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GapYear.com is a social network and travel advice website committed to providing travellers with everything they need to know about taking a gap year.

I contributed an article to the GapYear.com blog about La Mercè festival in Barcelona, which was a great opportunity to write for a different audience, having spent most of my career to date working in the luxury travel sector.

Discover your new favourite band

One of the things I loved about La Mercè was that it isn’t just about preserving a bunch of historical traditions in aspic, it’s also a festival that embraces the modern.

On the first night I found myself squashed on to a Metro packed full of boisterous young Catalans chugging on plastic bottles of homemade kalimotxo (red wine and Coke – much nicer than it sounds), headed for the vast Parc del Fòrum, one of the venues for the BAM (Barcelona Acció Musical) music festival that runs during La Mercè. A huge sound system was kicking out thumping bass, the seething crowd bouncing up and down in the glare of staccato strobe lights, and we stayed well into the night. I couldn’t tell you who I saw play – while the festival sometimes features well known artists, it’s really about showcasing less established local acts.

We also spent a night wandering from Plaça to Plaça checking out the more intimate stages scattered around the Ciutat Vella, our evening lubricated by the ubiquitous Pakistani street vendors who sell cold cans of beer out of a carrier bag for a euro or two.

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