In the midst of the Catalan highlands, the newly established Paral·lel explores nature, techno and intimacy, which together creates a music festival out of the ordinary. This year the Monument crew returned and present to you the story, beautiful photos, and exclusive recordings.
Last year Paral·lel organized their first edition and it caught our eye. To learn about the new concept we interviewed Felix Beltran, one of the founders of the festival. After some convincing words we decided to go check it out – and wow, we liked it. The techno was booming in a lush expanse of trees and wilderness and in the review from 2016 we were left with the impression that the crew created this festival out of pure passion for techno culture. We knew we had to return this year, and so we did.
«Paral·lel is a perfect place to discover new music, music you maybe did not know that you could have liked. The location is perfect. It flows. It’s like you take the music out of the club and place it in a beautiful landscape instead. Like an outdoor club.» -Felix
While forest raves are by no means a new idea, Paral·lel’s location is truly special. Every hour, big shuttle buses take hundreds of festival-goers from the city centre of Barcelona up into the mountains, along precipitous roads up the steep cliff face to the festival site. The incoming journey is an attraction of its own: stunning views of Barcelona’s glimmering turquoise lakes and a never-ending wash of trees await those brave enough to traverse up the mountain. It’s like entering a fairy-tale.
On the first day, Mathias Grassow warmed up the crowd with a super-relaxing live set that made your heartrate drop, and your mind let go. After that Nems-B took over, but it seemed that he did not really get into the flow and struggled finding the right tracks for the mood. Luckily, as the day became night, Dorisburg went on and played a refreshing live-set that made the people get up to dance.
Refracted`s closing set
As every day’s program is meticulously curated so that every set is interlocking nicely with each other, the second day started off smoothly with two beautifully crafted sets by F-On and Antonio Vazquez, exploring the more ambient and experimental sides of techno. As the sun had passed its highest point and the heat slightly dropped, Valerio Gomez de Ayala and Antonio Giova of natural/electronic.system worked their magic, before Yuka drifted into darker and more demanding realms.
Antonio Vazquez `s mid-day set
A small disappointment came when we received the news that David Sumner a.k.a. Function, who should have been taking over at this point, had to cancel his gig due to health issues. Instead, Yuka extended her driving set and then handed over the booth to one half of Voices From The Lake. So when the moon stood right above the stage with its crystal clear sound system, illuminating the crowd, spellbound by Neel, this was soon forgotten.
On Sunday, at midday, Jana Sleep and Architectural carefully formed the first sentences of the epilogue. Polar Inertia assumed with a live set building up a last arc of suspense before UK luminary Steve Bicknell released the tension built up over the last three days through a vigorous 4-hour journey through old and new acid-infused rave gems, culminating in Beltram’s legendary “Energy Flash” finishing off the organic whole of the festival program with a bang.
Every good fairy-tale has its share of secrets. Indeed, you get the sense that the festival is a well-kept secret among a tight-knit community. You see the same faces again and again throughout the course of the festival. Dancing, blissed out to exceptional music, smiling mischievously to themselves. A few of the artists playing this and last year are also among the dancers, which emphasizes the communal feeling of the event.
And it’s only when you’re dancing too, lost in the thumping woods, finding yourself under a hazy star-speckled sky, that you start to understand why they’re smiling the way they are.
Photos: Kristian Solli & Parallel