There's a reason that Mixmag's Editor is playing an impromptu disco DJ set in the unisex toilets of the best club in Barcelona. It's not just because of the amount of cava we've consumed, and (let's be honest) it's not because of insatiable public demand. It's because it's Razzmattaz's 15th birthday, an occasion that demands maximum celebration and participation – and because if the clubbing city of the year has an epicenter, this might just be it. The club that is, not necessarily the toilets.
This is the Saturday midpoint of yet another weekend of birthday celebrations at Razzmatazz. Upstairs, across the five rooms of this sprawling mothership of a club, the line-up ranges from British band The Bohicas to New Jersey legend Mike Simonetti. Tomorrow the main room is the only one open, as Four Tet, Daphni and Floating Points go b2b over six hallucinogenic hours. As so often in 2015, Barcelona is going in.
In a year when the British authorities seemed to be waging a war of attrition on the country's club scene, Barcelona showed what can happen when nightlife is celebrated as the life-affirming, economy-boosting, community-building phenomenon that it deserves to be. A key part of Barcelona's rise to party supremacy, of course, is the Sónar festival every June. The seemingly exponential growth of the Sónar weekend has seen it seep into the DNA of a place that, with its weather, beaches, and huge demographic of creative, beautiful, passionate people who love to stay up all night, was already inclined to greatness. Sónar in 2015 was dominated by a program of electronic music that stretched from the mass appeal of The Chemical Brothers and Skrillex to auteurs like Squarepusher (another headliner) and up-and-comers like Cashmere Cat and Mumdance. But most excitingly, the countless parties that the festival has inspired now continue well beyond the weekend in May. There's the stunning events at El Monasterio, set in the picture-perfect courtyards of the
El Poble Espanyol architectural park, which in 2015 became a series that included takeovers from Mobilee, Pampa Records, Flying Circus and David Squillace's This and That. Speaking of Mobilee, their rooftop parties at the Diaganal Hotel and beyond have grown from a Sónar industry event to a fixture on the city's summer clubbing calendar. "I prefer Barcelona to Berlin," admitted the label's Ralf Kollman when we met him up on the roof. "There's so much love that goes into the events and venues." The appetite for events in unusual locations was encapsulated in October by La Gran Corrida at the city's biggest former bullring, with Luciano, Rossko and Audiofly.
The amount of dance music-heavy festivals that the city enjoys each year is also breathtaking – take Piknik Elektronik for example, running across 13 Sundays in a garden in the Montjuic area and featuring everyone from Floorplan and Apollonia to Maceo Plex and Claude VonStroke. Or DGTL Barcelona in August with headliners Ben Klock and Dixon and Adam Beyer. And of course Primavera Sound with the likes of Richie Hawtin, Simian Mobile Disco and Jon Hopkins nestled among the indie bands and hip hop stars.
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