Ultra Music Festival might perennially hog all the hype during Miami Music Week, but the hottest ticket this year is undoubtedly the blowout bash the Enchanted Forest, set for March 30 at Mana Wynwood. And it won’t cost you hundreds of dollars.
It’s an Elrow event. Those who know the name will do whatever it takes to be there. For those who have never experienced a show by this crew of legendary party purveyors, prepare to be flabbergasted.
Imagine: A Lewis Carroll opium dream meets the wackiest of Dr. Seuss' characters in Tim Burton’s nightmarishly beautiful world, but in Day-Glo colors. You'll see Mad Hatters, giant chameleons, and all kinds of larger-than-life fairy-tale characters — maybe even Seuss' Sneetches or Ursula from Disney's The Little Mermaid.
And it’s all backed by the high-energy soundtrack of topnotch DJ talent, headed by tech-house masters Claptone and Patrick Topping.
Elrow's reputation has grown to the point of near-hyperbole. The Barcelona-based brand boasts epic parties all over the world — all with different themes — and residencies in Ibiza, Madrid, New York, Dubai, and Barcelona. Fans now follow the events with a Deadhead-like devotion.
“It’s pretty crazy,” Elrow CEO Juan Arnau Jr. says. “This year, we’re gonna be doing 170 shows in 40 countries and 82 cities on five continents. And, yes, people are following us and really love seeing the new themes — they want to experience each of them and see what’s different from each other.”
The Miami event seeks to set the Elrow bar even higher.
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“What we are trying to do in America is broaden the show by making it bigger and better and crazier,” Arnau says. “The last edition of club shows was from 1,500 to 2,500 people," he says, while the upcoming event is expected to draw between 4,000 and 5,000 attendees. "It’s gonna be the biggest show ever in Miami.”
The music should easily tackle the task of rocking the huge crowds, because Elrow carefully chooses its DJs.
"The recipe has been having a balance," says Michael Julian, special advisor to CEO. “It’s a combination where there is a local flavor at all the shows, there is an element of artist discovery with new talent, and then we bring our residents from Barcelona as well as headliners that are known all around the world. And we’re gonna have three very special friends whose names we really can’t release, but fans will be very pleasantly surprised.”
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One of the craziest things about an Elrow event is it’s hard to differentiate between the guests and the workers. That’s because everyone is having a blast.
“People come to be part of the show, so they dress up,” Arnau says. “And you see the workers dressed up, and they’re still working, but they’re also partying and dancing and going crazy. It makes the party different from other brands. That’s the beauty of us: I think nowadays the world is not so happy anymore, and people want to have a break and party and switch off from the reality, and Elrow is giving them this opportunity.”
The Enchanted Forest (El Bowsque Encantado). 10 p.m. Saturday, March 30, at Mana Wynwood, 318 NW 23rd St., Miami. Tickets cost $50 to $60 for general admission and $85 for VIP via tixr.com.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly described Michael Julian's job title and the expected size of the crowd at Enchanted Forest.