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Have A Cigar: Be Prog! My Friend Festival

Juan Antonio, founder of Spain’s leading prog festival, on mixing the old with the new.

The adjective ‘fearless’ is bandied around a lot in prog – not least because most progressive musicians are tenacious in their need to expand the boundaries of their art.

Even outside the music, it’s undeniable that the scene thrives on a cocktail of heart and courage. Juan Antonio, founder of Spain’s premier prog festival, Be Prog! My Friend, is no different: “Be Prog! has no public help from the city council or any other organisation so we’re dependent exclusively on the ticket sales,” he says. “We think the only way to grow is by taking risks.”

Antonio founded Be Prog! in 2014, when lots of Europe’s alternative festivals were pulling down their awnings. But his plan was to do something more offbeat. “We believed in a different kind of festival, where bands could play almost complete shows in beautiful locations – such as Poble Espanyol in Barcelona. I was working as a promoter doing club shows for many prog bands in Spain and I felt that there was an audience demanding something like that here.”

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