Can we really live without live music? - reporter's notebook

 BECK, DINOSAUR Jr. (J Mascis) and Fontaines DC were among the entertainers at the Primavera Sound Festival, earlier this month. (photo credit: LIOR KETER)
BECK, DINOSAUR Jr. (J Mascis) and Fontaines DC were among the entertainers at the Primavera Sound Festival, earlier this month.
(photo credit: LIOR KETER)

BARCELONA – Summer of 2022 is here and, with it, live concerts!

It’s been three years since the COVID-19 pandemic started, causing music summer festivals to be canceled one after another. This made it nearly impossible for the music industry to thrive and forced us to question ourselves: Can we really live without music, without singing and dancing together? Is this really the end of it? At times, it seemed as there was no hope for us to ever experience music together again.

As the pandemic has started to slow down, I have been curious to see live music’s comeback. So, I took a plane from Tel Aviv to Barcelona to see for myself. 

The Primavera Sound Festival took place this year from June 1 to June 12, and featured artists such as Tame Impala, Beck, Nick Cave, Gorillas and Dua Lipa. Music lovers of all ages and backgrounds flocked to Barcelona to see the long-awaited lineup of artists.

As I was landing in Barcelona, I got an email informing me that the Strokes had a last-minute cancellation due to a crew member testing positive for COVID-19 – a reminder that the pandemic was most definitely not over.

 BECK, DINOSAUR Jr. (J Mascis) and Fontaines DC were among the entertainers at the Primavera Sound Festival, earlier this month. (credit: LIOR KETER) BECK, DINOSAUR Jr. (J Mascis) and Fontaines DC were among the entertainers at the Primavera Sound Festival, earlier this month. (credit: LIOR KETER)

After a quick stop at my hotel room, I went off to pick up my photographer access pass for the festival. It was a sunny day as the crowd was making its way inside to the festival grounds at Parc del Fòrum, a spacious event venue on Barcelona’s coast. I was surprised to see the diversity of stages, food trucks and bars suitable for every taste. There were even eco-friendly charging stations where people could generate electricity by peddling on a bike. The park was full of fans and the long lines sometimes made it difficult to buy food or drinks. By the second day, however, the overwhelming lines seemed to die down.

The festival's music

Dinosaur Jr., the great alt-rock band from Massachusetts, took the Cupra stage, as the adoring crowd cheered them on. The sun was shining on all of their faces and I could actually see the sparks in the observers’ eyes. With beers in hand, they were singing, dancing, and enjoying the regained freedom to feel the thrill of a live rock concert – a feeling that we had almost forgotten.

 BECK, DINOSAUR Jr. (J Mascis) and Fontaines DC were among the entertainers at the Primavera Sound Festival, earlier this month. (credit: LIOR KETER) BECK, DINOSAUR Jr. (J Mascis) and Fontaines DC were among the entertainers at the Primavera Sound Festival, earlier this month. (credit: LIOR KETER)

Pavement and Tame Impala appeared the big stages with great performances that reminded us all how much we love live rock music and summer festivals. At the end of their set, Tame Impala played “Last Night,” The Strokes’ biggest hit, for the fans that were looking forward to watching their favorite band that day. The crowd was overjoyed.

On the second day of the festival, I came to the realization that nothing beats the feeling of seeing your idols perform right in front of you. Growing up in the ‘70s, I began going to live shows from a very young age. Music has always been a part of my DNA – without it, my life wouldn’t be the same. That evening, I took a photograph of Beck’s show that reminded me why I love music so much. White suit on, moving like Jagger, it was one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time.

Fontaines DC, Jehnny Beth, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, and Jamie XX all rocked the crowd with mesmerizing performances. The artists left me hopeful that we will meet again next year, dancing, singing, laughing and enjoying music together again like we always have.

Needless to say, the Primavera Sound Festival left me with one thing certain: We must!

The writer is an Israeli photographer.