Since its first edition in 2014, Rock Fest Barcelona has quickly established itself as one of Europe’s top rock and metal music festivals. The line-up gets better each year and has included big name acts like Aerosmith, Deep Purple, Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Whitesnake and Alice Cooper.
In addition to an extensive lineup of acts covering the entire spectrum of hard rock and heavy metal. Barcelona Rock Fest also enjoys a privileged location which allows festival-goers to combine a 3 day music festival with a visit to one of Europe’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities.
Rock Fest Barcelona: The festival site and stages
Rock Fest Barcelona is staged in Can Zam Park; an 11 hectare park in Santa Coloma de Gramanet on the outskirts of Barcelona.
The festival revolves around two identical main stages set-up side by side (Stage Rock on the left and Stage Fest on the right).
The twin stage format has 2 benefits:
- It eliminates the classic festival dilemma of having to choose between two bands that are playing at the same time.
- The bands play almost continuously one after the other throughout the day. Whilst one band is playing on one stage the crew prepare the other stage for the next act.
You can choose to whether to move with the crowd from one stage to the other or bag yourself a prime spot right in front of one of the stages and accept a lesser view of the other stage.
Large screens either side of the stages help people who are further away follow the action on stage. The sound system is powerful and the sound engineers generally manage to ensure that everything sounds good no matter where you are standing.
There is also a third smaller stage at the back of the site called the Rock Tent Stage where lesser known and local bands play. When the bands finish in the Rock Tent stage (at about 3:30 am) DJs from local rock radio stations and night clubs take over.
Most of the acts are on stage for 60 minutes, the headlining bands play for an hour and 45 minutes. Everything is very well organized to ensure each band starts on time. The exact schedule will be published on the Barcelona Rockfest website a few weeks before the event.
The best way to ensure that you don’t miss anything is to install the Rock Fest app on your phone. At first glance the app is just a mobile version of the website but it has one very useful function: If you click on a group’s name in the running order they are added to your calendar. You then receive a message reminding you that they are about to play 1 hour before the band goes on stage.
If you set an alarm for the first band that you want to see each day, when the alarm sounds you should have enough time to get from the city centre (or the beach) to Can Zam. Please make sure you check your calendar settings to make sure that the alarm is configured correctly.
Rock Fest Barcelona dates and schedule 2018
Dates for Rock Fest Barcelona 2018 haven’t been announced yet – check back soon.
In 2017 the festival took place from Friday June 30th to Sunday July 2nd.
Running Order 2017
Friday; Gates open – 13:30, First band – 14:30, Last band – 03:05
Saturday; Gates open – 11:30, First band – 12:40, Last band – 03:45
Sunday; Gates open – 11:30, First band – 12:30, Last band – 01:30
Rock Fest Barcelona lineup 2018
The line-up for 2018 hasn’t been announced yet, hopefully the first bands will be announced by December – check back soon.
The 2017 line-up included; Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, Abbath, Avantasia and Airbourne.
Tickets to Rock Fest Barcelona
Tickets can be purchased online from Ticketmaster or in Barcelona at Carrefour supermarkets, fnac music / book stores and Halcon Viajes travel agents.
When purchasing your ticket through Ticketmaster you will receive a voucher which you then exchange for the ticket at the box office near the entrance to the site.
Facilities at Rock Fest Barcelona
In addition to the three stages where bands perform throughout the day there is also;
The autograph signing tent: Where fans get the chance to meet the bands, get autographs and take photos with their idols. The schedule for the autograph signing tent is normally posted on the app and website shortly before the festival. Note; unfortunately the big name acts don’t normally do signing sessions.
Photo opportunities: If you don’t manage to see your idols at the autograph tent, there are a giant sized guitar and drums and a “guitar throne” where you can take a selfie with your friends to remember the event.
Food trucks and catering: There is a small area with food trucks selling international food. By music festival standards, prices are quite reasonable (€7 to €8 for a bowl of noodles, burger, kebabs, falafel bocadillos etc.) There is a covered area with tables where you can enjoy your food sitting in the shade.
Bars: There are two large bars in the middle of the arena where you can grab a cold beer plus mobile beer sellers circulating among the crowd so you don’t have to miss a song to go and get a beer.
There is also a beer tent with tables and chairs at the back of the site dubbed the Rock Fest Café.
