This past Saturday, on the 22nd of February, our team made its way to the beautiful city capital of Portugal, Lisbon, to attend Elrow – Chinese Row Year, and we can’t think of any better way to celebrate yet another wonderful Carnaval than at this event.

Taking place at the FIL – Feira Internacional de Lisboa, the scenes upon arrival were breathtaking. The venue is located right next to the beautiful Tagus River, giving you a wonderful sight as you wait for the doors to open.

The announced line-up this year was mind-blowing and impressive to say the least as headliners Claptone and Sam Paganini would make their mark on the Elrow stage once again, to bless us with their beautiful sounds for this very special event. Anja Schneider, DJ Vibe, DJEFF, Eddy M and Marc Maya also took over the crowd delivering phenomenal DJ Sets, which we’ll go into more detail later this review.

With the gates opening at 10pm, Eddy M was ready to make his mark, and deliver a beautiful set, as the people went past security, and made their way to the beautifully decorated stage. No words can possibly describe the beautiful scenario designed for this event, but I’ll do my best!

Taking you on a journey to the country of China, the décor featured Dragons, hundreds of Traditional Lamps and Chinese Neon Street Signs. If this wasn’t enough, the stage itself was designed after a Chinese Temple and the ceiling was covered in Traditional carpets, engulfing you in a bubble of culture and allowing you to experience the world.

With a wonderful 2 hour set from Eddy M, the crowd was pumped and ready to go on this adventure and as DJEFF stepped into the stage, the crowd’s reaction was breathtaking. A more than deserved welcome to this National talent who was ready to bring his Afro style House sounds to the Elrow crowd. Playing what some could consider a heavier set from his part, the DJ stayed true to his roots and delivered what could very well be the best set of the night. This statement of course, is due to the sheer combination of a great set and the energy exerted by the audience!

Anja Schneider had to follow this feat, and with incredible confidence she tackled her set, in wonderful fashion. Showing what her music is all about, Anja brought the heavier side of Techno to life, a genre that pleased the crowd very much and kept them energized from start to finish.

Round about now, it was about time they unleashed the Carnaval (Mardi Gras) props and actors, who brought through the crowd flying dragons, massive traditional “Foo Dogs” and Guardian Lions, and of course, the unexpected dozens of actors in Stilts, who walked through the crowd in their costumes, giving everyone the experience of a lifetime.

For Anja’s last track, all confetti guns were unleashed and inflatable baloons were thrown at the crowd, granting those attending a “WOW” moment that no one will forget. It was now time for DJ Vibe to take on the stage and we took this opportunity to check the rest of the venue, as well as the backstage area and the VIP stands.

While walking around the main courtyard, one thing was rapidly apparent, which was how massive this venue was. From games for the attendees, to food trucks, and also bathrooms accommodating for both men, women and Disabled attendees, the organizers had thought about it all.

We decided to experience the games they were offering and dressing up in oversized sumo costumes we took on a fun obstacle course which allowed for a great laugh. This allowed us to win a prize from the fun and random selection of toys they were giving away.

In need of some tokens for drinks we decided to queue, in what was an apparent disorganized cluster of people, taking over 25 minutes for us to be able to get a hold of said tokens. This was by far the most inconvenient moment as most people were waiting to get their tokens and, in the meantime, almost all the bars were empty.

The backstage area was very well organized. With stands in both sides of the stage, you could find a phenomenal selection of talents in that confined space, that had photographers, plenty of disguised people, props and a private bar.

Just in time to catch the final 30 minutes of DJ Vibe, all there is to say is that this veteran of the industry still delivers some of the greatest sets musically. His experience and years deejaying, made these 30 minutes seem like 5 as the enjoyment was so great.

It was finally time for the maestro to hit the stage, one of the most awaited names of the evening, Claptone! Receiving a major ovation when he stepped on stage, the crowd never ceased to sing, shout and dance to his wonderful sounds. Embracing more of a Tech House kind of set, he played classics as well as straight up bangers such as “More Life” by Torren Foot, Martin Ikin’s track “Hooked” and of course, Claptone’s remix of “Body Funk”.

A full hour and a half were spent in the most beautiful way as the German DJ and Producer took on our souls and delivered the overall best set of this “Chinese Row Year

5 a.m. had hit the clock and it was now time for the second to last artist to make his appearance on the Elrow stage. Marc Maya had a tough task following up after Claptone but we must give props to our Spanish brother as he took everyone to a sunny beach of Ibiza with a phenomenal performance. A dynamic and versatile DJ set featuring groovy and melodic rhythms, guiding everyone through this final stretch.

Finally, it was time for the second headliner to make an appearance as Sam Paganini walked on the majestic Temple of Chinese Row Year. Even the sun wanted to witness this masterpiece, this wonderful work of art that was about to take place as it rose towards the sky. A beautiful moment to witness as you saw the sunrise through the entry gates of the Warehouse and Sam Paganini delivering his body and soul through the music.

An explosion of confetti and every actor making an appearance, the perfect way to finish this mesmerizing edition of Elrow’s Chinese Row Year.

It’s safe to say that the overall experience was truly breathtaking. A class line-up and a truly beautiful scenario, a top-level sound system and top tier organization were what allowed this event to be the amazing work of art that it was.

We can’t wait for the next one to take place, and we must give a major thanks to the Made Of You Group, Elrow and The Rest Is Noise for allowing us to be a part of such a wonderful event and welcoming us in such a phenomenal way.

See you next time Elrow! You’ve been amazing!

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