This year is special for the Festes de la Mercè: it’s the 150th anniversary of Barcelona’s main festival since the city council started organising it. It was in 1871 that a celebration for the people of the city with cultural activities was established. To celebrate this anniversary, popular culture plays an important role in this year's programme.
The odd note
The festivities honour the Virgin of Grace, to whom some miracles are attributed. One of them took place in 1687. That year, the city was affected by a plague of locusts and many citizens asked the Virgin for help until she finally put an end to that nightmare. It was then that she was named patron.
The festival has experienced ups and downs throughout history. Nowadays it’s consolidated and the public can enjoy a programme full of activities for every taste: popular culture parades, concerts, activities for children and the traditional pyromusical, which puts an end to the celebration.
New locations, popular culture and concerts
Once again, the Festes de la Mercè are marked by the coronavirus pandemic. For this reason, a protocol encompassing every security measure has been designed. To control capacity limits, you must make a reservation to attend most of the activities.
As in last year’s edition, the festival will reach neighbourhoods in Barcelona that until now had not been able to enjoy it. Among the new locations, some highlights are the Turó de la Peira park and the Vall d'Hebron football pitch. In total, there are 23 locations with a maximum capacity of up to 3,000 people.
In recent months, popular culture events have been severely affected by restrictions aimed at containing the spread of Covid-19. That’s why popular culture takes on special relevance in the programming of La Mercè 2021. A space has been created on Passeig de Gràcia (between Carrer de la Diputació and Carrer del Rosselló) where a parade with giants, castellers (human towers), correfocs (fire-runs) and beasts can be seen.
The concerts organised as part of the BAM, Acció Cultura Viva and Mercè Música festivals are among the highlights. You can find information on how to reserve tickets to access the spaces on the city council website.
Get to the celebration safely
To get around all the locations of La Mercè, we recommend using public transport and your Hola Barcelona Travel Card. And if you feel like seeing the city from another point of view, you can take the Barcelona Bus Turístic and the Montjuïc Cable Car, which await you with a special offer: from 21 to 26 September, if you buy tickets through the Hola Barcelona website, you will get a 30% discount by entering the code Mercè at the time of purchase.
The grand finale: music, fire and light
La Mercè doesn’t end until it’s time for the pyromusical. This year, fireworks will also be launched from four points across the city so people can enjoy them from home. It will be a musical tribute to Havana, this year’s guest city, and to the 150th anniversary of the festival.