Saturday, July 04, 2015

Off Sonar 2015

It was the first time that we met and I'll never forget the moment that you stepped into the room and took my breath away. Barcelona has been my guide and inspiration for a while and finally the dream had come true. Arriving at the airport I was greeted by my friend who I would be sharing a hotel room with for the duration of the stay near La Ramblas. She was holding a pint of Estrella and a cigarette, which quickly became the staple diet for the holiday. We travelled on the Aerobus Express to Plaça Universitat, checked into the City Park Pelayo Hotel and then headed towards Plaça Reil Square. Once there we located some friends and decided to check out one of the local clubs.

This turned into a baptism of fire, music played, voices sang and the celebration had well and truly started. The following day we explored La Ramblas, there is a rich cultural heritage in Barcelona and it almost felt an injustice that I would be spending the majority of time at Off Sonar parties. After we visited La Boqueria, Barcelona's main food market, we made our way to Port Vell and relaxed on the beach for the afternoon. That evening it seemed that everyone in Leeds was at Mono Cult, the intimate space of BeCool lacked Mint Club's iconic ceiling but the music was quality. The special guest from Amsterdam had everyone talking and people were still buzzing that morning. The taxi situation afterwards was really frustrating but eventually made it back to La Ramblas.

That afternoon it was the [a:rpia:r] Showcase at Poble Espanyol Picnic Area, these Romanians know how to entertain and I was excited to experience my first open air event in Barcelona. I had barely seen the girl I was staying with since Mono Cult and unfortunately she didn't have a ticket for this event. She had met some friends from home and attended an event with them instead. I really enjoyed the [a:rpia:r] Showcase and spent the afternoon basking in the glorious sunshine with friends. I was introduced to several people that I hadn't spoken to before and planned to meet them at Marco Carola and Paco Osuna's event at Club 4 afterwards. This turned out to be the event of the week, Paco Osuna acknowledged the special connection created between everyone and I'd agree with that statement. The music was incredible and I'm definitely booking a flight to Ibiza to catch them both at the Music On closing party in September.

We didn't want the night to end but after being propositioned on La Ramblas, headed back to my friends to relax around the pool. The other guests weren't impressed and when the police arrived I decided to head back to my hotel. My friend was there and I tried not to wake her up but completely failed. Later in the afternoon we compared stories, she had managed to spend the day in the company of my ex and her sister. I'm beginning to regret outlining my plans to my ex at the start of the year because she has attended several of the events. Wouldn't mind but it creates an awkward situation. Especially when attending events with her sister who appears to be the cure and the cause. After eating we met some friends and headed to Plaza Mayor de El Poble Espanyol. IR BCN presented a special event hosted by Ricardo Villalobos, that featured Mathew Jonson and Sonja Moonear. El Poble Espanyol is an open-air museum and the stage was surrounded by several replica buildings characteristic of the region. The event proved to be a popular choice with my friends because there were several groups in attendance, including my ex who scurried by with her sister faster than a white rabbit. Rumours circulated about an after party at Vetro but unfortunately this one was over capacity. I spent the majority of the night travelling around the city in taxis before eventually staying with some friends!

That morning we caught a taxi back to the hotel to get changed, grabbed some items for the afternoon and headed to the Next Wave + Local Gathering x Fact Music Pool Series. The poolside atmosphere was relaxed, the line-up featuring several artists from the Romanian scene to take us on a musical journey. Next Wave's special guest for the event was tINI, who enchanted the crowd with her dynamic, carefully layered sound. Barcelona is routinely named the pickpocket capital of the universe and unfortunately I encountered this twice today. First whilst tINI was playing; I heard a friend complaining that a local had his hand in her bag and this led to a confrontation. Nothing was taken, but later that night at Bloc one of our girls had several items taken from her handbag. I confronted one of the guys believed to be responsible but it was too late. Despite this the night was quality, the sound system at the venue was incredible and Capriati played all night long.

Having seen so much in the last few days, I thought that we might have experienced the best of Barcelona but Elrow Sunday raised the bar even higher. The production was out of this world, quite literally, as there were alien beings, animals and various other characters walking through the crowd. After queuing to enter the event, we were provided with a complimentary drink and made our way onto the terrace. There were decorations everywhere, a band playing brass instruments accompanied by an accordion player and even the game of twister! The music was quality too and this felt like a party, everyone there had a smile etched across their face or a camera phone held in the air to capture a memory. What a way to end Off Week in Barcelona! I went back to my friends apartment afterwards, this was a low-key gathering until another group arrived. Suddenly it became a one-man show, there were three of them but the others said after twelve hours of energy they couldn't handle any more. Haven't laughed so much in ages, they shared so many stories about their afternoon and echoing around the apartment could be heard a tagline that made absolutely no sense - dónde! I've had an amazing week, met so many people and shared an experience that will stay with me forever. We will meet again soon Barcelona!