Like so many other Burners said before him and will say after him.
Still, watching Playa personalities unfold via a screen gives yet another good impression of the mind-blowing journey of a people & nature spectacular Burning Man is. And of what to expect this year. For old Burners and Burners-to-be.
Oh, forgot to say… I JUST GOT THE TICKETS FOR THIS YEAR TOO!!!
Did you ever reflect over how some cities in the world seem to be loved by everybody? Like, when you’re having a conversation and the name Barcelona comes up, haven’t you noticed how everyone always goes: Oh, Barcelona! Yes, I freaking love that city, man. It’s so cool, it has everything! I really need to go back there. And if someone in that conversation reveals they haven’t been they’ll probably be told: What, you haven’t been? It’s such a must. Trust me, it’s the best! If the person himself didn’t already interrupt: I know, I know, Barcelona is definitely one of the places I have to visit asap. Everybody always tells me that. It’s on my bucket list this year.
No wonder you’ve been in a similar conversation, because sure thing; Barcelona is one of those cities you just fall in love with. In almost all rankings of Best Cities, Barcelona is among the top 3. The other highly ranked cities are almost always New York, Berlin, London, San Francisco, Cape Town, Rio de Janeiro, Copenhagen, Buenos Aires and Tokyo… Why is that so?
Personally I’ve been a devoted urban traveler for a long time and consider myself a bit over the top interested in trends within the travel industry. Although there obviously are several factors – e.g. geographical, historical and political – that count for a place to become a popular destination among many people (from many different countries), I personally think a city is amazing when it has a mix of great geography (sea, mountain, forest, rivers), friendly locals, vibrant city life (including a variety of food, art, night life & fashion), and a somewhat characteristic architecture. And that’s why I think Barcelona scores so high. It has all of that!
Since my first visit in 2003 and a six months stay in 2005 Barcelona has been one of my favorite cities – thus a city I make sure to visit every year (though I still haven’t visited half of the cities I’d like to). Out of my love for Barcelona I’ve decided to repost a popular city guide from my blog called 14 musts in Barcelona.
Starting off with the obvious temptations:
1. Gaudi, of course. The extraordinary architecture by the highly admired architect Antoni Gaudi (1852- 1926) is known for having made Barcelona into such a uniquely looking city. There is no place in the world you will see anything like the buildings he constructed over hundred years ago. Sagrada Familia, Casa Gaudi, The Guel park (see point 6), Casa Mila and Casa Batllo and much more. At the tourist information in the airport, or downtown (or at your hotel) you’ll get maps over where to find the marvelous constructions. There is also a Gaudi museum in Barcelona that can be good to start a full-on Gaudi day with. My recommendation however is to divide the Gaudi tours into two days according to where the spectaculars are and mix the go-see with other interesting things in each part of the city.
2. Understand the Spanish VS Catalan issue. The sooner you learn some about this, the better. It can in fact affect even a short stay in Barcelona, if the (wrong) person confronts you with this and feel you’re ignorant to the topic. Respect the locals’ feelings about this topic. Advice: Learn to say good day and thanks in Catalan – they’ll love you for it. “Bon dia” & “Merci” (NOT “Buenos dias” & “Gracias” – that’s Spanish!).
3. The beach! When cultural and vibrant cities have a coastline, they often get considered much more beautiful. This fact certainly concerns Barcelona with its not too polluted beaches, despite of occasionally being pretty over-crowded. The beach is long and I always make sure to spend one day strolling from one end to the other along the well-kept promenade. There is a good chance you’ll find whatever you consider is “the perfect beach slot” for you – it be more family-friendly, party-like, high-endish, or hippie-ish. There are small beach bars every 100 meter and good restaurants along the promenade. Make sure to choose local places over major chains like KFC.
4. The different barrios. In my opinion you don’t actually get to know a city before you get to know the features of its different neighbourhoods. Some cities may not have too defined neighbourhoods (something I quickly find boring), but luckily Barcelona does. You can say Ciutat Vella is what makes up the “city center” and within this area you’ll find the gorgeous and well-kept old towns Born & Barrigotic (see the Gothic Quarter!) on one side of the (extremely touristy) avenue La Rambla, and the vibrant (and very popular) immigrant area Raval on the other. And yes; all the barrios are brilliant for people watching, drinking, eating and shopping.
