My rating of the event: 6.5/10. It was really cool to see hardstyle so big in Madrid, and to visit the legendary Fabrik. The music and lineup were great, though I wasn’t crazy about the crowd and especially not by the drink prices.
I had been googling around for hardstyle events in Barcelona ever since getting here, but unfortunately have had no luck. However, following hardstyle DJs on facebook led me to discover that there is hardstyle movement in Madrid – more concretely, the “Madrid Hardstyle Movement“! 3,000 followers strong, the promoting group organizes hardstyle parties once every couple weeks in the Madrid area. Many of their parties are in the infamous Fabrik. With a similar name to the other infamous club in London, Fabric, Fabrik (also known as Goa) is Madrid’s premier nightlife space. Voted to have rank 22 among the best clubs of the world in 2014 (down from 13 in 2013), Fabrik is a gigantic event space of 10,000 people capacity that supposedly dwarfs Ibiza venues. Given its notoriety, and the fact that MHM has organized a hardstyle event there, I had to splurge on a AVE ticket and go to Madrid for the weekend.
And this wasn’t any ordinary, half-assed hardstyle event. It is the Hard Spring Day, with a line up of 100% hardstyle DJs on all two stages, including Wildstylez and Wasted Penguinz. I ended up recruiting a Taiwanese American friend, Kristen, who was visiting Spain and although she had never listened to hardstyle before, she was open minded and didn’t think it was too heavy, so decided to go with me. By chance, I also had a Taiwanese American friend who lives in Madrid, Michael, who decided to come with us last minute. I hadn’t seen a Taiwanese person in 6 months, and suddenly I am chilling and partying with two of them, in a club where we were literally the only Asians!
So, one thing to know is that Fabrik is actually in the suburbs of Madrid, 30km from the city center. You could take a metro then change to a bus, which takes about an hour and makes you subject to the opening hours of public transportation. OR, the option that is not heavily publicized or readily available in English is that there is actually a Fabrik bus that leaves from Plaza de España, from 11:30pm to about 3:30am I believe, every 30 minutes. The return bus runs from 5am until 20 minutes after the club closes. One way costs 3 euros. Technically, we are not supposed to bring alcohol onto the bus, but we put the drinks in the coat and the security did not bother to check. Once on the bus, it takes about 30 minutes to get to Fabrik comfortably, with the driver pumping out edm on the bus! Guys, this is by far the best option in my opinion. No need to bother driving, especially if you’re going to drink. Once we got there, we chugged the remaining drinks on the street (it really was in the middle of nowhere), and went through the lax security into the club.
By the way, one thing I noticed is that if you are a girl, here in Spain they will basically just check your purse. They’re not going to pat you down or check your pockets. So if you want to bring in a dose of alcohol or something, just put it in the back pocket of your jeans. Disclaimer: don’t come blaming me if it doesn’t work…
Music, Production, and Venue
It was really cool that Fabrik regularly dedicates whole nights to the followers of Hardstyle, and my impression is that the promoting group Madrid Hardstyle Movement has a lot to do with that, so kudos to them! They definitely got the best hardstyle DJs to come play for the Hard Spring Day party. When you’re outside of the club, you can already hear the pumping bass, and they definitely have a state-of-the-art sound system. The beats kept the crowd wild throughout the whole night!
There were two stages – one main stage and a smaller side stage (on the right side to the main stage), that we discovered at around 4am. Both played hardstyle and both were energetic. The production at the mainstage was obviously better, and the LASERs were undoubtedly not lacking. The space was big, so it was crowded but not packed, and we all had plenty of space to dance. It was easy getting to the front of the stage.
There was also plenty of sofas and places for people to rest. On the left of the main stage, there is an outdoor area with large pineapple trees, gentle hills, and places for people to chill. All around the periphery of the club were sofas and tables. There was another lounging room behind the main room, though it was empty so we didn’t bother to go in. I can imagine this club getting really packed though for really famous DJs – for example, Martin Garrix was going to play on the following weekend.
The crowd seems to lean towards the early 20s crowd – so the people were not super young but also not too mature. Many guys and girls were doing hardstyle dances – saw a couple people hardkicking out there. So, I was surprised to see that there was definitely a hardstyle crowd in Madrid. On the other hand, I was a little disappointed because I felt like people were not that friendly. We went and asked 3-4 people for cigarettes, and they either “didn’t have it” or “didn’t have the rolling paper”, and it wasn’t even that I’m disappointed just because we ended up not finding any when it’s usually so easy to get a cigarette, but that the tone of which they said no gave me some bad vibes. Maybe it was just an off night?
Oh, and we were the only Asians there! I’m kind of used to that at this point, though.
As I said before, you should predrink in front of the club. Especially because drinks are freaking expensive in the club! A red bull vodka was 12 euros… In Barcelona, it costs about 8 euros at Razzmatazz. You need to pay at the cashier and exchange the ticket at the bar. And the bar tender said I’d have to pay for water. Argh. Didn’t investigate further as I just stayed away from the bar the rest of the night.
I was really glad to have checked out the Spanish hardstyle scene. The club itself, Fabrik, I think is not exceptional in terms of venue or crowd, plus it is really far away from Madrid. But, for the right DJs and right party, I would go again for sure.