Mar 7th, 2016, 04:34 PM

Study Abroad: Festival Size

By Rebecca Simor
Image Credit: Abroadfest
Abroadfest is the international gathering of the year for students.

The boardwalk of La Barceloneta was covered in confetti, crushed cans, and cigarette butts. College logo's were stamped on every t-shirt, at least for the individuals who still had them on. Floods of college students mingled in the sand while the sun began to set, knowing that the fiesta would not be over until the sun rose the next morning. It was a night of uninhibited revelry.

​With a stacked lineup — including the Chainsmokers, Nghtmre, Slander, and Marshmello — Abroadfest had no trouble attracting students from across Europe to the party capital of Barcelona. The festival wasn't limited to just those experiencing the European culture, though. Unlike most musical festivals, Abroadfest is unique in the sense that it’s target audience is international students. Because of this, almost all of the tickets purchased were by American students studying in a foreign country.

According to Matt Herbers, the marketing director of the festival, the concept began four years ago when Prime Social Group and De Lis Group — another startup owned by one of Zach Ruben's former friends — planned an Afrojack show at a venue in Barcelona. They targeted young students studying abroad in Europe. Due to the success of the event, the two companies decided they should produce an entire weekend of events, sight-seeing, and cultural activities in what would eventually become Abroadfest.

And even though the main target market is study abroad students, Americans made the journey across the Atlantic to experience the festival for themselves. Three juniors from the University of Michigan were not studying abroad, but decided to take advantage of their spring break to visit their friends and meet up at Abroadfest. "Our friends came last year and said that they highly recommended it," Charlie Hall, one of the three juniors, said, "so we decided to check it out."

But an interesting element to this festival is that many students didn't come just for the music, they came instead for the experience.

Haley Dreyer, a student from Washington State University in the U.S who is currently studying abroad in Florence, knew only a few artists in the lineup. She was instead attracted to the idea of reuniting with her friends from home and university in one of the most well-known party city in Europe. "Honestly, I didn’t know the schedule," she said, "I didn’t know who was performing, but I knew a bunch of my friends from high school would be here and I thought it would be fun for us all to get back together."

With just a quick flight and a spot on the couch of a longtime friends apartment in Spain, Haley was able to reunite with her friends. As a frequent music festival attendee in the States, her thoughts on Abroadfest in comparison to another large music festival brought a new light into the atmosphere of the occasion. "It’s really interesting, I don’t really see it as much as a music festival," she commented, "I see it more as a bunch of kids getting together and getting drunk, but hey, it’s been a great weekend." 

Sleep, inevitably, wasn't much of a possibility as the festival began at 4 p.m. and ended around 6 a.m. That didn't stop it from ending up as a resounding success, according to Herbers. "The festival went amazing," he cheerfully exclaimed, "It sold out again for the third straight year." It's something he attributes to the fact that every year going forward, and PSG will work hard to give the best possible experience for those that attend. It's a worthy destination to add in your festival lineup.

Photography by AbroadFest