THE FAMILIA SATORRES/DURAN/ARNAU STORY
Welcome to the family. This is our story, a story that has lasted three centuries, the story of a family that has always been proud of serving its clients, and considering them part of their own family. It has been and still is an honor to keep entertaining and amusing them all. Many thanks to all!
THE ORIGINS. THE CAFÉ JOSEPET IN FRAGA, HUESCA
In 1845 Jose Satorres, known as Josepet, was born in Fraga to a traditional farming family.
In 1863 he went to do his military service in Madrid where he discovered social life, the cabarets of the time, and he enlisted three consecutive times into the army to avoid returning to Fraga where he was expected to follow in his father’s footsteps as a farmer.
In 1870 he returned to Fraga and tells his father that he doesn’t like the country life and that he wants to open his own Café. The Café Josepet opened and becomes the meeting place for the town’s business community for many years.
Jose at that time already sported a suit and tie, ignoring the typical country smocks worn in the isolated, farming town of Fraga, with its streets full of donkeys and heavy, horse-drawn carts. He set up his own bus company to connect Fraga with the neighbouring capital town of Lleida and also to allow its travellers to discover his famous Café, located right in front of the bus-stop where his eye-catching coach would stop.
The Café Josepet little by little became a large social club. It was situated at 2 Paseo Barron on the ground floor. The social club was on the first floor and the family’s residence was on the second floor.
In a card game Jose Satorres lost virtually all of his wife’s dowry and his own properties. Little by little he would win back these properties until many years later he gave up his vice of gambling. However, this was the way he lost in a card game the Menorcas estate, which he would again win back later on. On this same estate 100 years later, the first Monegros Party would be celebrated.
The Club Café Josepet put on shows to entertain above all the men, mainly farmers, who sat behind its white marble tables to play cards or talk business.
His son wanted nothing to do with his father’s line of work and followed on the the family farming tradition in the Monegros and Vega lands near Fraga. José outlived his son, closed his famous Café and died a year later. His daughter-in-law Maria Vilar, his son’s widow, convinced her own daughter, Maria Satorres, to leave Barbastro and come back to her long-missed and much-loved Fraga. Maria had married Antonio Duran, a talented young man born for the hostelry trade. They both lived in Barbastro where Antonio worked as a waiter in the prestigious hotel San Roman.
THE EVOLUTION: BAR VICTORIA. TEATRO VICTORIA. CINE VICTORIA
One year after its closure Antonio reopened the Café Josepet, but now it was called Bar Victoria. The Bar and its social club was so successful that Antonio, equal partners with his mother-in-law, wanted to expand the business and asked Maria for permission to occupy the stables used in the past by the farming family and located at the rear of the Bar Victoria.
Thus, the Theatre Victoria was born at the start of the twenties, where Antonio put on all sorts of variety shows, which were at that time both risqué and revolutionary. He connected his Theatre via a passage to the Café and also to his residence via a small stairway. So the young Antonio spent his days going up and down stairs to supervise what was going on in his Café, his social club and in his recently opened Theatre. At the same time, a period of rivalry began with Mr. Brunito, who managed another variety theatre a mere 50 metres from Antonio’s. Finally, they came to an agreement in which the Theatre Victoria became a cinema and Brunito would continue his variety shows. And so the ever-famous Cine Victoria was born; the cinema “up the street” where Antonio hired an amateur pianist to accompany live – with no time to rehearse – those first silent movies which arrived from the far-off USA, thanks to Hermeregildo, the co-driver of a bus that was a descendent of the buses of the great Josepet and which now belonged to the company Safresa (Satorres Freixas and his Catalan partner).
Such was the success of the Cinema that Antonio was forced to increase his operations, installing a terrace beside the premises where films were also projected during the summer. The first open air cinema in the province was born. It was clear that the Duran Satorres were kept extremely busy and had managed to create the first complete entertainment centre in all Spain. Just imagine a thousand youngsters milling around in the café, playing in the social club, and later on going to one of the two or three daily sessions that Antonio programmed in his cinema. All this in the same block and with the Cine Victoria acting as the period’s flagship of modern life, first showing silent movies and then later on equipped with the latest sound and projection equipment.
Just one entire building, connecting together the leisure offer of the Bajo Cinca region of Aragón. A complete success achieved by a visionary man completely committed to providing a great show in each and every one of his proposals.
THE EXPANSION: CINE FLORIDA. TEATRO FLORIDA
Meanwhile in the mid 20s, in 1924, Juan Arnau Cabases and his wife Francisca Ibarz Quer arrived in Fraga from Aitona, the nearby town of Lleida from which they had escaped to get married, given that they were from families with totally different political allegiances. Francisca was from a royalist family and Arnau was from a republican one.
