Los Angeles has endlessly proven itself a trailblazer in the music sphere, so it was no surprise that LA was the perfect city to host the American debut of the Spanish festival, Primavera Sound.
First introduced in Barcelona nearly 20 years ago, Primavera Sound prides itself in constructing a festival lineup full of performers that encapsulate the intersectionality of music making. This year’s roster was no exception. It featured classic artists while also introducing progressive nouveau sounds.
Primavera Sound Los Angeles took place from Sept. 16-19 at the Los Angeles State Historic Park. The park is no stranger to the festival space, having been home to other successful LA festivals like Zedd in The Park, FYF Fest, and more recently, Smoking Grooves. The stateside premiere of the festival featured Lorde, Nine Inch Nails and Arctic Monkeys as headliners. Within its undercard, Primavera Sound LA also included other well known acts like Surf Curse, PinkPantheress, Darkside, Faye Webster, and Mitski.
Primavera Sound LA was first announced in 2019 and was expected to go on without a hitch, but no one could anticipate the events of the COVID-19 pandemic. Three years later, the festival finally took place, sailing through with only minor speed bumps.
The festival’s diverse lineup brought a wide array of equally eclectic fans to LA Historic Park. Over the weekend, Primavera goers moved throughout the landscape on a mission, forging ahead through crowds and food tents to make their way toward the stages that would ultimately bring about some of the weekend's most epic performances, occasionally stopping in between sets to check out the sounds that Primavera so carefully curated for their listening and viewing pleasure.
Day one of Primavera Sound LA kicked off with a performance from Divino Niño and ended the night with Lorde. Divino Niño opened up the festival with futuristic airy guitars and synths, unknowingly forecasting the tone for the rest of the weekend. As a result of their Colombian roots, Divino Niño uses Spanish and English lyrics in combination with psychedelic pop beats to launch the audience into a new atmosphere. Performing tracks from their newest LP, “Last Spa on Earth,” the band’s sound is reminiscent of ’70s and ’80s pop rock groups, triggering nostalgia for older festival goers while simultaneously evoking curiosity amongst those viewing from the under 21.
The first day of the festival also included performances from Gen-Z favorites like PinkPantheress and Clairo. Attendees watch Clairo from the hills of the Cornfield (a nickname LA Historic Park earned in the late 1800s, when it was the location of Southern Pacific’s River Station). She performs her hits, “Pretty Girl” and “Bags,” and follows them by surprising the audience with “4EVER” from her very first EP, “Diary 001,” mentioning that she hardly ever performs the track.
Across the way at a different stage, folks pile up to see PinkPantheress. She is fairly new to the festival scene, but after blowing up on TikTok with her hit “Just For Me” in 2021, her cult-like following has transcended beyond the app’s 30 second videos.
As Friday’s sun begins to set, the London born star comes on, strutting around Primavera’s Tecate Alta Stage in a simple red top and midi skirt, rocking Adam Sandler-esque sunglasses and a matching bag that she keeps on her shoulder for the duration of her set. Her set is quick, as PinkPantheress’ is now notorious for her epically short performance times, attributed to her equally minuscule discography.
Lorde ends the first night of the festival with a futuristic stage display, engaging the crowd through multidimensional sculptures and stage lighting made to resemble the sun. The audience sings along as Lorde makes her way up and down the festival’s main stage. Right before her track “Ribs,” she stops to talk to the audience, she tells them that she wrote the song when she was only 15 and then proceeds to ask the crowd to dance for their 15 year-old selves. People follow suit, dancing for their teenage souls, jumping around and singing at the top of their lungs.
As she says her goodbyes and closes out the first night of the festival, Lorde leaves the crowd with a powerful message. Her tone is hopeful and optimistic as she emphasizes how special the Earth is. She urges that it is our job as future leaders to protect the environment and do what is right, employing the audience to take action and advocate for our planet and our future.
As if the spirit of the city also heard Lorde’s climate message the previous night, LA boasted a much cooler afternoon for day two of the festival. But the coolness in the atmosphere cannot be accredited to just the weather, as Saturday’s headliner, Nine Inch Nails, herded in a much edgier crowd, with fans that radiated swagger and coolness. Unsurprisingly, the lineup for day two of the festival included acts like Fontaines D.C., a post-punk band hailing from Ireland with a sharper, more explosive sound.
Surf Curse took over the Tecate Alta stage, chatting with the crowd throughout their set, commenting on the festival while making witty jokes about the other stages and performers. Every song caused the mosh pit to shake the barricades, while fans made their way to the front of the stage via crowd surf. The energy of the band and the audience is undoubtedly expressive, young people bouncing all over filled with angst, screaming over lyrics about going to hell.
FITS FROM BEHIND THE PIT
Fashion always plays a huge role at festivals! Here’s what people were wearing at Primavera Sound LA 2022 ★
King krule backstage hanging out before his set
The final day of the festival presented larger crowds at every stage throughout the day, but almost all attendees had the same end goal: experience the Arctic Monkeys. As day turned to night, fans made their way toward the Primavera stage like moths to a flame. People were left buzzing after Girl in Red’s performance all while others trickle in from the Tecate and Barcelona Stages.
Arctic Monkeys opens with “Do I Wanna Know?” and the crowd erupts. They play hit after hit and the audience rejoices over hearing classics like “Teddy Picker” and “505.” From pregnant women to college students, fans all over LA Historic Park are left speechless, unable to process the grandeur that is the Arctic Monkeys.
Even 17 years after the release of their first single, the Arctic Monkeys remain on top. These rockstars transcend generic music and fast fads, continuously demonstrating that music is not bound by time.
Primavera Sound came to the United States to introduce new artists and unfamiliar genres, but it also brought back familiar classics. For instance, Primavera brought Divino Niño, a band who explore their multiculturalism through music, to LA, a city known for its diaspora, in order to push toward its goal of creating a unique and comfortable music space in the city. The festival flourishes by joining together communities and allowing them to participate in the exploration of sound. Performers like the Arctic Monkeys and Lorde are ones with the ability to reach an array of people. Primavera seems to understand that musicians and spaces like this are necessary for the future of music and community. With this goal in hand, Primavera Sound continues to push international endeavors, with future plans to host festivals in Chile, Argentina and Brazil.