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Barcelona Circuit Party 2012

Words: Chris Amos

As London got swept up in Olympic fever with hunks on gymnastic mats and diving boards, Barcelona held their own eye-candy festivities hosting the mammoth ten day Circuit Festival, one of the world’s biggest international gay and lesbian events.

Firmly established in the first two weeks of August each year, gay clubbing supremos Matinée Group organised Europe’s biggest gay dance festival for the sixth spectacular year.

As a Circuit Festival virgin, I had always speculated as to why so many people rave about this week, two words really sum it up – “gay”, “utopia”. I actually meant to go last year but couldn’t make it in the end, so this year’s Circuit was a long time coming. The wait was worth it.

Twenty-two massive parties featuring the world’s biggest gay club brands including Beyond, We Party, Supermartxe, Megawoof, La Leche and The Week and the hottest guys from across the world attending. With world class DJs, including Hector Fonseca, Offer Nissim, Peter Rauhofer and Pagano.

The 2012 edition saw more than 65,000 people from 40 different nationalities, there were so many hotties from everywhere but I seemed to meet lots of Russians, Australians, Israelis, Americans and so many Brazilians, who have officially taken over Europe now.

All the venues are out of town, so buses are put on. These all leave from Placa de Catalunya. The fun always begins with a beauty parade queueing here and €5 gets a return bus ticket.

Fortunately we were staying with a mate in the main gay area, L’Eixample, only 10 minutes walk to Placa de Catalunya, which is just at the top of Las Ramblas, the world famous tree lined pedestrian mall stretching 1.2km.

If you are thinking of coming next year, look for accommodation close to Placa de Catalunya so you have easy access to the party buses. The closer the better if you want to lessen the walk of shame at the end of the night – or middle of the day sometimes! If you can afford to splash out then you may as well book into the very gay Axel Hotel, which also host parties every night on their pool terrace.

To be honest I went expecting all the fuss about the Waterpark Party being so amazing that everything else would just be big disappointments. I couldn’t be more wrong. Our first night saw the We Party and the place was rammed. Too busy for my liking to be fair, all the same, the music, the guys, venue – all amazing but way too many people on the dance floor.
During the daytime all the gays head to the beach. Barcelona is one of the fews cities in the world that combines the attractions of urban tourism with the possibility of laying on a gay beach to sunbathe during the day.

Barcelona’s beaches, 4.2 kilometers long and just a few minutes from the city, are a unique case in Europe of the integration of a large metropolis with the sea. Barceloneta used to be the most famous gay beach but has lost its crown to Mar Bella, the nudist beach, as the busiest beach. San Sebastian at the other end is popular too, nestled near the W Hotel.

The beaches were just as busy as the clubs. Get a good pair of sunglasses and be prepared to perv on plenty of eye candy. You can order food and drinks including caipirinhas straight from your beach towel. Bonus.

Barcelona is a city bursting with things to do for tourists, I am not going to list them all but I will point a few we took in on one sobre day. If you have seen Kylie’s legendary Slow video, this is filmed at the former Bernat Picornell swimming pool in Montjuic area, it’s pretty run down, but still provides an amazing swim with a spectacular view of Barcelona. Ten minutes walk away is the cable car, for €10 you can get a trip down to San Sebastian beach. Aside from Gaudi’s incredible Sagrada Famila church, the other must-do in Barcelona is the Magic Fountain a spectacular display of colour, light and water acrobatics with musical accompaniment every Thursday to Sunday in the summer months and every Friday and Saturday during winter.

This year’s Waterpark Party saw Eurovision winner Loreen perform her massive hit Euphoria which was the anthem of the Circuit Party. The crowd in the water went bonkers, splashing non stop, one guy attempted to surf a Matinee branded lilo naked! Of all the parties this is the biggest with over 10,000 people. Incredibly the sound system played the music so crisply and loudly, it was actually better than Madonna had at her London Hyde Park concert.

Hats off to the Matinee Group who organised every event superbly. From the cute bar staff, efficient transport system, sexy dancers, free water handed out at the end of each party, strict security (these guys even feel your crutch for G bottles), incredible sound systems, DJ line-up, lighting… it is really a benchmark in how to organise gay clubbing experiences. A big thank-you to all the Matinee team for such an incredible event and see you in 2013, next time I am bringing extra mates. No wonder the Circuit Party grows bigger every year!

(remix versions)
Loreen – Euphoria
Kylie – Timebomb
Goyte – Somebody That I Used To Know
Madonna – Girl Gone Bad
Rihanna – Where Have You Been
Scissor Sisters – Let’s Have a Kiki
The Wanted – Chasing The Sun
Azelia Banks feat. Lazy Jay – 212
Florence and The Machine – Spectrum
Rihanna – We Found Love

La Leche, Water Park, Mar Bella

Expensive water, people trashed on G, having to go home.