They first founded a flour mill and then several oil presses throughout the region. But Juan Arnau was also a restless man and he heard that a certain Duran with his Cine Victoria situated on the opposite bank of the Cinca River was making a fortune. For a year, every Sunday he sent a spy to discover the ticket sales in the cinema and in just a year he was building his own cinema called Florida, the cinema “down the street” at the bottom of the hill below his competitor. Fierce competition ensued until it was discovered that the only daughter of Duran, Pilarín and the firstborn of Arnau loved each other and wanted to get married. So as not to hamper the relationship, it was decided that Pilar’s uncle, Santiago Satorres would run the two businesses and act as manager of both to avoid quarrels and unfair competition.
THE AMBITION: TERRAZA FLORIDA. SALOON FLORIDA
But the ever-restless Juan Arnau, the family Patriarch, wanted to go further and enter the world of dance and musical entertainment. First, he opened his Garden Terrace Florida which is accessed through a door in the Florida Cinema and later opened his Saloon Florida where the best and most varied orchestras of the time would play. Initially, with orchestras formed by local amateurs, but this would later change and he would hire the best groups that he had seen in the far-off Barcelona and even further-off Madrid. In the early 60s he heard that that a certain Xavier Cugat, a Catalan musician, was making it big in Las Vegas and, after years of stubbornness and insistence, Juan Arnau persuaded him to perform in the Florida. Cugat arrived in Fraga with his star dancer Abelain. Unfortunately bad luck struck, and just a day before his performance at the Florida Juan Arnau Cabases died, victim of a fatal heart attack.
Juanito and Pilarin got married in Fraga and, unsurprisingly, celebrate their wedding feast in the Florida’s grand salon, served by the prestigious Huesca caterers, Saura. Juan and Pilar Saura chose Paris for their honeymoon and there, in the city of the Seine, Juan discovered the spectacular shows of the Folie Bergère. They also visited the Moulin Rouge and it was then that Juan decided one day some of these shows would be performed in his beloved Fraga.
THE BEGINNING OF CLUB CULTURE. CLUB FLORIDA 135
After looking into several projects, they set off in search of the eccentric Javier Regas, now a hippie in Goa, India. They convinced him to return to Spain and accept the project. Javier designed the current Club Florida, creating a street from the Bronx with inspiration from the film Blade Runner. In 1985 the Florida 135 opened, which later would host the Hysteria of Philippe Corti, guru of the St. Tropez Papagayo. It was later renamed Florida 135 Tendenze Club and featured the first sybaritic and universal electronic music from the Valencian Bakalao Route. It was home to a dizzying journey through all the musical trends of the last three decades: from disco, the Madrid pop and rock scene, singers and soloists of the post-dictatorship period, the great dance hits of all time, house, acid-house, makina, bacalao and finally the most underground and universal electronic music.
THE GROWTH OF THE RAVE. THE MONEGROS PARTY
In 1993, Juanito Arnau, Pilarin and Juanito’s son, asked his Aunt Joaquina’s permission to go and dance in the Monegros, in that estate inherited from his father, the same estate that the great Josepet lost and recovered in a card game. Thus, unwittingly, the Monegros Party was born. It then became the Groove Parade, the Monegros festival and finally the Monegros Desert Festival. Growing from those 200 friends in the first year in 1993 to over 40,000 in the 2014 festival. In 2006, we celebrated the Monegros Winter Festival in the month of October on the the Peñetas estate, and one year later we did the same with the so-called M2 in the city of Zaragoza.
Juan Arnau Duran finished his business studies and moved to Los Angeles with the aim of improving his university studies. With his friends Guillermo, Beto and Nacho, they visit the city of Las Vegas in the mid-seventies and there Juan discovered a magical and almost unreal city. He remembered the story of his grandfather with Xavier Cugat at Caesars Palace and promised himself that one day he or his descendants would return with their own show to Sin City.
Juan Arnau Duran married Maria Cruz Lasierra who was born in the Aragonese town of Ainsa in the Pyrenees. They had two children, the current owners and managers of the elrow brand and, after 15 years in their parent’s and in-law’s town of Fraga, they moved to Barcelona following the steps of their children who were to begin their university studies.
OPERATION BARCELONA. ROW, AT NICK HAVANNA
Juan teamed up with the famous mixologist Javier de las Muelas and, in his famous Nick Havanna, opens his first club in the city in 2001 called Row, the name our great friend Ricart Robles gave to those electronic sessions that every Thursday took place in the club on Rosellón street. Ricart Robles, together with with Sergi Caballero and Enric Les Palau, were, and still are today, the owners of the Barcelona Sonar Festival which recently celebrated its 21st anniversary.