Then you got the area La Barceloneta & La vila Olimpica by the harbour. Here you can look at the boats, eat in a fine restaurant, stroll down the beach promenade and if you’re interested in such visit the Aquarium. If you got plenty of time, and/or are not interested in walking where all the other tourists are, consider visiting the surrounding Le Corts (a little west-endish), Gracia and Glories (though the most famous tourist attraction in Spain (La Sagrada Familia) is situated in between the two latter so you do indeed meet foreigners here too).
5. The plazas. Because Spanish people love getting together for chats and drinks (and are privileged with a climate that allows it pretty much all year), small and big squares packed with restaurants, bars and fountains are characteristic in South European cities. In Barcelona they are everywhere, however not always that easy to find on a map. Plaza Real (at La Rambla) is one of the bigger and very touristy, Passeig del Borne (Born) is more of a street than a plaza but cool (young, hipstery) people hang here, Plaza del Sol (Gracia) is small, young and hippie-ish, the huge Plaza outside of MACBA in Raval is chilled and full of skaters and tourists, Plaza triangular (Barrigotic) is tiny and quite local, Plaza de Sant Jaume connects two barrios and this and that plaza, oh I could go on forever… Just sit down for a beer or a cold Clara (Spanish for shandy), some tapas and enjoy.
6.The parks. Barcelona has many small parks hidden between streets and buildings, but Ill highlight the bigger parks where you can spend a day relaxing and enjoying a taste of nature within the hectic city. (All the parks are perfect for people traveling with children). Parc de la Ciutadella is ground of both the Catalan Parliament building and Barcelona Zoo and part of its charm lies in its ornamental waterfall and artificial lake. You can take a boat out onto the lake, play table tennis, or enjoy any of the seasonal activities and events the park hosts every week.
Montjuïc park got world known during the 1992 Olympic Games and currently offers a green oasis for culture, sports and entertainment in Barcelona. It’s located on the mountain Montjuïc with a spectacular view of the city and offers theaters and museums, fountains and gardens, sports facilities and fairground pavilions.
The park Guell, built by Gaudi between 1900 and 1924 was originally going to host around sixty houses and a chapel, but was never finished. As a result, it became the property of the city of Barcelona in 1922 and is today one of the main tourist attractions in the city. The view from here is stunning and Gaudi’s particular style is clearly noticeable in the uncommon architectural forms and bright colors.
And for even more stunning views (and potentially some hiking) you go to Tibidabo, which happens to not only be Barcelona’s highest mountain but also represents an old amusement park. The place is well known from the movie Vicky Christina Barcelona and for yet another precious cathedral.
7. Tapas! Though some Nationalistic Catalans (they’re plenty) would disagree, Barcelona is in Spain, and the Spaniards love their tapas. Get used to eating your lunch and dinner like them – and remember tapas is to be shared between people. The classic ones: aceitunas (olives), pan con tomate (bread with tomato), aioli (thick white sauce made of garlic and olive oil, to eat on bread and with seafood), patatas bravas (thick fried potato chunks with a special spicy tomato sauce), tortilla (thick egg omelet with potatoes) and albondigas (meat balls with a touch) and gambas a la plancha (grilled shrimps, or shrimps cooked in a dry-fryish way on a pan).
For the seafood lovers there are plenty of options – especially for the valiant. Grilled pulpo (octupus) and calamar (squid) is very common and delicious! Chipirones en su tinta (mini squids served in their ink!!) as well, and trust me- it’s yummy! Grilled or dry-fried boquerones (anchovies) you eat whole, and various bacalao (cod in sauce) dishes are served many places. And don’t forget your sangria, it’s just a myth that Spanish people don’t drink it themselves.
8. La Champañeria. Actually I was unsure whether to post about this, or not, as it’s one of these places you love just the way it is. But I hate it when others keep those secrets away from me, so here it goes. La Champañeria is a gem of an authentic Spanish cava & tapas bar. It’s located at the bottom of Born, in the small street Carrer de la Reina Cristina 7 (close to the harbour). You find it by noticing the crowd of people outside, especially around midday (lunch time for locals). In my opinion it’s the perfect place to go as a couple or with a small group before or after a day on the beach. The bar is tiny but takes surprisingly many people that don’t mind squeezing together..
