music Caetano Veloso, to name a few.

The lineup offers music that has inspired generations over four decades, and is a rare opportunity to experience a musical journey that shows how history is made, by idols and those who get their influences from them perform one after another.

Even the smaller group of world-famous headliners represent decades. Certain common or complementary features of the artists create a cohesion that culminates in a lineup whose eclectic styles, looks and sounds almost mirror the distinctive mood and flavor of what music is today.

The Primavera Sound signature in music has increasingly become a symbol of quality guarantee throughout its 13 years. This means the festival can be experienced in as many ways as the number of people who attend it.

Pre-festival studying and preparation
Not required, but strongly recommended for those who take music seriously. Knowing your options, and familiarity with what’s on the festival’s large menu means making smart choices during the festival. It helps have more fun at the festival, gives you different perspectives, and is a fun process by itself.

If you are looking for ideas to diversify your schedule, or give a distinctive sound, you need to know what you have to discover what works with them. Don’t overthink; let the music inspire and guide you.

Start within your comfort zone, and gradually expand, extending into the unknown. Try to fill in the gaps in your schedule first, and avoid creating clashes with your must-see concerts.

It may sound counterintuitive, but an open mind and a healthy flexibility margin in following plans goes a long way, and prove to be much more efficient and fun. A rigid attitude, overthinking, and trying to stick to a tightly packed schedule, can easily backfire.

Ultimately, the trick is being ready and willing to roll with the punches after taking enough time research, learn, listen, make lists, more lists, schedules, alternative schedules, and back up plans. The objective of preparation is not coming up with the perfect, infallible schedule or plan, but through the process realize what you want out of the festival experience.

Make concert wishlists, one for each day of the festival, as soon as you feel like you know what you want, then update as them with changes them as you wish. Assign artists to two or three groups – try to avoid more specific priority orders, but know your “must-see”s.

Make another list with groups that indicate the likelihood of getting another opportunity to see those groups live again. Anything that is both on the “must-see” and “not at all likely” list automatically should go on your schedule. Indicate their special status. In case circumstantial factors such as exhaustion, bad weather or long distances start trampling all over your plans, you remember not to let them fall through, even if others do.

Keep in mind that:
– Sometimes less is more. To experience concerts fully, be there for them, from the start to the end.

– Try to avoid getting overambitious and attempt to see parts of multiple concerts. It is risky, and only works for partial clashes. Otherwise you might end up not seeing anything.

– Use the powers of wisely.

– Even if you choose not to prepare and instead improvise, make sure to know the basics. At the very least take a look at the schedule, and know where the stages are.

– Do not underestimate the effects of alcohol and pace yourself. Otherwise you might end up with a big hangover by the time the headliners hit the stage. Or worse, pass out and miss it…

– Do not underestimate the distances between stages; nor let them scare you too much.

– Try to avoid having to play real-life “Where’s Waldo” during the festival… Know that meeting up with a friend at the festival area might turn into a never-ending ordeal. Do not rely on your phones – they probably won’t work, especially when it’s crowded.

Don’t forget that the festival is citywide, mostly free events for over a week. Look it up. You won’t regret it.