THE BRAND BEGINS TO TAKE SHAPE. THE ROW14. VILADECANS
In 2008 Juan was invited by the Barcelona “Gemelos” to see an old farmhouse near Barcelona that once housed a restaurant managed by the ex-Barcelona player Chus Pereda, and which at that time was hosting, now without too much success, one of the city’s most important late-night clubs, the Fricht. There, located in the area of Barcelona airport and the city of Viladecans, in an old property of the Domenech family, where Chus Pereda had his singular restaurant, La Panocha, and where later on Tomas Martinez would transform it into Vertigo, a rock and roll concert venue, and later on Mistic S.L with Alfonso de Bower at its head that would turn it into the very famous Fricht, Juan had brainwave and leased the premises. It underwent an exhaustive and expensive renovation, which came near to bankrupting him. In May, 2008 his Row 14 opened, after a series of council inspections that almost jeopardized the massive opening, featuring the renowned French artist Laurent Garnier.
THE FUTURE. ELROW. BARCELONA & IBIZA. PRIVILEGE & SPACE
In 2010 he tried a last-ditch attempt to organize morning sessions which slowly took off and with them now run by his two children Juan and Cruz, in June of that same year the concept of elrow was born; slightly illegal Sunday sessions which were held until they were closed down by the authorities in November 2012. After several months of inactivity it reopened with evening sessions that were equally successful. In the summer of 2011 the brand landed on the island of Ibiza where they were hired to do a unique session in August in the British Zoo Project Party in the city of San Antonio. In 2012 they reached an agreement with Jose Mari Etchaniz, owner of Privilege Ibiza to do Saturday sessions in his Vista Club every Saturday all summer. The elrow brand became part of the party scene on the island during the 2012 and 2013. In 2014 it was hired by Juan Arenas and Pepe Rosello to do likewise in Ibiza’s Space, the most awarded club worldwide, where they stayed over the summers of 2014 and 2015. Meanwhile, the genuine elrow sessions are still celebrated once a month at that far-off Row14 on Sundays from 9AM to 10 pm every Sunday.
JUAN ARNAU IBARZ PASSES AWAY
In September of 2012 Juan Arnau Ibarz died, the ” Techno grandfather”, the most loved and respected Spanish figure of all time. He died in his beloved Fraga while Ben Sims gave one of his sessions at the altar, as the DJs booth of the Florida135 club was called, at the hands of the Arnau. The day after it was the turn of Carl Cox who, from Row 14 on that mythical morning, dedicated a few moments of silence to his good friend Juan.
CLUBBING AT ITS MOST URBAN. KERCLUB
In 2013 Juan Arnau Duran teamed up with Alberto Hidalgo to open a new club in the city: the Ker in Tarragona Street, a club created by the great Dyango which had already hosted such powerful brands such as Matinee and Space Ibiza. After several business disagreements with the property and now with his attention placed on his children’s brand, Juan retired from an active role in the business in 2014, to act as an advisor to his descendants, the creators and owners of the elrow brand.
In 2014 the Ker brand opened once again in a new venue, this time in Barcelona’s Danzatoria, a club belonging to the Palli family, and it is there where every so often the most urban and universal underground electronic music sessions are performed.
Meanwhile the brand is consolidating in the international scene. The elrow Tour travels the world, from the Caribbean BPM to Egypt, from London to Miami, and from Barcelona to New Caledonia. Over 60 functions last year in more than 15 countries and on five continents, and in over 10 major festivals all over Europe.
elrow is here to stay. A Global and Universal brand. Recently, in November 2015, the prestigious american publication Billboard has included elrow, thanks to it’s Barcelona home and international brand strategy, inside the list of the best 25 dance clubs in history worldwide.
Welcome to the family, This is our story, a story that has lasted three centuries, the story of a family that has always been proud of serving its clients, and considering them part of their own family. It has been and still is an honor to keep entertaining and amusing them all. Many thanks to all!
From 2016 to the future
In summer of 2016 we started what will be the most successful season of the brand in the Space of Ibiza. In November of this same year, the american Providence Equity Partners Fund came into contact with the family with the interest of joining the company's shareholders and in order to help us to expand the international market of the brand. In February of 2017 Providence became our partner of reference for the next years.
After finishing our season in Space and passing this room to other promoters we signed a contract with the Martí of Amnesia where we began a campaign full of success and recognition.
2017 is a year of great presences in the best venues and festivals of the World including the legendary Glastonbury and Tomorrowland.
After 5 years of continuous growth in 2018 the brand has established itself as one of the mainstays of the entertainment and electronic music industry worldwide. elrow has holded more than 130 shows last year with presence in more than 33 countries and 65 cities and in 5 continents.