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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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