Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Rave down

The police in Spain have been busy lately, not only with repelling  political protest at the visit of the Pope to Madrid and the recent “Indignado” movement, but also in stemming the tide of revellers.
Last week in the Costa Brava town of Lloret de Mar, a stones throw away from where I saw the Rhythm and Sound gig, there were several nights of unrest  (this link also has a fantastic new video, in Spanish, but the images are impressive) stemming from the cancellation of a gig  by star DJ Tiesto. An electrical failure left the Colossos Club momentarily powerless, but the back up generator was only sufficient for music and minimal service, meaning no air conditioning. As temperatures soared, tempers flaired and the gig was stopped.

Outside on the streets the young (20-25 year old) people, mainly French, Italian and English tourists, the so called “Easyjetset”, apparently began to behave in a disorderly manner. Conflict with riot police continued for at least two nights with some ugly scenes and much soul searching. The small town is actually home to a large assortment of hotels, bars and nightclubs, designed especially to appeal to the low cost tourist, mainly young people from the north of Europe.

While the Easyjetset has been celebrated in Berlin for its knock-on effect on the local scene, in the Costa Brava the legacy does not appear the same. The role of cheap travel and the Berlin techno scene was celebrated in book “Lost and Sound: Berlin, techno and the Easyjetset“ by Tobias Rapp. A chapter from the book can be found on-line here.

Tiesto also played in the same week at Opium Mar, one of the posh summer discotecas on the Barceloneta beach front, about 50 metres from where I work. Recent and upcoming artists have or will include SebastiAn, Roger “The S man” Sanchez, Armin van Buurin and more. Tonight my colleague is going there to see Swedish DJ Eric Prydz, but she promised me she won’t be coming straight from the disco to work, despite the proximity. One of Prydz key tracks is the remix of “Call on me” which is based on Steve Winwood’s 1982 hit “Valerie”. Prydz track made number one in the UK and has the distinction of being the number one hit with the lowest amount of sales in a given week, largely due to the importance of downloads. Riots are also not new to Tiesto, with previous problems  at a gig in the US.

This week, the Spanish police were also involved, but much more passively,  in the tiny town of Molino de Duero (Soria), where 2000 youths from all across Europe descened into the nearby forest for Spaintek, a rough and ready party rather than music festival. Harmless, but definitely noise pollution say the neighbours in this funny video, even if you do not speak Spanish. It is hard to imagine 2000 people there from the footage, which seems to show about 20. But the police here should be praised for keeping things peaceful so far, despite the apparent illegality of camping.

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