Top Stories

Elrow: Creating the ‘most colourful party in the world’

Elrow Psychedelic Trip Image copyright Elrow
Image caption Elrow’s Psychedelic Trip show is currently at the Amnesia club in Ibiza – where its summer residency is taking place
Presentational white space

If you’ve been to Ibiza this summer or are in London this weekend, there’s one party that might have caught your eye.

Elrow is one of the most immersive music experiences out there – think DJ booths in space ships, dancers on stilts and enough glitter to last an entire season in Magaluf.

One of its founders, Juan Arnau Jr, tells Radio 1 Newsbeat that his parties are the antidote to a clubbing industry that “has become boring over the last 15 to 20 years”.

He says people don’t want to go to a club and just watch a DJ set anymore, they want to interact with their surroundings, play games and be part of a show – which is what he says Elrow is all about.

Elrow residency at Space Ibiza Image copyright Elrow
Image caption Elrow City takes inspiration from different cities around the world for its huge sets
Presentational white space

“I realised people were looking for something special,” he says.

“It’s not just a DJ set – there’s the decoration, the theatre, the actors, everything makes this party special.”

Elrow’s team say it’s created events attended by more than 2.5 million people in over 50 cities across the world including Miami, Shanghai and Brazil.

Its biggest-ever festival takes place in London this weekend and Juan says it’s a sell-out because of what it offers to young people.

Singer Morning in Barcelona Image copyright Elrow
Image caption Elrow’s Singer Morning staging concepts involve superhero costumes, bouncing balls and people on stilts
Presentational white space

“Younger generations now have become more picky,” he says.

“They are looking for new experiences because clubbing is not ‘everything’ anymore.

“We used to club every weekend but now they [the younger generations] don’t have the money, so they have to be picky and decide where to go.

“If you deliver an experience, you have got an extra asset.”

Elrow Town Kraken Image copyright Elrow
Image caption This year’s Elrow Town festival in London will feature a crashed space ship being attacked by a giant kraken
Presentational white space

With 16-24 year olds drinking less than at any time since records began more festival promoters are realising that they have to create events that offer other forms of entertainment.

Juan says that part of Elrow’s appeal is you don’t have to drink to have fun.

“The beauty of my role is you go to all our clubs, whether that’s in Barcelona or Ibiza, and you see different people from different generations having fun.

“When they come to Elrow they are willing to be part of our show.

“From 18-year-olds to 45-year-olds – they are all going there to have fun.

“Some people drink, some people don’t, but at the end everyone is smiling and that’s our secret.”

Presentational white space
Elrow residency at Space Ibiza Image copyright Elrow
Image caption Elrow City was the concept for Elrow’s previous residency at Space Ibiza and saw the DJ booth themed around the headline DJ’s home city

There’s no denying Elrow is a huge spectacle – up to a tonne of confetti can be released at one of its festivals.

It’s fun for partygoers but can pose a real problem to the environment – along with the issues all festivals experience of plastic cups and water bottles being left behind.

Juan says his company is working on “a new strategy” to be more environmentally friendly.

“Our confetti is completely biodegradable already, which is a good thing.

Elrow Bronx Image copyright Elrow
Image caption Elrow’s Bronx staging is classic New York, with yellow cabs, hot dog stands and a boxing ring
Presentational white space

“In the short term at a large number of Elrow events there will be no straws, only canned water, no plastic cups and only reusable cups.”

He says he’s also pushing Amnesia, the club in Ibiza where Elrow has a residency, to be “greener as well”.

“Next year we’re working to use renewable energy at events and bringing more people on buses – with our new location in London it’s near a train station so less people will be driving.”

Elrow Bowsque Image copyright Elrow
Image caption Bowsque is Elrow’s fiesta theme – so comes complete with aeriel performers, pixies and butterflies
Presentational white space

It’s estimated that Elrow also gives out around 500 inflatables (ranging from ice pops to toucans) throughout shows, which party-goers can then choose to either take home or leave behind.

They aren’t currently recyclable, which is Juan’s “biggest worry”.

Elrow in Brazil Image copyright Elrow
Image caption Sambodromo is a Brazilian jungle theme, complete with tropical fruits, wild animals and carnival themes
Presentational white space

“From September we are going to start collecting the ones that people don’t want and then will collaborate with big artists to create art pieces.

“We are also working on creating inflatables that are not single use – they are quite expensive for us right now and we have a company in China working to create them.”

Elrow Bowsque Image copyright Elrow
Image caption Elrow also has an enchanted forest set, complete with unicorns, pixies and woodlands
Presentational white space

Where are some of the world’s most colourful festivals?

Tomorrowland in Belgium Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tomorrowland was first held in 2005 and has since become one of the world’s biggest musical festivals
Presentational white space

Tomorrowland is an electronic dance music festival, which has been held in Belgium since 2005 and is as renowned for its line-up as it is for its intricate set designs.

This year saw headline performances from Steve Aoki, Tiesto and Martin Solveig.

Electric Daisy Carnival 2019 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Unlike a lot of other festivals, EDC is on from sundown to sunrise because it’s so hot in Las Vegas
Presentational white space

Electric Daisy Carnival is a yearly festival held in the Las Vegas desert and is known for its colourful LED installations and glow in the dark sets.

This year’s festival had sets from Alesso, David Guetta and Deadmau5.

Glastonbury 2019 Arcadia Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Arcadia’s Pangea had its first run-out in 2019, replacing its usual spider installation
Presentational white space

When you think about the most immersive festivals in the world, Glastonbury has to feature on the list.

It’s got a whole party village – including Arcadia, which this year had DJs doing sets in a giant crane.

Annie Mac, Fat Boy Slim and Andy C all got involved in 2019.


Follow Newsbeat on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 weekdays – or listen back here.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *