Bands tell us what to expect from this year's Be Prog! My Friend festival

Marillion press shot

Friday night


Pete Trewavas: “Over 30 years we’ve been to Spain a lot and they’re always a really great audience, they do love their prog. We really love our new album, so we want to show that off to people. It’s a dark album that is extra poignant now after Brexit happened and Donald Trump got into power, but we’ll have to pick and choose what to play on the night as we don’t want to end up playing for longer than Bruce Springsteen. We’re all getting too old for that!”

Mike Portnoy’s Shattered Fortress

Mike Portnoy: “I’ll be presenting the Twelve Step Suite live in its entirety for the first time with Haken and Eric Gillette [Neal Morse Band] as my band. Writing it was an eight-year process, over five albums, and it’s been a 16-year wait to put the pieces of the puzzle together. It’s a one-off event that I think the fans are gonna really appreciate.”


The Norwegian experimentalists, whose performance at Be Prog! will be a Spanish exclusive, were the first act to be announced for this year’s bill. Described by the festival as “a fresh triumph of modern music, music that catches your heart and soul”, expect their epic, ethereal soundscapes to sail atop the evening breeze at Poble Espanyol.

Also Playing:

Animals As Leaders

Lead by 21st-century guitar hero and innovator Tosin Abasi, their instrumental genre-bending is as expressive as it is algebraic. A sight to behold.

Caligula’s Horse

Like a cross between Karnivool and a more tranquil Dream Theater, this Brisbane band has the charm to match their talent.

Saturday night

Jethro Tull

Ian Anderson: “This will be a brief outing to a festival which is new for us. It will be a ‘best of’ Tull show with an emphasis on our 70s material, but with a few elements from more recent years, too. Lots of fine bands have all contributed in their different ways to this adventurous and esoteric genre over the years, which Be Prog! celebrates, so it is nice for us to be able to contribute.”

Devin Townsend Project

Devin Townsend: “Be Prog! is in such a beautiful, dramatic environment and that played into our performance in 2015. Playing Ocean Machine in full will be a special show and I’m glad to do it there. It’s been an emotionally draining record to revisit in many ways. I believe that it has allowed some creative and personal growth. It’s a very strong record that plays well in a live environment.”


Daniel Cavanagh: “We played Be Prog! three years ago and it was a really special, affirming moment for us so we’re humbled to be asked back. We weren’t the most confident band in the world going into that gig but everybody was really invested in our performance and we came off the stage feeling a little bit better about our place in the world. If it’s anything like that again, we’ll be delighted.”

Also playing:


These eccentric Norwegians have taken off in recent years and it’s no wonder why. They play extravagant and powerful prog rock with fire in their bellies. A dazzling live act.

Jardín de la Croix

Be Prog! always showcases homegrown talent and this Madrid-based instrumental math rock group create some humongous, jittery sounds. Well worth your time.

Be Prog! My Friend essential info

The Essential Info

Everything else you need to know about this year’s event


17:15 – 18:00 Caligula’s Horse

18:30 – 19:40 Animals As Leaders

20:10 – 21:50 Mike Portnoy’s Shattered Fortress

22:20 – 00:20 Marillion

00:50 – 02:00 Ulver


17:15 – 18:00 Jardín de la Croix

18:30 – 20:00 Devin Townsend Project

20:30 – 22:00 Anathema

22:30 – 00:10 Jethro Tull

00:40 – 2:00 Leprous

TICKETS: Day tickets for Saturday cost 130€ advance or 140€ on the door. All ticket holders receive free entry to Friday’s bands as well. There are discounted tickets for the under 13s while kids under five go free.

LOCATION: The festival takes place in the central courtyard of Poble Espanyol, Av Francesc Ferrer I Guardia, 13, 08038, Barcelona Spain. It’s about 30 minutes on foot from the tree-lined street of Las Ramblas and has easy access via public transport.

DISABLED ACCESS: There’s a disabled viewing area at the event, with un-obscured views of the stage.

OTHER ATTRACTIONS: The festival site opens late in the afternoon so you can soak up the city before enjoying the live bands. You’ll be able to buy food and drink, including vegetarian options, in the variety of surrounding bars and restaurants.

ACCOMMODATION: Although Be Prog! is an open-air event, it’s not a camping festival. Instead, try local hotels, Airbnb or Hostelworld for an affordable and comfy bed to rest your head on after a day of whirling prog. A list of nearby hotels can be found on the festival website at

ABOUT THE LOCATION: Poble Espanyol was built in 1929 and is designed to look like a traditional Spanish village with replicas of buildings from different regions. Almost like Barcelona’s answer to Portmeirion, it plays host to craft workshops, bars and restaurants. Its art gallery, however, will be closed during the festival.

DON’T FORGET TO PACK: Suncream, water, ear protectors and some merchandise spends.

Disclaimer: All details are correct at time of press. Visit for more information.

Be Prog! My Friend 2016 live review - Spain

Phil Weller

You can usually find this Prog scribe writing about the heavier side of the genre, chatting to bands for features and news pieces or introducing you to exciting new bands that deserve your attention. Elsewhere, Phil can be found on stage with progressive metallers Prognosis or behind a camera teaching filmmaking skills to young people.