Beware! You go to La Champañeria to get some local, historic vibes and taste their Cava and tapas (both simple, but delicious). Here you’ll kick your way through used carton plates and tissues, and order at the bar with jams hanging over your head. The old sweaty waiters are in a hurry and don’t speak much English, so be patient and speak clearly as it’s normally crowded and noisy. One bottle is served with three plates of tapas.
Open from 9am – 10.30pm, closed on Sundays.
9. La Boqueria. Originally called Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, this market is one of the oldest in town, dating back to 1217 (!). It’s easy to find on a map and by walking up La Rambla (with entrance from La Rambla). A perfect place to suck in some history and watch how a typical old Spanish market works, and to buy fresh bread, cheese, fruits, fish and meet (if you’re keen on a picnic in a park or live in an apartment and want to cook).
10. Get inspired! Absorb quirky art and fabulous street performance. Regarding street performance, many seem to think that the street artists in La Rambla are of the best in the world! Regarding contemporary art, visit MACBA in Raval, follow this and google where to find different galleries. Between Barrio Gotic and Born you have two streets full of photo shops and posters and quirky art that I love to visit. For graffiti-interested, the whole city is a gallery actually (just read this). You’ll also find plenty of inspirational stuff by googling the topic.
11. Bars! Oh yes: BARcelona! First of all; the nicest bars are obviously not the ones you find in the middle of La Rambla. Then again some of the most historical bars (and also frequently visited by locals) are very close by. Just google and mark them on a map and start your round. The level of cocktail making skills is high! In Raval you have Rabipelao, Ambar and Lobo bar: all stylish, yet odd, chilled & fun. Close by are the two old and unique bars Bar Marsella (be careful with the absinthe, they’re not joking), and Le Pastis (Raval). However Boadas in Barrigotic claims to be the oldest in Barcelona and you should definitely go here if you want a peak into the 1940′s. Sugar bar, Pipa club and Le Petit Jet lag are also all in Gotic, tiny and innovative. In Born around Passeig del Borne and its side streets (mentioned above) you have many more! Not to mention in Gracia.
12. Nightlife! My favorite club when I lived in Barcelona was Sala Apolo; An old small theatre situated in Raval (metro stop Paralel). It still exists and hopefully will forever, has amazing bookings and loads of experimental electronica and hip hop. Razzmatazz is also great, a huge venue with 5 rooms and good concerts from time to time (but check their events online first). La Paloma is a historical gem but be sure to check if it’s open. It constantly has neighbour trouble as it’s in the middle of a resident area in Raval. La Terraza is beautiful and located up in the hills of the city (perfect for warm summer night), though it’s not my kind of vibe (quite high-endish). City Hall (on Placa Catalunya) also had some good concepts going on, but I’m afraid you have to find out of these things yourself when first deciding to go somewhere. It really depends on your music and style, amigo, hence I’d check ResidentAdvisor.com and Timeout.com to find recommendations for the style/music I’d fancy.
El Row 14 is apparently a mad club where they play with inflammable toys and dress out. It typically offers electronic music and is probably for the more party valiant as it’s situated a bit outside town and in the Spanish clubbing-way open til early morning (I’ve heard many people start their daytime party here around 10am). Very good bookings of national and international DJs. (EDIT: This place is closest as of 2014)
13. Festivals. Sure thing, the Spaniards embrace their festivos (“holy days”) and find any excuse to throw a party or celebrate something with a festival. Ill mention the most known events for now. Late March: Sitges (gay) carnival has become a wild tourist attraction. Late May: Primavera sound. Mid June: Sitges gay parade. Mid June: Sonar: Barcelona’s biggest festival – and one of my all time favorites (thus promoted several times before). It offers electronic music but also all kinds of experimental stuff including old school hip hop etc. June 24: San Juan (celebration of a saint (generally speaking: a massive beach party). Mid September: Merce. A massive traditional carnival alike party in which locals, families and tourists gather to celebrate Catalan traditions, watch endless parades and intense street fireworks (!).
14. Avoid getting pick-pocketed or mugged! With mass tourism Barcelona – that unfortunately holds a large number of poor inhabitants – has become a Mecca for pickpockets. Like in any other place in the world you have to take precautions, and the typical advices are: Don’t watch street performers in crowded areas/ stand on crowded metros/ walk in crowded streets without having control of you valuables. It’s also common that poor kids wander around tourists’ tables asking for money, cigarettes or directions, but with an attempt to steal. I’ve been to many places considered more ‘dangerous’ than Barcelona (and it may of course be a coincidence) but I’ve honestly never heard of/ seen (and even stopped) as many robberies as here.
