Travel: Barcelona’s ten-day Circuit Festival returns (part one)
Danny Hilton talks to Tes Cuadreny, Communications Manager & Girlie Circuit Director, about Circuit Festival Barcelona – in the first of two parts, we find out how Circuit started, what it involves and how such an event is holding up in the economic crisis.
How did the Barcelona Circuit Festival start?
About five years ago in Barcelona there were several other parties and festivals aimed at an LGBT audience. We realized that we really lacked quality, so we decided to embark on an adventure and rethink the gay entertainment.
We contacted Matinee, who were very excited about the idea, so they led the project to bring together a combination of day and night time parties, culture, arts and good quality entertainment.
How did it become so big?
We expected something big – when you come up with a project like this you’re thinking about Europe, and maybe even further. The most important part was our links with many different party promoters all over the world. So as soon as we started, information was passed around in a very quickly. So even in our first year there were many many people talking about the festival, with great expectations. The most powerful publicity for the gay crowd is word of mouth. People talking was our most powerful tool.
There are 20 parties over 10 days. How do I choose? Or do you think it’s possible to go to all the parties and come out in one piece?
For sure you’ll come out in one piece! It is difficult to choose, but I promise you, people can go the parties at night then rest during the day. They can be selective, because they know they have seven or eight days in Barcelona, they have time. Even people who have the All Access bracelet, they select the parties they like, they stay for a few hours and then they rest and prepare for the next.
We have a cultural program as well as the parties. There are lots of other people who like to go to an art exhibition for the day – it’s a very good way to pass a few hours. The curators of the exhibitions say that they are always well attended during Circuit week. The image of gay people only caring about the parties is a lie.
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The image of Circuit as just being for hard partygoers is not how it seems. It’s a very diverse event. It’s like gay Disneyland! People come from all over the world, so friends from all over the world can meet up and get together for this occasion. It’s an event that unites friends from all over the world.
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Give us some idea of the kind of work that goes into organizing an event like this…
*Laughs* At the moment I’m working 12 maybe 15, 16 hours a day, it’s crazy, but it’s because now we have less than a week to the event and everything is going crazy preparing all the production and stuff, but it’s an amazing, huge, exciting adventure.
Has the economic crisis in Spain and around Europe affected ticket sales this year?
Well I was worried, and wasn’t sure what was going to happen. There is fear of spending money, even in the relatively safe economies of France, UK and Germany, but by now, touch wood, ticket sales are going perfectly, in fact the All Access passes are close to being sold out, and the single advance tickets, we’re selling even more than other years – so by now, we’re confident that at least it’ll be the same as last year. But it took more days than previous years to sell the same amount of tickets.
Find out about rival Circuit events, Girlie Circuit and Circuit stereotypes in Part 2, coming soon.