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Old 10-05-11, 05:47 PM   #1
Irina
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: New Orleans
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New Zealand La Merce 2011 Barcelona

I crashed La Merce this year, it was awesome, Guardia did not bother me at all - but I knew the situation in Barcelona and avoided La Rambla and tried to be in the crowd and far away from security. (they wear neon yellow shirts, you can see them a block away). I did Saturday on Plaza Catalunya in front of the stage with dancers and Sunday in Ciutadella Park - the whole park is packed wall to wall, several stages with circus shows, tonns of kids. Also a great pitch during La Merce is walkway between Ark De Triomf and entrance to Ciutadella - there were jugglers, ballooon-twisters, face-painters, bubble-guys etc etc - and wall to wall crowd moving in both directions to and from metro Arc De Triomf ... Do not try to work in Gothic Quarter - tonns of cops all over the place and the crowd is too busy watching human towers. La Rambla is closed for street performers except "the chosen ones" who proudly display their permits...I saw Guardia closing street shows there, but at least they just close you, check your passport and tell you to leave. If you have ID - they will not arrest you or write a ticket, but it's just a waste of time, there are way better pitches then Rambla during Merce...Portal De Angels is OK for circle shows (metro Plaza Catalanya), no hussles with Guardia, but it is not as busy as Arc De Triomf or Ciutadella and there are several 'local regulars" who work Portal every day, so it may be hard to get a good spot.
Corrifoc ( Devils' Fire Run) was amazing- I just went to participate and take pictures, not to work, people are covering their faces with fabric and wearing protective glasses there, because the devils spray fireworks right into the crowd, so there's no reason to try to face-paint...If you make it to Merce - it's a must thing to see, it's only once a year, and the city is trying to forbid it because it is dangerous and people do get burned...awesome gig to do anything with fire! (not for money, just for fun)
I did not go to Motjuic Park during Merce, but it might be a good pitch too - they have circus/light show around Magic Fountain. (metro Espana and walk uphill to Catalanya Museum) On both Sat and Sunday there are fireworks on Barcelonetta Beach - wall to wall people after sunset (metro Barcelonetta).
The schedule for La Merce in English is usually available online a couple of weeks before the event, but locations are pretty much the same every year, so you can look up 2011 schedule and find locations on the map.
If you have a "world class" show and great promo - try to get in as a hired performer , it is a huge festival and they hire a lot of variety performers to entertain public, but you can not pass the hat if you are hired. They had bands, aerial shows, dancers, circus acts etc. on stages and in street level enclosures. I do not know whom to contact, just google La Merce management...probably easier to ask somebody to do it for you in Spanish, or even better - in Catalan, they speak very little English in Barcelona.

Money was so-so - they are pretty broke in Spain, but people are very nice and it's a majestic city and great festival , so it was worth to go just for experience!
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