On March 18th 2023, Del Paral-lel, known as the busiest and entertainment-valued main street at the heart of Barcelona, became the melting pot for NEO Fest, a music festival exploring sounds such as Afrobeat, Amapiano, and more- including its magnificent Afro-latino participants for an entire night. Whilst giving a stage to its creative Afro-community and hitmakers, amongst international acts, there were legendary performances by British producer Juls, Afrobeat artist A-Star and local sensation Tina Masawi (just to name a few).
Before one enters the fully-packed venue that was transformed into NEO Fest for this lavish evening, crowds of Afro-latinos in their most exquisite outfits and unique hairdos surround the building, making the atmosphere as festive as it can get and to want to explore more. If there is a time you want to put your best foot forward, it is tonight and its participants did not disappoint. Much like its roots to the African continent, people arrived in all sorts of rich colours, rocking streetwear-inspired fits on one part with African prints and matching shades layered above. Taking your first step at the main entrance, one naturally feels as though you´re entering another world. A world where you may come as you are and embark on a hooking confluence of positive energy and good vibes.
Often despised and discriminated against for the colour of their skin and/or African -Caribbean origins, Afro-latinos constantly face racism across southern regions in Europe and South America. Safety nets like NEO Fest gives them an opportunity not only to come together as a community but also, to uplift their talented members who are making a change for the better and slowly taking the world by storm. For many, this is their only chance to interact with one another and get to know members of similar interest and music taste. A night like this with NEO Fest becomes crucial to ensure a safe space for communication and black empowerment.
Their selling point, of course, are their prime performances. For the night, performers included Juls, resident DJs, A-star, European 305, Children of Zeus, FDS Trio featuring Tina Masawi, Black Ginger, Afrikemet and Jasmine Pace. Introducing each artist on stage to an energetic crowd, this was followed by cool dancers between sets to keep the people going. At one minute, you were moving to heavy drums usually used in Amapiano and in a split second, you got to whine on Afrobeat classics. All the partygoers showed no sign of boredom and only became more wild and eager as the night went on. Perhaps the performer of the night, A-Star, a known artist who visits the city regularly, gave his all to the supporters and made sure this will be a night to remember.
In NEO Fest, anyone and everyone is welcomed and allowed in with open arms. Overall, the event can only be described as a musical delight for all age groups. With its core focus revolving around black excellence and building a safe space for Afro-latinos to dance and come together, the music festival also provides for outsiders a glimpse into their vibrant culture and rising local stars. As an attendee, you can not help but to want to join the crowd on the dancefloor and lose yourself to the African-inspired music. For a weekend in Barcelona or a holiday trip, it would be highly recommended to visit the venue and experience its people and their captivating energy in person.