General points: Barcelona is perfect for a lot of walking so wear good shoes. To travel further you depend on taxis and public transport. The latter is more environmentally friendly and a cheaper and fun way to see the city. Also, Barcelona is very children- and gay friendly.
After my first Burning Man I lean more than ever to what Miriam Beard once said:
“Certainly travel is more than the seeing of sights, it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living”.
The rest of ideas and impressions I’m left with is under heavy digestion, so a post about it is to be continued.
In the meantime, reflect over these. In the middle of the Nevada desert.
Yup I still keep searching for the artists I love and their gigs around. Among them are (un)fortunately plenty I haven’t seen live, but to not bore you with a very long list, I keep it at my lucky number which is 7.
The below list extends the last list I wrote back in 2010 over artists I dreamed at seeing then. I just realised it needed to be updated.
1. Radiohead (or Thom Yorke solo)
2. Fleetwood Mac
3. Cinematic Orchestra
4. Moderat (but I did see Apparat!!)
5. Femi Kuti
6. David Bowie (can’t believe I had forgot him on the last list?)
7. Daft Punk (fuck them for not coming to Glastonbury this year the way eeeeverybody predicted…)
Since the last bucket list I could line these over
8. Jonsi (All alone at Sonar weeping my eyes out)
9. Bonobo with band (at XOYO, London)
10. Portishead (PURE MAGIC at Glastonbury 2013) 11. The Rolling Stones (Sorry I’m cheating as they weren’t even on the last list, but I did see them for the first and probably last time in my life at Glastonbury 2013. It was wicked) 12. Trentemoller. TWICE! (And can’t believe he wasn’t on the last list either..)
Before March 2010 I was able to line these over:
Tori Amos Antony & the Johnson Bjork Madonna Ingrid Olava
To be honest I find describing music and artists equally boring as describing art.. However, I’ve decided to give it a go this time, as it’s difficult to mention a music festival without mentioning its musical acts.
After discovering the new venue of Sonar day Thursday afternoon, V had some meetings regarding Bridges for Music, hence I decided to check out Richie Hawtin’s free popup gig in its new location. The annual and very popular off-Sonar show is known to take place in La boqueria in Raval (read my post from last year’s Sonar here) and see , but has now moved to El Parque Ciutadella, near the harbour.
Stepping out of the metro 10 minutes away from the park I felt the typical mega-excitement among young Spaniards that already had lined up along the way for their botellon (expression for the concept of drinking plenty somewhere public before entering a party), and smiled my way to the park. Sweating too that is, because oh my it was cooking..
The above pic shows how it looked when I arrived
and the below pic shows the crowd from stage, just when Rich started.
As you see what started as a secret popup gig isn’t very secret anymore.
I’m not convinced if it was worth it missing out on Gold Panda at Sonar, but it was fun to catch up with the Minus guys again over some Sake and talk about last time we met – in South Africa – (read post from it all here) while bouncing to techno in the boiling heat. Also fun to see Rich’s parents who always are in Europe around this time; both so fresh, happy and easygoing.
Heading back to Sonar I was super eager to discover an artist I’ve read about lately, but never heard of before; the pianist Fransesco Tristano. And WOW: What an explosion of classical and electronic music mixed together, a rather unique experiment of pure and rough piano playing accompanied with deep bass in both melancholic and dance-rhythm like tunes. Kinda reminded me of some of the old sets of the Norwegian electronica and jazz artist Bugge Wesseltoft in his glory days.. Point is: not one single person was sitting down during the second half of the concert. Just amazingly refreshing and surprising all together! I’ll definitely continue checking on him from now on.
Before Tristano we got a quick glimpse of Sebastian Tellier whose song La Ritournelle is one of my favorite of all times. As much as I’d like to hear that song being performed live I must say there is something with Tellier that just makes me see a big banner with PRETENTIOUS written over it. Why the attitude?
