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Cruïlla Festival: international line-up, local soul

Jordi Herreruela has seen the festival grow from its first, humble years in Mataró to its powerful place on the scene in Barcelona today

Cruïlla is a large festival with an international line-up that doesn’t exclude local talent. From 12 to 14 July, Parc del Fòrum plays host to this macrofestival that aims to cater to both the local audience and artists. Noteworthy headliners this year include David Byrne and Jack White, two former leaders of legendary bands like the Talking Heads and the White Stripes, great artists like Gilberto Gil, legends of electronic music like Orbital and local artists like Ramon Mirabet, Joan Dausà and La Pegatina, not to mention emerging talents like Núria Graham and Joana Serrat.

Cruïlla aims to be the antidote to all the maladies that afflict big festivals. It is possible to see all the headliners without worrying about missing your favourite band because they’re playing at the same time. The festival caps the number of tickets sold to make sure everyone is comfortable and the event isn’t plagued by agonising queues and impossible crowds. It is particularly careful with the environmental impact of the event, implementing new concepts like biodegradable cups and power-saving technology, although Herreruela humbly avoids ringing his own bell for the festival’s eco-friendliness. And it also includes local artists in the line-up, avoiding the feeling of being at a festival that could be in Barcelona or anywhere else in this increasingly globalised world. Finally, it proudly defends an eclectic array of music and avoids any bias towards a specific musical style. An event, then, that, over masses and setting records each year, prefers a comfortable, musically rich experience in line with a world in which people stream music and no longer listen to it in album format, but love songs from a variety of artists and collect moments more than formats.

Music festivals require complex production machinery that, year after year, experience cycles of creation, conception and production that require flexible, changing teams. It isn’t easy to unravel them and Herreruela, possibly influenced by his scientific background (he studied computer science and telecommunications in Mataró and then worked in the international finance sector before moving into promoting music), proudly implies that Cruïlla is a pioneer in the use of technology, from its pricing strategy, which changes depending on the channel, to innovation in details like biodegradable cups, implementing power-saving technology, cash-free payment bracelets and making the performance arts part of the festival, this year with La Fura dels Baus and a taste of Aquelarre de Cervera.

A macrofestival on a human scale, which this year will feature a monumental centre stage designed by Lluís Danés, and which also aspires to one day open up even more to the sea, going beyond the limits of a spot that is perfect for festivals, Parc del Fòrum, but may possibly have too much cement and not enough sea breeze.