Barcelona controls beach bars

Chiringuito BarcelonaFoto: Mario BarcelonaAbout exactly three years ago, I made a beach party in Barcelona as a closing event for Sonar festival. It was great, we had cool Cologne DJs spinning (M.I.A., Sascha Mikloweit, Marc Lansley from Substatic..), but unfortunately we had to stop at 01:00h because of the noise or the license. Of course, we could not build our own infrastructure on the beach, without permission it was just too dangerous, our lawyer adviced us. So we relied on one of the popular “chiringuitos”, bars at the city’s beaches, that exist all over the coast, big and small, simple and pompous, oldfashioned and modern-stylish.

Chringuito BarcelonaFoto: Adria GarciaFunny enough, in the chiringuito next by, the Kompakt-crew partied much longer, maybe because they bribed someone. Whatever, it was a great party and a good finish for Sonar festival.

Now, Barcelona’s administration is going to control all the chiringuitos with checking devices who measure the decibels and send them via internet to a central. Whenever there is too much noise or sound at the wrong time, there will be fines or they close the bar right away.
(You can read the story in Catalan in “Controlan per internet els xiringuitos” in 20minutos (pdf, page 3)

I am telling this story without any valuation, it is just another example for how Barcelona’s adminstration tries to bring more control into the city and make it a more “civil” place. There has been much talking about “uncivil behaviour” such as peeing in the street, topless in the city, selling beer from bags and so on.. It’s difficult to manage a place with so many interests: The tourists (from rich to backpackers), the inhabitants, the tourism industry, the creative people, the conservatives.

But, despite all the new rules about street markets, prostitution, dodging public transportation’s fare, noise and litter in the streets, I think, Barcelona still is a very creative, chaotic and pleasant place. The beer thing did not work out, you can still get your can wherever for a Euro and the skaters still skate in front of the Macba. So, don’t panic, Barcelona stays young.