Primavera Sound’s approach to live music has been nothing if not influential; since its inaugural edition in Barcelona back in 2001, Primavera Sound’s lineups have expanded in size and scope, but have never lost the futuristic, progressive edge that have captivated fans and festival organizers alike. The heavily curated, forward-thinking selections of music represent some of the most exciting artists around, whether it be in the pop universe or the fringes of genres.
Twenty years in, Primavera Sound is expanding to the Americas, including three new editions in South America and one Los Angeles festival, which was originally scheduled to mount in 2020 (before the pandemic cancelled both 2020 and 2021’s festivals). Taking place at Los Angeles Historic State Park last weekend (September 16th-18th), the inaugural Primavera Sound LA was a bold, futuristic, international experience, with one of the best festival lineups of the year.
For starters, they knocked it out of the park with headliners. Lorde, Nine Inch Nails, and Arctic Monkeys performed the biggest sets of the weekend, and their unique offerings were ideal for a festival as eclectic as Primavera Sound. But the undercard acts were also highly curated, especially in regards to the headliners.
For fans of Nine Inch Nails were the industrial, synth-heavy stylings of artists like Boy Harsher, Kim Gordon, Jehnny Beth, and Darkside; devotees of Arctic Monkeys’ rambling post-punk were treated to a variety of complimentary rock bands like Fontaines D.C., Dry Cleaning, Squid, and Surf Curse; and lovers of Lorde’s alt pop were given dozens of international selections like PinkPantheress, girl in red, and Bad Gyal, as well as American favorites like Clairo, Mitski, and Faye Webster.
Though the music was unforgettable, not all of Primavera Sound LA got off to such a smooth start; the festival’s odd age policy led to a bit of an impractical layout (but more on that later). Luckily, the festival’s location just east of Downtown Los Angeles — a former location of longtime LA fest FYF — was picturesque and accessible, the weather was absolutely perfect, and the narrow landscape of the park allowed for a more intimate feel.
Read below for the full breakdown of this year’s inaugural Primavera Sound Los Angeles, and check out our full gallery of photos here.