Parc del Fòrum, Barcelona
Parc del Fòrum is a strange place. The sloping, stark concrete, cavernous warehouses and unnatural amphitheatres sit bluntly between the city’s historical Gothic architecture and the blue of the Mediterranean. Perfect, then, for three days of heavy sonics from some of house and techno’s biggest operators, courtesy of DGTL and the Barcelona edition of their global festival series.
The line-up is spread evenly across four stages. Up top, the business side of techno is well catered for at the open-air Generator stage and the covered expanse of Amp, while a walk down towards the sea leads you to the Modular stage and, tucked away at the bottom, Frequency. This is where many festival-goers go to during Friday’s proceedings, where a stellar run of lighter, brighter, housier operators keep ravers dancing into the next day.
There, Moxie can be heard vibing through a set of upbeat and uptempo house jams, with occasional sideswipes into more UK-flavoured material. With the sun setting towards the end of her two hours, she proceeds to tie things up smartly for Octo Octa’s live show, something which has become increasingly rare of late as she dives deep into her DJing. The show, which draws out hits like the spinback-heavy belter Fleeting Moments of Freedom (Wooo) from her 2017 breakout album Where are We Going? is smooth and pure, and bobs joyously along as a robed dancer takes to a podium in the middle of the dancefloor to transmit the energy of the performance.
After Jeremy Underground’s set, we return to catch Mr G’s pumping performance. Despite some technicals leading to a more stop-start approach than he would’ve liked, his effervescent energy, charisma and breakdancing more than makes up for it, while a costume change into an FC Barcelona shirt proves to be the icing on the cake for the assembled crowd.
Saturday ushers in a packed schedule of live performances. Shows from HVOB, Ross From Friends and Larry Heard all captivate the crowd early on in the evening, with Heard being a particular highlight. Drawing from across his iconic discography and with vocal support from the incredible Fatima and Paul Cut on the keys, their one-two finisher of Sun Can’t Compare and Can You Feel it proves to be an immense closing salvo, hyping everyone for Roman Flügel and Barnt’s following set of wiggy bangers.
Since their debut edition in 2014, DGTL Barcelona has maintained its high-quality festival status, and with slick production and an impressive commitment to sustainability (reusable cups only, no plastic bottles, no meat on sale at the food stands) they’ve created an enjoyable and carefree environment, allowing the focus to stay, as it should, firmly on the music.