If we told you that you could experience a magical two day festival, from dusk ’till dawn, with top electronic music headliners, in beautiful sunny Spain, for just £29.80* per person, would you be interested?
There is really only one answer to that question and it is YES. So . . we’d like to introduce Gingerbread Groove‘s first festival review of the year –
(Now before you read on, can we just point out that we tried to abbreviate A Summer Story numerous times to no avail when we realised it spelled… ASS, aha – Move over EDC, UMF, TML, It’s all about that ASS!)
Once Upon A Time . .
Playing host to this magical festival is La Ciudad del Rock (The city of Rock). Located on the outskirts of Madrid, this vast outdoor complex is the perfect setting for a huge electronic music spectacle, ready to welcome up to 96,000 attendees. Although A Summer Story only began three years ago, it has never failed to land an impressive lineup of global superstars! The first edition in 2015 started with a bang, with artists such as Armin Van Buuren, Above and Beyond and Dimitri Vangelis & Wyman headlining this new and exciting festival. As A Summer Story grew in popularity, 2016 played host to huge names like deadmau5, Oliver Heldens, Steve Angello and Paul Kalkbrenner. Another unbelievable line-up for the third chapter in 2017, including Eric Prydz, Third Party, Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano, Nicky Romero, Kaskade, Kryder & Tom Staar, Adam Beyer; whilst also welcoming back returning faces like Armin and Angello. In just three years, this up-and-coming Spanish festival is equipping a line-up that could rival many large-scale EDM festivals all over the world!
Unlike other festivals, such as Tomorrowland, A Summer Story has a dusk till dawn format with the music beginning at 6pm and ending at 9am the next morning. Prepare to either alter your body clocks before hand as we did or drink numerous Burn energy drinks. Needless to say there is no shortage of energy that radiates through the crowd, as the heavy bassline beats through your body providing that “pick me up” you may need in order to carry on partying through the night. Taking place at the end of June, in the middle of Madrid, we soon realised why it was essential to host this Spanish fiesta over night, IT’S TOO DAYM HOT!! With temps reaching as high as 37 degrees celcius in the day time, it would be far too dangerous for attendees.
With A Summer Story situated only 30 minutes from the Spanish Capital, there are a number of ways to reach the festival, either via car, taxi or its very own shuttle bus. Boasting 6,000 car parking spaces, there’s no doubt you’ll get a spot, plus the Spanish like to have a mini pre-fiesta in the car park before entering, adding to the party atmosphere. There are two main shuttle pick up locations in central Madrid:
- Conde de Casal
- Arganda del Rey
These shuttle services run regularly to the festival from 17:00. The official A Summer Story website states these run ‘from and to’ certain times, however on the first night shuttles were available back to the city from around 4:00am! We never had an issue when using the shuttle buses to and from the festival. The paper wristbands for 2 days shuttle bus usage were quite fragile, with Ginger needing hers to be replaced before the second day.
€ Spicy Pricey €
What attracted us to the festival bar the awesome line-up, the country it’s in, the reviews etc, it was the price! Ginger booked this shindig for a Christmas surprise as it fell directly on Bread’s birthday, at which point the price for a 2 day pass was only £29.80 – Now compare this to a weekend only pass for Mysteryland (Holland) at £95, and up to £450 for Tomorrowland (Belgium). Within the festival itself standard currency is not used, instead they offer two cash free alternatives provided by the company Tuenti in the form of Tuents or Bonocopas Tuents. Simple to use, these tokens fill the pockets of attendees and can be exchanged for both food items or beverages. “But how much does 1 Tuent/ bonocopas convert to, I hear you ask?” – Well this year, 1 tuent = 2 € and 1 Bonocopas Tuents = 3 drinks for 20 €. Of course like most festivals around the world the cost of food, drink or even water is considerably higher compared to the muggle lands.
A litre of Desperados/ Heineken – 4 tuente (8 euros)
Small Desperados/ Heineken (roughly 500ml) – 2 tuente (4 euros)
Spirit and Mixer – 4 tuentes (8 euros)
Water – 1 tuente ( 2 euros)
Food – Between 2-6 tokens (They sold a huge variety of food from crepes to burgers)
The STAGES – MusicmusicMUSIC
Over the two nights, the festival was made up of three stages: The Main Stage, The Burn Stage and the Extreme Camp / Winter Stage(s) (and a smaller Maxima Puro Dance stage on the Saturday). As you enter the festival, you are greeted by the refreshingly cool fountains and the unique looking architecture of the venue. Upon entry, you’ll notice the stages sit in a sort-of triangle formation, with Burn Stage to your immediate left, Extreme / Winter to your right and the monstrous Main Stage dead ahead, at the back. There was a refreshing mix of genre variety across all stages, including Progressive / Electro House, Bass House, Trance, Hardstyle and Techno. Each stage had bars, toilers and water fountains very nearby, and all food trucks sat comfortably in the middle of the venue. The water fountains are all free to use so remember to try and keep hold of a bottle top, so that you can continually keep filling up, as you sweat out your fluids, dancing under the stars.
The Burn Stage (sponsored by Burn Energy Drink) hosted massive names in dance music such as Third Party, Tchami, Aly & Fila, Ferry Corsten, Headhunterz, Shapov, W&W and DJ Nano (who hosted his Oro Viejo party on the Saturday from 1-8am!). As massive house heads, we were right at the front for Third Party, Shapov and Tchami… WOW! Ever earlier on during the first evening, the energy and atmosphere was incredible. The thing we loved about this festival is that EVERYONE was so up for it!!