You are not allowed to bring your own food and drink into the site and all festival goers are searched at the entrance. Luckily the drink prices aren’t too high. In 2017 a half litre bottle of water cost €1 and beer cost €3 or €9. Alternatively you can nip off site where you will find enterprising individuals with coolers selling cans of beer for €1.50!
Merchandising: There is an official Rock Fest merchandising stall on site selling the ubiquitous festival T shirts and jackets. Outside the festival entrance there’s a small market with about a dozen stalls selling a wide range of band T shirts, jackets, jewellery etc. If you’re feeling sunburnt you can pick up a hat here for about €10.
Medical facilities: There is a medical tent with a team of paramedics on site.
Toilets: They may not be the most pleasant of places but at least there are plenty of them and toilet queues aren’t usually long. Without going into details, you can expect the seats and floors to be wet. Don’t forget to bring your own toilet paper!
Top tip: There are taps with running water where you can wash your hands located next to the food trucks area.
Rock Fest Barcelona Location
Rock Fest Barcelona takes place in Can Zam Park in Santa Coloma de Gramanet on the outskirts of Barcelona. The festival site is easy to get to from Barcelona city centre and from nearby towns such as Badalona.
How to get to Rock Fest Barcelona
In addition to the fantastic line-ups, the great thing about Rock Fest is the location and how easy it is to get to. Can Zam has its own stop on Barcelona metro line L9 nord.
It takes about 45 minutes to get to the festival site from the city centre. The metro stop is directly in front of the entrance to the festival. You’ll see the stages and hear the music in the park below you as you leave the station.
L9 nord connects to lines L1 and L5 at La Sagrera and I recommend that you chose a hotel near to one of the stops on these lines.
The metro runs until 2 am on Friday night, all night long on Saturday night and until midnight on Sunday.
If you will returning to your hotel after these times, night buses N6, N8 and N8 connect Can Zam to the city centre. There are extra buses laid on during the festival including a special bus which runs from Can Zam to Plaça de les Glories, Plaça de Tetuan and Plaça de Catalunya.
It takes 5 minutes to walk from the festival site to the bus stops, the route is signposted from the entrance. At peak times there are queues to get on the buses but it’s well organized and there are plenty of buses so you shouldn’t have to wait long.
If you are not sure which bus to catch there are bus marshals on hand to help you decide.
Alternatively a there is a taxi rank near to the N6 and N8 bus stops but, at peak times, the queues for the taxis are even longer than the queues for the buses!
Which transport ticket to buy for Rock Fest Barcelona?
For most visitors it is best to purchase a 1 zone T10 multi trip ticket which covers both the metro and the night bus. The T10 costs €9.95 which works out at just under 1 Euro per trip.
Tickets can be purchased at metro and train stations, tram stops and at some tobacconists. You can also use this ticket on the train to and from the airport. More information about transport from and to the airport here.
Where to Stay?
When choosing your hotel in Barcelona it’s best to select one which is close to a metro stop on either the L1 or L5 metro lines, both of which connect with L9 nord at La Sagrera.
I suggest that you choose a hotel near to Plaça de Catalunya. This very central location will allow to spend your mornings visiting Barcelona’s most emblematic attractions and is just 45 minutes from the festival site.
Other good choices would be to stay near to the Sagrada Familia (L5) or in Poblenou near to the Glories metro station (L1).
I prefer to use Booking.com for hotel and apartment rentals. You can search hotels and apartments based on price and location. Most of the hotels allow free cancellations up until a few days before your arrival date.
If you want to stay as close as possible to the Rock Fest then there’s an Ibis Hotel located right next to Can Zam Park. This gives you the advantage of being just a 5 minute walk from the festival site. Allowing you to maximise your time at the festival and have the opportunity to quickly return to your hotel whenever you feel like it.
If you are on a tight budget or want to live the festival experience to the full 24 hours a day, the festival organizers also set up a camp site with shuttle buses to and from the festival site. The camp site is located in Montmelò, about half an hour from Can Zam.
Camping plus transport to and from the festival costs €35 per person for the entire duration, including one day before and one day after the event. Note that fires and naked flames, including stoves and camping gaz are not permitted at the camp site.
Map of the festival site
Have I missed anything? If you’ve something to add or if there’s anything else you need to know about Rock Fest Barcelona please let me know in the comments section below.,