Are you sitting down? What you are going to read in the next minutes is not fictitious, it was not a dream.
Let’s start by the first fact: when in Barcelona, everything started to become real, you know? Myself and Catarina, we had no expectations regarding Paral·lel Festival. We watched some aftermovies, we heard some feedback from previous editions, but we CLEARLY had no idea about what we were getting ourselves into.
On the afternoon of the 30th September (Friday) we took the first available shuttle to Guardiola de Berguedà. We were both exhausted since we went to bed at 7am that day, so we slept the whole time on the bus. Why am I writing you this? Well, because the WOW factor came about 15 minutes before we arrived. When we were entering the Pre-Pyrenees and the view from the road was breathtaking. Trust me, I’ve seen mountains and I’ve seen lakes. But these ones were somewhat a foggy introduction to what we were about to experience on the next days. The landscape was a pleasant mixture of greens and blues and the water was completely silver, reflecting the cloudy sky. What a wonderland…
It took us about two hours to settle down in the camping, the weather was extremely cynical and rapidly swapping between sun and clouds, cold and warm, but it was all good. Around us we could hear some German speaking, some Spanish but mostly Italian. We were among people just like us, and we were starting to feel it in a way we had never felt before.
The location of the festival was just on the hilltop of the camping area. With a really hip lettering with the name of the festival right at its entrance.
The stage: simple, clean, minimalist.
The food & beverage: four food trucks (Wok, Italian, Healthy/Organic, Crepes) and a relatively big bar with several options for drinks ((where they also served breakfast in the morning – croissants, freshly squeezed orange juice, expresso coffee and fruit)).
The mood: chill – most people where sitting on the grass or having a beer in the lounge areas, smoking in between the trees and enjoying what we like to call “the calm before the storm”.
The music: well it was a really amazingly chosen soundtrack for our beautiful surroundings. A perfect combination of rhythm and nature. It was like a portal to a jungle fest, where you could hear the birds sing but also playing the bass, you could hear the wind but also the jaguar playing with the synthesizer…
It was a mix of happiness and euphoria which we could not deviate from at any minute…
Imagine waking up semi hangover from an exciting live act by Crossing Avenue followed by a four hour set of Svreca which was so freaking good that I couldn’t even find time to take pictures, on the night before. I could hear someone scream “Breakfast!” repeatedly from inside my tent. I got up so fast and in less than a second I was thanking the volunteers of Paral·lel for the fresh croissants which they were distributing all around the fallen bodies at the camping area.
Next came a shot of expresso coffee and a huge slice of watermelon. We were now ready for another day of relentless fulfilment and dancing!
THE SECOND NIGHT
The set of Refracted was the beginning of an overwhelming trip. The rain was falling heavily and our sweaty bodies worked alongside nature to create a furious crowd of wet and muddied dancers.
Followed by Adiel – who exceeded all our expectations, seriously – the rain had stopped and all that was left on the dance floor were hundreds of bright shinning eyes, wide opened smiles and lots of barefoot ravers. She presented herself with confidence and as the light faded out, her smirk was the warning that heavy beats were coming our way: and there was nothing we could do about it besides welcoming them with faith.
When Rrose stepped upon that stage, there couldn’t be a more perfect introduction. I remember looking up to the dark open sky – there were no stars whatsoever, just darker clouds – and around to the moving trees, and it felt like that part of Snow White when she gets lost in the woods with all the animals looking down at her. Both terrifying and extraordinarily phenomenal. Rrose played an intro for about (what it felt like) five minutes without a beat, just a transe melody – this was the entrance portal to another dimension.
From that moment on, until Mike Parker finished another brutal set – softened by the smell of wet land and rain (which at a certain point was falling heavily inside our cheap tent) – I was in a trip…
Socialising with fellow revellers was an easy task. “Can I borrow your lighter?” “Wanna smoke?” “Do you have toothpaste?” “Wanna dance?” “Where are you from?” “Is it your first time here?” it was like I’ve known some of these people forever and I just wanted them to feel the amount of satisfaction I was feeling. There was this guy who really really marked me (if you know him hit us up!). He was dressed as a mad hatter on the second night, Saturday 31st September, with colourful light bulbs around his neck and carrying a mirror in heart shape.
Do you know the weird characters you meet in the dark and you can’t really explain where are they coming from or if they really exist? Well, he was one of these people… I called him Doctor Acid.
THE LAST DAY
At this point we were already all of us a huge group of friends, no face was a stranger, everyone sitting by everyone, “oh I remember you from last night, we were dancing next to each other!”. The batteries were semi charged and the weather was not cooperating for a dry sunset. Instead, Donato Dozzy appeared under an even greyer sky and it was the time to dance with all the molecules and energy left on your body. There was no time to be nostalgic about the end. The music was calling us and there was no other place in the world where we would rather be…
At 21:00 it was still light, the music stopped and a tireless crowd wanted more and sang for more and begged for more. The afterparty? Well. It led us to El Jou Hotel’s terrace and it lasted all night long.
To save you and myself from a nostalgic moment, I leave this article’s end opened. The next day was all about packing our muddy tent and dragging our careless bodies through the dirt all the way to Barcelona. There was an air services strike in a Spanish airline company and lots of fellow ravers were “stuck” in the city for a few extra hours. But we didn’t… unfortunately.
I want to thank Felix Beltran and the Paral·lel Festival team for an amazing opportunity of letting Clubber Confession be a part of this unique event.
A huge thank you to everyone I met and to those I didn’t meet, hopefully I’ll see you all again there next year…
Photo credits to Catarina Faísca (Clubber Confession), to Emeline Lefebvre and Amr Mohsen.
Article by: Maria Alves Fragoso Santos