Primavera VIP Tickets Worth it or Nah?
Edit: I ended up doing Primavera Sound Festival again for 2017, and have already purchased my early bird Primavera VIP ticket for 2018.
I’ve known I was going to Europe for the first time since January. Of the 51 countries, I went with Spain after romanticizing Barcelona (big mistake, more on that here) for so long. While the general reason was to actually travel and take advantage of the failing Euro, the main reason was Primavera Sound Fest.
A girl like me isn’t one for the summer music festival. They’re pricey, getting close enough to see the band is hard, and the port-o-potties are both disgusting and overpopulated.
Primavera Sound was introduced to me probably 5-6 years ago by my boyfriend. It’s been his lifelong dream to see the greatest of the greats perform in Barcelona. Every year, legendary bands like Pavement or Wu-Tang reunite to perform what genuinely is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Headliners this year included Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, performing Pet Sounds and Radiohead to tour their phenomenal new release: A Moon Shaped Pool.
After learning about the line up and the cost of VIP tickets (€250 each, compared to Coachella’s OUTRAGEOUS $400 general admission ticket) we acted on the fly.
I looked everywhere to find out if Primavera Sound VIP tickets were worth it. I even failed to find realistic pictures of the VIP section, what perks were actually included, and how easily I’d be able to access the front of the stage.
Dependent upon reddit.com, I started a thread and got a few answers from long-time festival goers, but nothing visual or 100% clear.
Although I couldn’t bring my DSLR into the festival, here is your VIP pass to find out if Primavera Sound VIP tickets are worth it.
PRIMAVERA SOUND VIP TICKETS: WORTH IT OR NAH?
GETTING INTO THE FESTIVAL
You can see in the beginning of the video that there is a loooong line. That’s the line to access the festival. Not only am I not in that line, I wasn’t in a line like that to simply pick up my wristband because I was VIP.
Generally, lines suck. This would suck in particular because during the day time Barcelona gets hot. Hotels near Parc del Fòrum are expensive, so you have to consider that staying further away from the park is cheaper, but creates longer transit time in addition time spent waiting in line. With the adrenaline you'll be experiencing, the only thing you're going to want to do is get in. With VIP, you can do just that.
If you’re going to the festival with just one other person (I saw lots people there alone) being in transit and in line can get boring. Getting into the festival and not having a home base can also get boring. With VIP, you can get in quickly, get access to a VIP section to act as your home base before, during, and after sets.
We arrived in Barcelona on a Monday, with three days to do whatever we wanted before the main festival began. With your VIP ticket, you can gain access to the club shows which start before the main three days of the festival and one day after those main three days are over. Most of these are “secret” shows where bigger bands play in a more intimate setting.
Not only are the club shows way more personal, with your VIP ticket, you again get to skip the line. On the last night of the festival, The Avalanches were playing a club show after already playing on one of the main stages at 3am. My old ass could not take another late night, so I went to see them at Sala Apolo. With my VIP wristband, I bypassed the incredibly restrictive line of people also waiting to see them. The bouncers were only letting people in as other people left, and VIP had first dibs on getting in, making my wait about 10 minutes compared to the potential hours others face.
After leaving the DayPro section for DJ sets next to the beach, we arrived at the massive festival grounds the first time, finding ourselves a little fed up while we looked for one of the two VIP section.
We saw a guy wearing a VIP wristband and asked him how to access VIP. It just so happened he was a long time festival goer, so, with drink in hand, he gave us a boozy description of how “absolutely wonderful” VIP ticket purchasers were treated. Based on his description, we were pumped to get in and have a beer while we waited to see our first set, Destroyer.
The first section we entered had zero signs showing it was VIP. You walk into a good size grassy field that even has an entrance way to the beach, which you could totally find time to go to between sets. With your VIP ticket you get €2 beers, €1 waters, half price cocktails, and espresso. In this VIP section there is one food stand with American classics for, like, €5 or so.
