This year, yes. After two years of limitations and restrictions, la Mercè will once more be celebrated in the city’s streets and squares. We will once again fill Barcelona with dancing, music, traditions and happiness. We will once again climb to the skies with the castellers, enjoy cercavilas with the giants and ‘big heads’ and run beneath the sparks and dazzling stars. We deserve to enjoy our annual festival with the same intensity as always. I’m delighted that we can get together, once again, to enjoy the festivities of our city!
And who better to inaugurate this Mercè of reunion than Carla Simon: a young woman, born and bred in Barcelona, who is one of the most renowned film makers in our country and around the world. She is a director with a unique, distinctive style who seeks to universalise everyday life with a feminist outlook and a sensitivity that appeals to our hearts. Barcelona is very fortunate to have her as an opening speaker.
This year, for the first time, the guest city will be Italian: Rome, a Mediterranean city and cradle of the arts with which we have much in common. In fact, in Barcelona, the largest community of foreign origin is Italian. We will not, of course, forget about the Ukrainian people. We sincerely wish that Kyiv will be able to join us next year, and are hoping for the end of the war and for peace to triumph over all.
Culture, which provided such great company during the lockdown and the pandemic and really helped us to keep going, will enjoy a strong presence at La Mercè. We will be turning numerous places and spots in the city into stages showcasing art, talent and innovation. There will be dancing, music, circus, open-air cinema and a wide variety of sounds and rhythms. For a few days, artists will take over the city with the only limits being those imposed by their imagination.
Barcelona is its neighbourhoods, and the La Mercè programme will also be experienced in them. Since culture empowers us and gives us rights and freedoms, it is important that it reaches all the neighbourhoods. For this reason, we are adding new spaces to our list, such as the Aqueduct Park in Ciutat Meridiana, the Zona Universitària and the Ronda de Sant Antoni.
We live in a time of uncertainty and crisis that must lead us to learn, change and imagine the city of the future. We must reinvent ourselves so that we can leave a world worth living in to our sons and daughters. We must put life at the forefront of our minds and take care of ourselves, like the three generations embracing each other in the beautiful poster by David de las Heras that so beautifully reflects Barcelona. It is a caring city that leaves no one behind; that looks to the future with optimism and confidence; that is proudly diverse and supportive; and that tackles challenges shoulder-to-shoulder with our colleagues and loved ones. Because as a community we are more than the sum of our parts, and we can make the seemingly impossible possible.
Before finishing, I would like to thank all the people whose efforts and dedication have made this celebration, which belongs to everyone and is for everyone, a reality. We’re all very excited for it to begin. We want the celebrations to be full of love and respect, free of sexism, racism and LGBTI-phobia. An open and participatory Mercè. Let's enjoy our annual festival, giving the best of ourselves and embracing the proudly diverse city that we are.
Long live La Mercè!
Long live Barcelona!
Ada Colau Ballano
The Mayor of Barcelona