Be Prog! My Friend... Festival Preview
Grab your sombrero and sun cream because Prog is off to Spain this summer for Be Prog! My Friend festival! Taking place in Barcelona over July 1-2, we spoke to the bands playing.
THE PINEAPPLE THIEF
Bruce Soord: “This will be our very first show in Spain. They’ve got a dream line-up this year: Steven Wilson, Opeth and Magma are all playing on the Saturday. It’ll be nice to catch up with Steven, Nick [Beggs] and Mike [Åkerfeldt]. We haven’t played since last year’s Ramblin’ Man festival so it’ll be our Magnolia set, but we’ll have to think of something special to do too. The good thing is we’re headlining the Friday, which means we can then sit back, relax, drink all the free beer and enjoy the music.”
Marjana Semkina: “We’ll be playing the chamber set with our string duo and some percussion, and you can’t get more different from other bands on the festival bill. So we’ll see how the audience responds to such a huge contrast and our almost classical sound. It will be our first appearance in Spain and first big prog festival too – wow, so many things for the first time. Very exciting.”
Arnór Dan Arnarson: “It will be our first time playing in Spain so we’re hoping to be able to connect with new fans. If the audience lends us their ears and eyes, I promise them a very energetic and passionate performance in return. Our new album Destrier only came out last summer so we’re definitely going to do a lot of new songs and we’re planning one helluva show. We’re fans of music and the reason we like playing festivals is because we get to see a lot of interesting stuff. We’re really looking forward to catching Steven Wilson and Opeth too.”
Barcelona-based post-metallers, whose latest album A Year With No Summer was produced by Messenger’s Jaime Gomez Arellano.
Spanish post-rockers with a passion for space. Expect a set crammed with favourites including last year’s Back To Earth.
Steven Wilson: “Barcelona is such a beautiful city so I’m sure it’s going to be a beautiful evening. I think we’ll be playing a full show in two halves. The first half is a complete performance of Hand.Cannot.Erase. with all the films and visuals and the second half is a journey through the rest of my catalogue going back to the songs I wrote in the 90s and coming right up-to-date with the new EP/mini-album 4 ½. I’ve not thought about special guests yet but don’t be surprised if Mikael from Opeth shows up on stage with me!”
Mikael Åkerfeldt: “We played at the very first Be Prog! [in 2014] and I remember the surrounding architecture made it feel like we were in the middle of a spaghetti western! We haven’t discussed this year’s set yet but we’re working on new stuff so we might have something new to play but I’m really looking forward to seeing Magma. They’re the best live band and their shows are among the very best I’ve ever seen in my life. They’re unlike any other musicians out there and their shows are both a beautiful and disturbing experience.”
BETWEEN THE BURIED & ME
Dan Briggs: “The first time we played in Spain, we used Freddie Mercury’s song Barcelona as our intro but the music stopped before it even got to the lyrics so we probably won’t be playing it this time! I think we’ll be leaning pretty heavily on [last year’s] Coma Ecliptic but it’s an incredible line-up. Never in a million years did I think I would get the chance to see Magma let alone share a stage with them. I’m really excited about that.”
ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN
Anneke van Giersbergen: “This will be a show with The Gentle Storm live band. We will focus on the The Gentle Storm album The Diary, but the set will also feature some The Gathering classics. It’ll also be the first show with my new guitar player Maarten Stoelhorst. I can’t wait to present him to the audience, he’s insanely gifted! The line-up as a whole is amazing. My fellow Dutchmen Textures are great, but I really hope to catch Opeth live again. I saw their set at Tuska Open Air last year and totally loved it.”
A rare festival appearance from Christian Vander’s highly experimental musical outlet. Expect the unexpected!
Following the release of the anticipated Phenotype, the highly technical Dutch prog-metallers will be closing the festival with a special post-midnight set.
Be Prog! My Friend
The Essential Info Everything else you need to know about this year’s event
LINE-UP FRIDAY JULY 1 (Doors at 5pm) The Pineapple Thief, iamthemorning, Agent Fresco, Obsidian Kingdom, Exxasens.
LINE-UP SATURDAY JULY 2 (Doors at 4pm) Steven Wilson, Opeth, Magma, Between The Buried & Me, Anneke van Giersbergen, Textures.
TICKETS: Day tickets for Saturday cost 90€ in advance or 100€ on the door. All ticket holders will gain free entry to Friday’s bands as well. There are discounted tickets available for the under 13s, and kids under five go free.
LOCATION: The festival takes place in the central courtyard of Poble Espanyol, Av Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, 13, 08038, Barcelona, Spain. It’s about 30 minutes on foot from the tree-lined street of Las Ramblas and has easy to access via public transport.
TRAVEL: The closest airport is Barcelona, which is 7.5 miles away. Public transport is recommended to reach the festival site. Either take the metro to Espanyol or the Autobús to Poble. If you’re travelling by car, you’ll find private parking nearby.
DISABLED ACCESS: There’s a disabled viewing area at the event.
OTHER ATTRACTIONS: The festival site opens late in the afternoon so you can soak up the city before enjoying the live bands. You’ll be able to buy food and drink, including vegetarian options, in the surrounding bars and restaurants. As an added bonus, you’ll also be able to quaff Opeth’s very own Communion Pale Ale at the festival.
ACCOMMODATION: Although Be Prog! is an open-air event, it’s not a camping festival. Instead, try local hotels or Airbnb for a comfy bed where you can reflect upon the excellent music you’ve been listening to. A list of nearby hotels can be found on the festival website at www.beprogmyfriend.com.
ABOUT THE LOCATION: Poble Espanyol was built in 1929 and is designed to look like a Spanish village with replicas of buildings from different regions. Within the village, there are craft workshops, bars and restaurants to visit. Please note: Museu Fran Daurel art gallery will be closed during the Be Prog! Festival.
DON’T FORGET TO PACK: Sun cream, water, ear protectors and extra euros to spend on the official merchandise.
Disclaimer: All details are correct at time of press. Visit the Be Prog! website for the latest info.