While raiding Google for interesting festivals we came across one in particular that grabbed our attention; Paral·lel Festival. This festival is to take place on the outskirts of Barcelona this summer and with what seems to be such an elaborate event, we had to investigate. We got the opportunity to speak to Felix Beltran, one of the co-founders and co-directors of Paral·lel Festival to ask a few questions about their new festival concept.
Is this the debut year for Paral·lel? If so, tell us about how the idea of organizing this festival came about?
Yes, indeed. This is going to be the first edition ever and we are really excited about how things have developed so far. We just can’t wait for the date to come so that we could enjoy a great weekend with artists and music fans all together. The idea of organizing Paral·lel Festival came after having attended many festivals everywhere in the world throughout many years. We were tired of festivals with masses of people queuing to order a drink at the bar, missing performances due to “over programming”, or the lack of taste and intimacy from the organizers just to name a few. Thus, we moved forward and started working on the kind of festival we considered would be ideal for us. We saw that there are many festivals in Spain at the moment, but not a single one with our concept and style of music.
Who are the organizers and what are their backgrounds?
We are three people who share a passion for music and nature: Patricia Homedes, Jordi Agustí and me. We all belonged to the same group of friends back in Barcelona, however we all live in different cities across the world at this moment. Jordi has an IT background and has a large experience as a Software Engineer and Digital Product Manager for different companies. We met in London many years ago and we have been friends ever since. Nowadays he lives in Valencia and works for a company there.
Then we have Patricia Homedes. She is originally from Germany, but has been living in Barcelona for some time now. Her background is related to European Cultural History studies and Arts Management. Today she works as a Project Manager for a company dedicated to corporate events.
And finally, me. I have been working for many years as a freelance linguist and as a part of my studies in Arts Management, I have been working in different cultural projects both in Spain and Germany. I have been living in Germany for the last six years now.
The lineup so far for Paral·lel Festival is interesting. Is it planned out to appeal to a specific audience?
Well, we would love to count everyone who loves music and is open to new musical experiences as our fans, not just techno fans. However, it may be true to say that this kind of music might not appeal to a certain audience. Some people we speak to in Spain still associate this kind of music and festival with rave parties or drugs.
This is why we want to portray ourselves as professional as possible. We want to prove that one can do a festival with the attendants well being as the main focus or priority. We just want to have a relaxed atmosphere and enjoy music all together. It doesn’t matter where you are coming from or what your preferences are.
On your website you mention certain attributes pertaining to the festival. What kind of experience are you aiming to share with your attendants?
This is indeed one of our main values. We wanted to limit the number of tickets so that we can all enjoy a better experience. It is great when you have plenty of space to dance or you can see your favorite DJ from the first row without having to fight with your peers for your own square meter… One of the mottos we reject is actually “the more the better”.
We wanted to run away from big cities, pool or beach parties which are so recurrent in Spain. We like doing things the other way around, so we decided go to the middle of nowhere in a natural setting which is really stunning. It took us long time to find just the perfect place.
We can only tell you that you will not be disappointed at all. We are considering options but what I can say is that the sound system is biting a huge chunk off our budget in order to provide the best system. This kind of music simply deserves the best possible sound.
We are working on different options to gather a significant variety of tastes and food. We will be collaborating with local businesses so that the festival also has an impact in the region. We want everyone to be happy with the festival since Paral·lel Festival aims to settle down as an annual distinctive date in the calendar. This is why we will provide all the required measures by the local authorities so that everything stays the same way we found it when we start the festival. We respect nature above all.
Apart from the limited capacity and the location, the music is of course our third main value. We want all the performances to take place in one stage so that no one misses anything as I have explained above. We envisage a trip of nearly 40 hour music divided in three blocs (prologue on Friday, story on Saturday and epilogue on Sunday). It is also important to emphasize that in order to differentiate us from other festivals, most of the sets will occur during the daytime.
Is keeping the integrity of the artists an important priority?
Of course it is. We want the artists to feel at home. For us it is really important that we avoid the gap between the artists and the public. I personally love when I can be just two meters away from the cabin of the DJ or when the artist (and even the organizers of the festival) you admire are dancing with the entire crowd next to you. We assume we have a mature crowd, that appreciates this feeling and that has respect for fellow partygoers. Many artists have told us they want to stay the whole festival with us and we strongly believe ours is going to be a great gathering.
It appears to us that you want to create an intimate atmosphere, both for the performers and the audience. Why is this?
It is just natural for us to keep it this way. As I was explaining before we feel that we all should be at the same level. I think this atmosphere is much greater for both sides and makes the whole experience more fulfilling. We are going to be in the middle of the nature, surrounded by trees, animals and a great sky… so you’d rather stay in a pool party in Ibiza if you want to look down at someone else here.
Finally, is this a one time event or are you planning on hosting more festivals in the future?
Paral·lel Festival has born to stay and become a reference for music lovers not just in Spain, but also from all over the world. We have sold many tickets overseas so the crowd is going to be really mixed up. However, first the steps are not normally easy and we need the support of every single person, especially on this first edition. We have just started but we already have followup editions in mind. We had to compromise with the line up due to artists who couldn’t make it this year. We are counting on booking them for the second edition. At this stage, however, it is time to enjoy this one. So get your tickets soon before it is too late!
Thanks for having us and see you next summer!