By Mark Dix
In 2012, a Frenchman who’d spent a few years in Montreal arrived in Barcelona with the intention of establishing a Canuck concept on a previously ignored part of the city, the Jardins de Joan Brossa on Montjuïc. Piknic Electronik Barcelona was born, and the experience of putting together a family-friendly all-dayer in Quebec was immediately evident. Never before had anyone fused the combination of varied and well-supervised fun for kids, an outdoor space of musical talent to appeal to clubbers and indie lovers alike, a wealth of food and drink options, even the possibility to bring your own culinary creations from home if you liked.
Some 26,000 people came through the gates in 2012, rising to 70,000 last year. The musical performances became the talk of the town, as artists such as European techno fiends such as James Holden and Nina Kraviz, US originators Carl Craig, DJ Sneak, Josh Wink and Derrick Carter featured alongside national talent such as Pional and El Guincho. Ravers could be in bed in time to be presentable on Monday morning, and young parents weren’t excluded from the proceedings for a change. There was grass to chill upon and clean air to inhale. They expanded their calendar significantly last year, so that the entirety of June till September was covered. The city had been blessed, for the summer months, at least.
Inevitably, the organization recognized the niche for festivities during the rest of the year and last year launched the Andorra-based ElectroSnow, which returns later this month. For the hard of skiing, 2014 marks the arrival of a new and welcome event. If you could have bought stock in the concept of brunch in Barcelona, your portfolio would be performing brilliantly right now. These international recipes have become a staple for a class of well-traveled new-Bohemians eager to emphasize the modernity of their diets. This Anglicism is best employed at any time when there are hangovers to be treated and elegant slumming to be done and is now practiced religiously at a decent array of bars around the center. Mass brunch, however, has yet to be attempted.
Enter Brunch Electronik. With an already stellar reputation based on their sense of varied digital artists, inclusive activities and slick production, this is indeed tremendous news for folk who rue the disappearance of Sónar from the Plaça de Joan Coromines. Once again this ideally-located pastoral patch will rumble with the frequencies of contemporary classics, the producers of which will attract the attention of partygoers intent on shaking off the winter blues to the perfect soundtrack: think of the first Sunday lineup, with Hessle Audio showcase with Ben UFO, Pearson Sound, Pangaea and Pau Roca. As with Piknic, we can expect a mellow midday with an opportunity to get up and rock as the evening draws to a close.
Whether or not the three-date program returns next year depends not only upon the caliber of DJ, but their ability to engage whole groups of pals, or mini-families not necessarily there for the tunes, is vital. The off-dancefloor attractions are very much part of the fabric of the fun, starting with the essential brunch, whose cooks will rotate as an association representing a different country will be on hand to cater. Two Market will be in charge of secondhand sales, while there will be exhibitions and screenings for the culture-curious. If you’re in the mood to create or learn, there are cookery and music workshops, and no shortage of skaters prepared to impress any junior urban surfers. They’ve even found space to house a circus, and if we’re unlucky with the weather, or start to bake in May, we can all move indoors.
Keep that third Sunday of the spring months well clear if you like what you’re reading. This certainly has the potential to turn into another fine imported institution that will enrich Barcelona’s cultural calendar, and the team has not missed a beat in terms of timing and location. Sunny Sunday afternoons are back and we want to take advantage. Shall we brunch?