Pro Zarautz - Swell + Sound Festival With Nicolas Lutz, Quest, Javier Carballo & More… »
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What do you get when you cross some of the hottest surfing action in Europe, mixed with some of the most sought after DJs and live acts in the globe. That’s right, the 2022 edition of Pro Zarautz’ Swell + Sound Festival. We have been fortunate enough to sit down with the festival organisers ahead of next weeks event to find out more about the project, and what can be expected across the Spanish free multi-day festival. That’s right, free. Alongside the swell action, and the performances will be a series of masterclasses and tuition courses in surfing, music production and more…

Where did the journey begin for Swell + Sound? Do you have a large team working on the project? 

The Gipuzkoa Surfing Federation is a pioneer worldwide in promoting surfing with cultural events whose axes are equality, inclusion and environment. The star event is the international championship PRO ZARAUTZ that this year premieres format with an independent OPEN, adding for the first time the ADAPTIVE modality to make it more inclusive. In this context and to reinforce the event, SWELL + SOUND is born within the program of FederArte SURFING KULTURA: a live music festival to accompany the parallel activities that take place during the 5 days of the PRO ZARAUTZ OPEN + ADAPTIVE. It is the first time in the history of surfing that a festival based on electronics and synthesizers, with a line up of 69 artists from 16 nationalities and totally FREE.

On the other hand Guillermo Lam co-director of Swell+Sound which has 50% of shares of Swell+Sound has a long trajectory in managing events around the world including cities like Boston, Miami, Chicago or Detroit. Currently based in Zarautz he also has a monthly residence with his concept Fuana Madrid at Sala Muv and Ballesta Club in the Spanish Capital.
The union between Maialen Saez, director for Federarte Surfing Kultura and Guillermo Lam yielded Swell+Sound Festival as part of Prozarautz’s Surfing competition.

Can you tell us a bit about the location for the forthcoming edition? Stages etc? 

The championship and the festival take place on the beach of Zarautz, well known for being the place where the best European surfers belong and also have a good position in the world ranking. The activities take place in different places where there is a stage with live music, 4 in total. There will be music from 12 noon to 12 midnight, creating different atmospheres depending on the programming and time slot. It starts with a down tempo to progressively go into more eclectic notes and according to the night. There are also 4 local clubs who wished to collaborate with their venues to complete the full schedule.

In modern times there is often a friction between events/promoters and the local councils/governments, it seems like you are working hand in hand with Zarautz to bring an event like this to the area. How important is it for the area to showcase an event like this? And the local people? 

The Federation is in itself an institution that advocates for the surfer community. We get 40% of public support for the event and the rest we self-finance it with sponsoring. The Pro Zarautz has a historical record of media ROI in 2018 of 4 million Euros and this prestige helps us a lot when it comes to getting funding. The championship and its festival has a long history and is a world reference to such an extent that it is considered by the Basque Government as an event of high tourist impact. The year with more affluence was of 30.000 people in the 5 days and a hotel occupation of 95% which encompasses an important return not only at sporting level but also cultural.

For us it seems like a very original idea combining surfing with stellar sounds during the course of the week. What can festival goers expect from the surfing aspect of the festival? 

The initiative of the Surfing Federation to go beyond the competition and boost its entire lifestyle is constituted thanks to the FederArte Surfing Kultura project. In fact, in 2018 it was considered a model of international success, being a reference for it. Hence, countries like Panama got in touch to organize the first bodyboard championship in Bocas del Toro, which was attended by legends like Mike Stwart. We already have 43 championships and festivals that support them in which music, culture and actions of inclusion, sustainability and equality are the core of the program. However, with the launch of PRO ZARAUTZ OPEN + ADAPTIVE we also innovate with a festival full of synthesizers, attended by artists from 16 countries and which represents the first time that a synergy between surf and electronic music is established, in addition, totally free. We want to make it clear that electronic music is culture and totally compatible with surf culture.

Festival goers will be able to leverage free surfing classes, pottery workshops, yoga, taichi or capoeria masterclasses. At the same time, everyone will hve the opportunity to enjoy free masterclasses on topics sush as: djíng by Berna, Intro to music production by Javier Carballo or how to design their own Live set by Costas.

You have lots of amazing artists on the bill, including some favourites of ours Quest, Javier Carballo, Nicolas Lutz and more. When programming a festival like this what do you have to take into consideration? 

First and foremost we always advocate for real music lovers who not only stick to friendly sounds but who rather like to push boundaries and become either edgier and subtler in their sound or choose to become genuine crate diggers finding rare-gems. In that sense the ability to play in different formats is a must: Vinyl, digital, cassettes, you name it. We also take into consideration finding the right balance between local artists and the rest so that we can also showcase our scene and its quality to the rest of the world. Creating the right ambiance and gradually increasing the hype is equally important, so expect stages where we kick it off with Ambient, IDM, Downtempo or TripHop to then find yourselves at midnight closing with an electro or breakbeat set.

You are also collaborating with many other partners and local businesses. Can you tell our readers a bit about what they can expect from these? 

Our local bars will be taking care of all bars within our site. Expect “pintxos” and “tapas” from Euskolabel with top-of-the-shelve Basque products and Mad Radio BCN will top it all off with their Streaming and Record shop

Can you give us one track that reminds you of the festival?

Mystic Force – Mystic Force (127BPM Mix)

This would probably describe best all the pain and effort we´ have had to undergo all these months, a roller coaster of emotions which finally rendered something beautiful.

To discover more:

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