Finally, the two DJs hired to close Sonar Village on Thursday were the two Norwegian cutie-pies Lindstrøm and Todd Terje, with nothing but a live act! We met some friends by the bar and loved finally being able to stand under the sun. What I liked the most from the gig was to see how intensely the DJs were concentrated on their set, which was a fun contrast to the crowd that was going absolutely mental on the dance floor. And – maybe it was due to the crowd, maybe it was due to the sudden blissful feeling of summer – that made the DJs put on Whitney Houston’s “I wanna dance with somebody” as a closing track (!)…
Hahaha, true story!
The best festi-day of them all was of course Friday when Annabelle came, a friend from the time I lived in Buenos Aires in 2007. We were actually at Sonar 2009 together when I met V on the dancefloor (yup, we have our anniversary during Sonar), but she hasn’t been since. Loving this year’s lineup Annabelle decided last minute to come for one day. Meaning I got to spend a full day with my favorite giraffe!
Look at her!
Luckily, she came on the day with the Bridges for Music conference, which attracted over 200 persons and was delivered amazingly well by Bridges’ founder Valentino Barrioseta (yes, I’m proud of him and already wrote a post about it all), and that way got to understand more about what Bridges for Music is about after having heard me talk about it for months.
Later – just like in the old times – the men had to go out networking so Annabelle and I ran out to the sun for some fun. We got to see the funky group Foreign Beggars at Sonar Village before we met some Spanish friends and increased the party level. Super Sonia brought with her the bartender gene like always, and started serving us shots of Tequila on the very dance floor.
That’s the way!
Everyone was keen to see Matthew Herbert during the sunset at Sonar Village, and got likely disappointed by understanding he was doing a DJ set and not a live act. But the tequila helped.. and then Jamie Lidell came on stage. I think these moments of good music, random encounters with plenty of friends in the sunset hours are of my top favorite thing when on festivals.
When we started to feel perfectly blurry Friday night, we had a quick burrito dinner on site before we took the bus to Sonar Night. The group to open Friday night was Kraftwerk, whom we obviously all were keen to see.
Thing is now that the festival fixers are getting smarter for each year, making sure to put some of the main headliners on early, meaning one can’t sit too long around the table after dining (or sit at all).
Upon arrival we were handed 3D glasses and suddenly we found ourselves in a hall with 4000 others with these on. Fabulous idea.
Unfortunately I was way too happy to get it at all in the moment, but I had a lot of fun dancing on right hand side (I’ve read reviews of their new concert concept saying that the trick is to stand rather close to stage to get the 3D thing) afterwards. The two V’s kept buying Vodka Redbull and Annabelle just seemed to be in heaven, but then we understood we were in a festival again with a loooong lineup. We headed over to the Sonar Lab to see Nicolas Jaar, which has been one of my favorite artists the last two years..
Apparently I’m not the only one because that stage was crowded, man. It wasn’t possible to even hear the music well as Sonar Lab covers one of these rectangular long open air dance floors that everybody seem to be crossing at the same time in a steady flow. Disappointing!
However, after some radio cars we cheered up …
And were ready to see the next gig on the list: Bat for Lashes in the Sonar Pub. Since I read they were playing at Sonar this year they were highest on my personal lineup of must sees – and yes – they delivered! It feels a bit random with such an organic, slow-styled gig during Sonar night, but it worked thanks to their electronic elements, the energetic singer Natasha Khan whom by the way is truly amazingly good live! And SEXY! She got this little touch of Bjork going on, which I’m sure she won’t mind being tagged as (and that she probably is aware of).
Here is one of their more up beat tracks:
From there on the night turned into a backstage affair with reunions with artists that we’d met South Africa some months ago. First we spent half an hour with the super nice Skrill crew, – with bulging eyes over the sick space ship on stage in which he perform his set. Again I say what I said after the first time I saw him live, the music isn’t my favorite but man is he a cool DJ! His energy and way of engaging with the crowd is very impressive!
We moved over to Richie Hawtin’s stage and from there Sonar was loads of fun people, champagne, laughter and crazy ideas. Basically Annabelle and I swayed our 1.83 m tall bodies into Saturday morning alongside people like Skrillex – that had come backstage to see Richie after his own set. C U T E
A great Maya Jane Coles set later we were tired and went home where we smuggled Annabelle in to our rented room and got a few hours sleep before party day 2.
This got long, man and I gotta dash so the music and fun from Saturday has to be continued… if ever..
