Monegros sets benchmark for desert techno once again

With a sublime setting and gritty cutting edge music to boot, Monegros has developed a serious impact and name for itself within its 19 year career. Drafting in pretty much every heavyweight name that has graced techno music in that period, Monegros has always left their punters itching for more. This year the festival alternated their techno roots with deeper styles from the likes of Marcel Dettman and Joris Voorn and married them with heavy hitting legends like Underworld, Richie Hawtin and Len Faki. Not to mention stalwart players from the house scene Loco Dice, Luciano and Marco Carola also applied their trade over in the El Row arena. Further more they even invited fun and bass heavy hip-hop superstars Public Enemy in on the act to rave reviews.


As we arrived around 9pm we luckily missed the grueling heat as the sun was just dropping down over the horizon of the desert. However we were unkindly met by a lighting shower which although pleasing on the eye had us drenched from the outset. Luckily that passed pretty instantly and our first port of call was to witness the bass heavy Justice rock the main stage. The late comers to this years line up attracted a huge early audience and hinted suggestions of unheard of material in with some of their classic cuts like ‘D.A.N.C.E’.

Moving swiftly over to El Row we managed to capture some of the decor and scenery, which always plays a major factor in Monegros year upon year. Large burlesque stilt walkers and abstract art were a plenty and moving dinosaur skeletons all tied in with the theme. A weird but wonderful match I thought. Back at El Row when we managed to guide ourselves through the packed crowds, we were greeted by the last few minutes of Minus member Matador who recieved a huge applause from onlookers. However we were there to witness a deeper blend of techno from German hitter Marcel Dettmann, who allowed his slower bpm approach to suck in the faithful audience. Some nice drops and naughty basslines were a plenty and this allowed Joris Voorn to up the anti with a more driving set just after.


I on the other hand decided to take in the headliners Underworld who I had not seen in about 10 years. The obvious stand out track at the end being ‘Born Slippy’ which drew the largest crowd of the evening/morning. Shortly after I switched to Public Enemy who to their own credit drew in an audience from all sides of the festival. The legends from across the water hand the arena in a frenzy even allowing some hand picked ladies from the crowd on stage for their amazing finale.

Just after Underworld came Minus frontman Richie Hawtin who portrayed a mix of tech-house and techno to a sustained mass audience. Probably the perfect candidate to take over from the Scottish duo after an amazing performance. Keeping with that tech house theme, I once again hit El Row for a triple headed attack. First Loco Dice chugged out some stomping basslines with serious use of the effects unit, Carola followed him with some energetic and deeper cuts and by 4am Luciano brought the early rising sun up with Cadenza style loops and drops of his own.

Drawing our festival to a close was Len Faki back at the main stage who you wouldn’t normally pick for a sunrise set with his harder style but in fairness it drew one of the biggest crowds of the morning.


Monegros is not for the faint at heart and if you want an early finish then you’re pretty much stuck. You are in the middle of nowhere which kind of adds to the madness and fun. The programming is perfectly addressed and the line up are created with pinpoint accuracy. In addition to that the music, food and policies are major factors in the success also.

It certainly is worth a look for 2014…