Here is a view of this VIP section from the back where the bar is. You can see seating is plentiful. There are also bathrooms to the right that aren’t visible in the photo. They never had a line and were almost always clean and stocked with toilet paper and sanitizer. This alone made Primavera VIP tickets worth it.
You can see one of the larger stages to the right. This particular VIP section is further back, but you have access to incredibly clear sound and the huge screens projecting the bands’ performance.
I was impressed by this section. I was able to stick to my plan of no alcohol until 8:30pm by chugging cheap waters and having regular access to the bathroom without missing any sets. I was even able to puff a J without receiving flack.
If you really came for the music, this VIP section would suit you better as a home base. It was much closer to the other stages that had less famous bands, but a great returning place between sets to down cheap beer, which you can take out of the section.
This VIP section had less traffic and shorter drink/bathroom lines because it wasn’t attracting the people that came there solely for headliners. Some people that did come only for the headliners never stepped foot outside of the VIP area closest to the main stages.
The first day of the festival I really had no reason to go over to the VIP section near the two main stages where headliners perform. That night was going to be Air (who I couldn’t make between Destroyer and Vince Staples) and Tame Impala, who I thought I’d like, but holy shit, that was like an extension of satire based on Aldous Snow. Why are they famous? Whatevz.
After watching Vince Staples chop it up, we decided to walk over to the main VIP where my mind was blown and everything made sense.
This VIP section faces west with the ocean behind you. You’re positioned closer south so you’re not directly between the two main stages. This has its ups and downs depending on which headliners you’re dying to see. For me, it was Radiohead, (who I had no fucking chance of getting up front for), Sigur Rós, Beach House, and Brian Wilson (who I made it front row for). Brian Wilson and Radiohead played on the south stage where there is actually a VIP walkway that leads you to the front stage.
For Radiohead, the barricades were somehow taken down by the anxious crowds, which caused there to be no VIP-Only section. It was fixed the following day, but still kind of a downer when you pay for something that wasn’t planned out better.
This VIP section had a larger bar, three levels of seating, amazingly clean and modern bathrooms that looked as if you were in a shopping mall, and a few more places to eat that weren’t in the other dining areas.
One downside I didn’t consider is that once you check out, you’re out, unless you plan to loop around and go all the way back in, which is not a short or convenient walk when you’re going through seas of drunk and slow people.
I learned this by one of the bathrooms shutting down and being told to “go over there” by security which I thought meant go to a bathroom that was not in VIP. Juuuuust as I was leaving the VIP section - literally in the checkpoint - I noticed the security meant the other bathroom on the north side of the VIP section. They wouldn’t let me back in and I had to go to the non-VIP bathroom with all of the other degenerates. loljk but srsly.
THE LITTLE THINGS
- When you pick up your wristband, you’re welcomed with a canvas backpack with a few gifts in it. While the backpack is practical for the festival, it wasn’t too comfortable, so definitely consider bringing your own. Inside the bag are magazines, decorative festival-themed pins, and a good size book detailing every single performing artist.
- Having a home base: I’ve kind of mentioned this throughout this blog, but you don’t realize how important it is to have a place to relax between sets. I always had a place to sit, I always had access to cheap beverages, and if I was too lazy to walk to the food court - which is directly between the two VIP areas and NOT a short walk - I had access to really good food within the VIP section closest to the main stage.
- Having a great view: As mentioned, there were some bands I could simply not make it up front for. I’m also a short little shit, so this means that if a person even two inches taller than me got in front of me, I was basically just standing around doing nothing but trying to see the band. In VIP, you can see the bands decently, you’re still pretty close, and the screens are basically pointed in your direction.
So, were Primavera VIP tickets worth it? Absolutely. Depending on the line ups, I will make a solid effort to go every single year, while likely alternating between Barcelona and Portugal.
Did you go to the festival? Who was your favorite act? Do you think Primavera VIP tickets are worth it? Let me known comments or share this with a friend who wants to go next year!