come on, it's sant joan ...
Exactly. So there are thousands of drunk people setting off fireworks in the street all night, and no visible police presence. No wonder a small minority of tourists think you can do whatever you want in Barcelona with no repercussions.
I'm not saying the police should stop Sant Joan, I'm saying that there should be a police presence in places where there are a lot of drunk people, and there isn't.
you're mixing things here. drunks get drunk, fireworks are set off mainly by kids with their families and these things happen in separate environments. none of this is a crime so police presence is not needed at all. accidents do happen, though, and even occasional vandalism. i've seen many waste containers light up on sant joan. firefighters tend to show up promptly. no big deal.
if you love this city it's a pity you didn't get a glimpse into the magic and the exceptionality that imbues this very special night. this pagan celebration dressed with a catholic 'cover' for political reasons is (was?) pretty unique and pretty deep in the roots of collective conscience. and although it has been very much 'globalized' and lost much of its charm there is still a lot going on for many. you should have seen it when i was a kid, with bonfires on every beach, on almost every crossing in the eixample, a freaking wonderful ... warzone of fire, love, happiness and magic. you could literally breath it. it was that very special night when you were allowed to do all things usually prohibited, literally play with fire, where generations of catalans have gotten laid for the first time. if you are alive ... what's fucking not to like?? :D it's sant joan!
of course it isn't the same now, partly taken over by the party-till-you-drop industry. the same one that is absorbing new year's revetlla and the festes de gràcia with their top quality product: cheap booze, extremely loud music and a license to piss on the streets. aaaand tourists, of course. you did know that you were coming into an underdeveloped country, did you? :)
but it's still sant joan and i'm afraid you just haven't experienced it in an appropriate environment. it's actually a family/neighboor thing, you won't find it in mass parties, which are just the standard screw up. as a lone stranger you need to be hooked up by some friend into his/her circles. people honoring these traditions are dwindling but should not be hard to find yet. and catalans have nothing against foreigners, you will be welcome, i guarantee you.
Escudellers is where the worst tourists seem to end up
escudillers would be the last place i would choose for sant joan! it's probably fine for any other night if you're ok with lumpen and it's sort of burlesque and dissonant ambient. i liked it a lot for much of my youth, i don't go down there much lately but it still is pretty much the same ... in a different way.
people selling drugs quite openly
i honestly can't see a problem with that. were you forced to buy? :)
Try getting a NIE (even as an EU citizen) since the hostility got ramped up last year. Now you need a work contract, padrón, and more. And try getting a work contract or a lease on a flat (to get the empadronamiento) without a NIE. Possible, but hard. And you won't be able to get your utilities connected without a NIE (and you have to wait weeks for a cita previa)
hold on. every local is subject to exactly the same process to obtain his dni (the equivalent of your dnie), which is mandatory from age 16. and yes, bureaucracy is nuts. now listen: i once lost my dni. first of all, it had already expired 15 years ago and i never had the slighest trouble (apart from some bank clerk being a jerk and having to call up the director, occasionally), this should already tell you a lot about how things work around here. i wouldn't have bothered to go to the police if i hadn't lost the darn thing. funny thing is that the police officer absolutely refused to issue a new one unless i could deliver ... (get a seat) ... the whole history of ins (altas) and outs (bajas) of the padrons where i had lived for the last 25 years or so. in my case that would cover about a dozen different locations. so i now would have to make a request to each of those places for the relevant documents. lucky me, i had recently made one such request and remembered a crucial detail: you need a dni to be able to request such document in the first place. guess what? confronted with this dilemma the officer just silently issued my new dni, an exact replica with the same 25 year old address. he told me to fix that asap. i never bothered, and you can bet he knew. since the i have renewed my dni once more. it still shows the same address.
i have to ask again. you DID know you were visiting an underdeveloped country, didn't you? this is how stuff works around here. it's no different for local or for strangers. strangers just have a harder time catching up.
there's still plenty i would like to comment, but this is getting too long already. maybe next time. anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts anyway!