Once a month, as the morning sunlight breaks, electronic music enthusiasts set their alarms and make the pilgrimage from nearby Barcelona to a small motorway layby. At 10am revellers don their face-paint, sunglasses and smiles and arrive at the spiritual home of the mythical Elrow label.
Elrow delights and amuses hedonists with its summer residency in Space Ibiza and on tour across the globe in one of its infamous roadshow events, but here, in Viladecans, is where it all started.
Allegedly the Elrow family have been entertaining people since 1870, through six generations. But this monthly electronic party is anything but dated. Its reputation as a Spanish mecca for electronic music, coupled with a visual feast worthy of any Baz Luhrmann movie and all manner of peaceful missiles- including cuddly toys and inflatable pool floats, make this the biggest party in Catalunya.
From 10am until 10pm, Barcelona’s youth descend on the Row14 site, perched on the site of the C-21, twenty minutes outside the city. It offers an escape from the busy metropolis, but also from reality, as party-goers find themselves immersed in the experience from the moment they set foot in the door- whether it is receiving a ticket from a policeman for being too sober, or sprayed down by a beekeeper on stilts, Elrow is a celebration of the weird and surreal.
Arriving at a club in full swing at 10am, amid glorious Spanish sunshine is a strange feeling. The colourful masks and costumes on the dancers roaming the four-stage, indoor-outdoor site only serve to pull you deeper down the rabbit hole.
As substances flow and the sun begins to dip in the sky later in the day, the connection between people flows across the site like an electric current. A smorgasbord of nationalities and cultures merge in Viladecans specifically for this monthly event. I met people from all over the Spanish territories and other countries in Europe, who had flown in for this 12-hour spectacle.
Tomorrow most of the 12-hour party people will have to go back to work. Nursing sore heads and cherishing newly created memories. Right now, the madness and chaos need to be embraced before the 12 hours fall away, the sun sets and everyone crawls out of the rabbit hole to address reality again.
Find the next 12-hour fiesta and purchase tickets at the official site.
Featured Image from Wikimedia Commons by Carsmeller.