The weekend’s benefit concert for Catalan ministers was a huge success, event organizers from the pro-independence social group Catalan National Assembly (ANC) said.
Ticket sales soared Saturday as over 55,000 attendees filed into Barcelona’s Olympic Stadium in support of the imprisoned political prisoners.
The concert's timing couldn't have been better with bail expected to be posted Monday. The hefty sum will be added to the Solidarity Fund, a reserve set aside to cover the nearly US$2 million in bail, fines, and legal fees for the political prisoners.
The rock concert attracted outstanding acts from international talents such as Banda impossible, Doctor Prats, Oques Grasses, Itaca Band, Els Amics de les Arts and Elèctrica Dharma, with a US group, Sound of Thunder kicking off the day’s events with a metal rendition of Els Segador, the Catalan national anthem.
The crowd was spotted in with yellow and red, waving the regional striped and starred flag to the beat of the music. Anthems, regional favorites, and some new tunes carried the enthusiasm and fighting spirit into the night.
“We’re a country that fights through singing and sings while fighting,” said Augustí Alcoberro, vice president of the ANC, adding, “today is an important day because we’ve once again showed that we have a lot of strength. We want to be free citizens in a free land.”
Near the end of the concert, the crowd was surprised with a video message from ex-Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, his voice filling the stadium.
“I would love to be with you because it would mean I was home,” he said from Brussels. “We’re showing once more how the Catalan people are, and we’ve done so for years with peaceful and non-violent demonstrations.”
Other former ministers also shared a message of peace and hope with the thousands of attendees including Lluis Puig and Meritxell Serret.
Family members of other imprisoned politicians approached the stage to read letters from their loved ones. The final letter came from the former ANC president, Jordi Sanchez, who is currently awaiting trial in Madrid. He cautioned the crowd, reminding that simply paying bail fees will not solve the region’s problems. He encouraged independence fighters to continue their push for freedom.
The concert came to a close with the members of all 20 bands filling the stage with Monica Green leading a Catalan version of Joan Baez’s “We Shall Overcome.”