So hold the press motha f’ers: FINALLY IT’S CONFIRMED: WE ARE GOING TO BURNING MAN!
Oh God, how I’ve wanted this so badly for so long!! And as I wrote about a time ago, my long time beloved, yet distant, thus missed friend, Monika from Canada is FINALLY getting married to her Tom in the US mid September, which gives us the perfect opportunity to do a much wanted West-coast journey prior to the wedding, and maybe some more traveling in the region afterwards. As Burning man happens in the transaction of August / September, we instantly started dreaming about and planning how to for once get there.
Thing is with Burning man, tickets are sold out ages ago, and left overs or second hand tickets aren’t as easy to get for this fest as for many others. However. Thanks to my man’s industry contacts we didn’t even have to suffer much to get the tickets, because yesterday we got two left overs confirmed! I am soooo happy and excited and just spent the morning reading advices for fresh men, looking at house cars, masks and bikes, temperatures etc.
So. What is so special with Burning man? As said on their official website; “trying to explain what Burning Man is to someone who has never been to the event is a bit like trying to explain what a particular color looks like to someone who is blind”... Fair enough.
That around 30,000 people leave their homes in order to live for a week or more in the middle of the dessert, far away from cities, shops, traffic and a hectic society, where the day is as hot as the nights are cold, may be weird to some. However, community is the word. The need to escape perhaps, but if so, with a desire of creativity, alternative life style or a more meaningful way of spending time on this planet. With a will to share love and open-mindedness with others. “Burners” as they are called after having been once, will never be the exact same person again, many claim.
Hah! Well, bring it on, I’m ready.
Personally since I discovered the festival through some random Norwegian media articles, I’ve kept an eye on Burning man, dreaming of once attending, mean while getting updated on the fest yearly through blogs, pictures and stories among friends that have been there..
What happens during Burning man is that “once a year, tens of thousands of participants gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to create Black Rock City, dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. They depart one week later, having left no trace whatsoever”.
I mean, look at this:
One of the reasons of its success, as well as its uniqueness is that “Burning Man isn’t your usual festival, with big acts booked to play on massive stages. In fact, it’s more of a city than a festival, wherein almost everything that happens is created entirely by its citizens, who are active participants in the event”.
I like! All sounds very much like Responsible Travel and Consumption to me.
Still keen to learn more?
Here are the festival’s ten principles, as seen on the official website.
Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.
Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.
In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.
Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.
Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.
Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.
We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.
Leaving No Trace
Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.
Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.
Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.
Ha! To be continued then 😉
Splish Splash and this summer’s first festival highlight is over.
2013 was the year Sonar Day moved to another venue and part of town after over a decade in the venues of MACBA in Raval. As much as we are many that have loved Sonar Day at MACBA due to the viby city feel surrounding it, it’s also true it started to get very crowded in there. It’s also true that the residents around MACBA have been tired of the festival’s noise for years and deserved a break. Thus, after the announcements about Fira Mont Juic being Sonar Day’s new party dress, many of us were excited to see it.
And my oh my, a more perfect sight for Sonar Day is impossible to find. I’m a bigger fan of the festival already. Yes it did feel very big initially, but considering they’ve sold many more tickets this year and that MACBA indeed got over crowded the last years, I cant express how much I loved Sonar Day in bigger venues. Now there are enough bars, toilets and space to walk around for everybody, which feels particularly important in a place where the temperature easily exceeds 30 C. Moreover it is obvious that the organisers have worked hard to give the place a typical ‘Sonar feel’, – with success! We were several Sonar veterans talking about it; it all feels like before and one quickly forgets that Sonar has moved. The only thing I could point my finger at is that there only is one open air scene now, as opposed to 1,5 (one smaller stage was inside of a tent) before. Besides: Sonar Village lacks some trees. However, all in all: WAY to go, Sonar!
This year was my seventh Sonar and as expected a bit more ‘industry’- like. Firstly due to the preparation and expectations regarding the Bridges for Music conference presented by my V together with the three ambassadors Richie Hawtin, Luciano and Skrillex. Secondly due to not having many of my own friends around, therefore mostly hanging with new acquaintances from the sector, rushing from a place to another to catch up with both artists, concerts and people. Thirdly due to finding myself constantly backstage rather than in front of stages. A slight exaggeration, but still a trend. And I have got some mixed feelings about it actually…
Though I seem to be very happy right here
To be continued..