Small-Town Mayor Impressed by Illegal Rave

'They had absolutely everything,' says Fernando Álvarez of La Peza, Spain
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2023 1:47 PM CST

The Spanish town of La Peza is usually home to about 1,200 people, so you can imagine locals' reaction when they woke up Friday to find thousands of strangers engaged in an exuberant dance party. Suddenly, "we were 5,200 people. By Saturday we were 6,000," says the town's mayor, Fernando Álvarez, per the Guardian. "It was a bit chaotic." According to Álvarez, officials had no idea that a six-day rave had been organized less than a mile from the town center, attracting visitors from across Europe. There was no permit or license, yet locals describe seven stages, a mass of tents and stalls, and a constant drum of loud music.

"It was 24 hours a day of chin chin boom," says Álvarez, referring to the beats that carried over the village in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The party, expected to end Tuesday, raged until Wednesday, when the stages finally started to come down, per the Guardian. Álvarez says he's relieved, but still unsure how the event was pulled off without officials getting a tipoff. Many attendees were elusive in responding to questions, per Insider. "Truthfully, if I knew who had organized it, I would hire them to plan our village fiesta," says Álvarez. "They had a bakery, pizzeria, clothing shops, people who would braid your hair—they had absolutely everything. I'm amazed that they managed to set that all up in the span of a few hours."

Police decided it was safer to monitor the event than evict the partiers, though they did erect barriers to prevent more vehicles accessing the site. Footage shows cars lining both sides of a long stretch of road. Though a few attendees were arrested for drug-related offenses and resisting, officials describe the rave as largely peaceful and a boost to the local economy. The Guardian reports "a few young people and one 80-year-old villager" even joined in the revelry. Some actually suggested turning it into an annual event, per Insider. "We got six days of entertainment out of it," says Álvarez, adding, "We're here if anyone wants to visit us—but maybe not 5,000 people all at once." (More Spain stories.)

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