We ventured over to the Extreme Camp Stage on the Friday and we were once again blown away by the crowd’s energy. This stage played nothing but Hardstyle / Hardcore, so as you can expect, there were many crazy people jumping around together with intense jumping and mosh-pits. Fair play to anyone who was brave enough to stay at that stage for 15 hours!! On Day Two, this stage mellowed out and became the Winter Stage, hosting big names in Techno like Nina Kravis, Speedy J, Ben Sims and many more. This felt like a complete contrast to the day before, and a great way to sound out the second day of the festival – with a THUMPING techno bassline.
Finally, this year’s Main Stage sat menacingly at the back of the festival, with a sort-of runway leading up to it, directly from the entrance. Along this ‘runway’, you’d find all manner of food trucks and a very long bar for all your drinkies. The stage was an absolute beast. Huge light panels and screens made up the left and right of the stage (similar to Ultra Music Festival’s Main Stage in Miami 2015) which, along with the lasers, pyrotechnics, confetti and special effects, made the Main Stage a truly unforgettable visual experience. Day One was a TECHNO TAKEOVER on this stage, whereas Day Two was all about House Music. Eric Prydz, Armin Van Buuren, Steve Angello, Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano, Nicky Romero, Kaskade, Kryder & Tom Staar, Dimitri Vangelis & Wyman, Adam Beyer, Abels Ramos b2b Albert Neve and many more, ALL ON ONE STAGE?! Amazing.
As magical and visually stunning as these stages were, a word of warning: these stages are VERY loud. We have been to many EDM festivals all over the world, but we think this might be the loudest one yet. The sound systems used at A Summer Story are breath-taking and you feel the bass all through your body, but if you are thinking about dancing near to the front of any stage, you might want to consider wearing some form of ear-protection. The way that the stages were set up means there wasn’t any ‘quiet’ area in which you could escape from the noise. When taking 5 minutes to relax in the Rest Area’ (which sits in the middle of the festival between the Burn and Extreme/Winter Stage), you could hear heavy screaming Hardstyle to one side, and some loud euphoric trance to the other.
A Summer Story – Behind The Scenes
After many years of partying and countless festivals, we have been fortunate enough to meet so many awesome people – including some of the best EDM artists of all time! During Day Two, we had backstage access, allowing us to party with our favourite UK producers, Kryder & Tom Staar (who absolutely KILLED IT on the Main Stage). We had a surreal experience meeting all of the Main Stage artists, seeing all of these dedicated fans interacting and chatting with their idols, whilst at the same time, cracking open some cold beers and vodka with them. We will never forget how it felt to be standing just behind the decks on Main Stage, overlooking tens of thousands of beautiful dancing souls, bopping up and down simultaneously, looking more like an ocean storm than a crowd of festival-goers. <3
!Things to Remember !
- Dress Light – It’s Madrid. It’s Spain. Guess what… It’s HOT. The reason this festival goes throughout the night is because it’s just too hot in the daytime. Remember to dress appropriately – it was averaging about 26 degrees Celsius in the night / early morning. Although it might seem like a funny idea to dress as a giant duck in a thick costume, you’ll probably cook. Bread likes to rock a sweatband so that his sweat doesn’t drip in to his eyes (…gross).
- Ear-Plugs – This festival is loud. Like.. really loud! If you are concerned about how the volumd could damage your ears, we strongly recommend you invest in some Ear Plugs (which you can purchase at the Festival).
- Water Bottle Screw-Caps – Keep hold of any water bottle caps when you can (or bring your own). This means you can continue to refill your bottles, as you dance, sweat and partypartyPARTY.
- Check the Line-Up – Day One was heavily centred around Techno, Harstyle and Trance, whereas Day Two was all about House Music. If some of these genres don’t interest you, you might want to consider purchasing a single day ticket instead.
- Food – Remember to eat! We know how easy it is to get lost in the music and forget about everything else, but you’re going to need to stack up on carbs to give you the energy needed to party it up until 9am! We recommend the MOOSE burger van – the goat’s cheese burger goes OFF!!
We’d like to say a special thank you to the organizers of the festival. Although this is a predominantly Spanish festival, the majority of people working at A Summer Story spoke English and were always happy to help in any way. The Social Media team that A Summer Story has are so great! Any messages, queries or comments you leave them, on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, they respond to almost immediately!! We were so impressed at the level of service, especially as this is only the Third edition of the festival. @asummerstoryoficial
PRODUCTION / STAGE DESIGN
Brilliant stages, lasers and light shows – not as theatrical as festivals like Tomorrowland or EDC, but it is still early days for A Summer Story.
Fantastic sound quality, just slightly too loud.
CROWD / ATMOSPHERE
Great vibes all round! The Spanish love a party! We didn’t see anyone in a bad state, just smiles 🙂
VALUE FOR MONEY
We are still in shock?! So cheap! Entry, food, drinks, free water fountains. . . Awesome.
FESTIVAL LAYOUT / VENUE
We loved the venue but there was no escape from the music at any time, always surrounded by 3 very loud stages.
OVERALL FESTIVAL SCORE
A Summer Story – It does NOT disappoint! Incredible value for money, a fantastic crowd and a line-up to give your left ‘shoe’ for. The creators of this festival didn’t start small and they definitely aren’t stopping now; as each year the music, stages and production grows both is size and impressiveness! ¡Hasta el año próximo!
Like most festivals we attend around the world, we endeavour to stay in the host city for a week beforehand. That way, we get to experience the nightlife and the culture before the main event of ‘partymadness’. As such, we’ve provided a list of hostels that are not only affordable but highly rated too, links below:
(*Early bird 2 prices for year of 2017)