Debut Elrow festival axed over “political tension”
Elrow Friends & Family, the much-anticipated inaugural festival by Barcelona-based party promoter Elrow, has been called off amid a spat between two Spanish local authorities.
The festival was announced in April, less than two months after the acquisition of Elrow by James Barton’s Superstruct Entertainment. It was due to take place on 15 July (originally announced as 15–16 July) at a beachfront location in Salou, described by company founder and CEO Juanito Arnau as “the perfect spot to put on the most creative show ever done by the Arnau family in all their long history”.
However, in the months since that location has become less than perfect, with the festival becoming a political football in a war of words between the neighbouring municipalities of Salou and Vila-seca.
While Elrow Friends & Family had the backing of Salou, its tourist board and the CiU–PSC coalition which governs Tarragona, Vila-seca’s mayor, Josep Poblet, and local opposition politicians have been vocal in their opposition to the festival. Poblet called plans to hold the 20,000-capacity event in Salou “a grave error”, while Sandro Boquet, a spokesman for the Republican Left of Catalonia (RLC), said having “15,000 ravers” in Salou will “not bring anything good to the city”.
“We have been advised to cancel the event in order to not contribute any further to the political tension”
According to Spanish media, Boquet added that having another electronic music festival in Salou reminds him of the “bad taste left by Saloufest”, the controversial festival axed in a crackdown on “binge [drinking] tourism” last October.
In a statement, Elrow says it took the decision to cancel to avoid further inflaming political tensions. “We regret to announce the cancellation of our upcoming Friends & Family festival,” it reads. “Due to the recent controversy between local councils, shown publicly in many local newspaper headlines, we have been advised to cancel the event in order to not contribute any further to the political tension.
“Elrow always strives to have a perfect working relationship with the authorities and politicians at our events. Once we arrived at this point, we regrettably have no other choice but to take this decision.”
In its place will be a party at Row 14 – an Elrow-owned club in Barcelona – with the same line-up, including house DJ Adam Beyer, techno heavyweight Richie Hawtin, Glaswegian DJ and label boss Jackmaster and local hero Paco Osuna. Ticketholders can exchange their tickets for the Row 14 event or return them for a refund.
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Superstruct’s Elrow announces first festival
Spanish promoter Elrow – along with Sziget Festival, part of the fast-expanding Superstruct group – has revealed plans for its first fully fledged music festival.
Elrow Friends & Family will take place on 15–16 July at a beachfront location in Salou, running for 16 hours from 10am to 2am. Billed as Elrow’s “biggest and craziest party to date”, the festival will expand the promoter’s flagship ‘playground’ concept to three stages of music featuring “world-class electronic music headliners”.
Barcelona-based Elrow – known for its playful parties at a number of major clubs and festivals, including Snowbombing, Mysteryland USA, Parklife, Hideout and Electric Zoo – was partially acquired by Superstruct Entertainment in February.
Superstruct, led by Creamfields founder and former Live Nation president of electronic music James Barton, is also a 70% owner of Hungary’s Sziget, and in January announced plans to launch up to ten new festivals in the next few years.
“Get ready to experience something you’ve never ever seen before”
“After seven years offering shows all over the world, at last we’ve found the perfect spot to put on the most creative show ever done by the Arnau family in all their long history,” says company founder and CEO Juanito Arnau.
“For the first time we’re joining forces with some of the most crazily, imaginative people we’ve met around the world, from countries such as Brazil, Portugal, the United States, South Africa, the Netherlands and the UK. Get ready to experience something you’ve never ever seen before.”
The Arnau family previously ran the Monegros Desert Festival in Aragon, which ended in 2014.
Tickets for Elrow Friends & Family go on sale next Thursday (6 April), with the line-up due to be announced in the coming weeks.