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XLSIOR Festival 2013 in Mykonos

Credit to: Carpe Diem
Credit to: Carpe Diem

 

When my friend Chris and I we’re planning for out big gay summer outing, we narrowed it down to either the epic Circuit Festival in Barcelona, or more “down-played” XLSIOR in Mykonos. Though much could be found and heard about Circuit Festival, little was known about this younger sister, particularly in the US. Perhaps it was their killer promo reel or the incredible DJ line-up combined with exotic beach destination, in the end we choose XLSIOR. From the thousands of exotic gay men to the white sandy beaches, this action packed festival was one for the ages.

The Event
Unlike the 10-day marathon of Circuit Festival, XLSIOR offered a more digestible yet jam-packed 5-day event that was “designed to surprised”. If your looking to hit only 2 or 3 of the parties, then individual tickets makes more sense, but the Party Pass was a quick and easy deal. Kudos for the cloth they created on bracelet… small detail but it was comfy yet durable for the whole week.

Here is quick breakdown of the parties:

  • Day 1: Deep Party at Paradiso (DJ Dani Toro): Great intro party in a pool-like setting. Was the perfect start to get the lay of the land… That said, the sound system was spotty throughout, the venue’s layout didn’t allow much open space or a central gathering spot, and the dark room was well… lackluster to say the least.
  • Day 2: WE Party at Cavo Paradiso: (DJ Manuel de Diego): Let’s first talk about this amazing club venue that was clearly built for the gods at Mount Olympus. Technically a 1.5 floor space, with impeccable lighting and speakers that oversees the beautiful Mediterranean ocean. If you like dancing on boxes, tables, rocks, etc….well there was no shortage of that here. A space capacity of “3,000” on paper, the crowd quickly swelled over 5,000. The WE Party vibe and music offered a more Spanish-Mediterranean feel, with some of the best production and dancers to date. This was undoubtedly one of the hottest party in the line-up.
  • Day 3 Early Evening: Masterbeat Party at Elysium Hotel (DJ Brett Henrichsen): More of a early evening transitional party with a LA vibe. The Elysium “Gay” Hotel is located right in the heart of town of Mykonos, so this is convenient for those who were lodging around town. That said, I felt the party was only worth swinging by for a drink or two.
  • Day 3 Evening: Orange Party at Space (DJ Aron and Fat Tony): This was the only non-pool, indoor venue at XLSIOR with a cool, futuristic NYC like setting. Though not as bustling as the parties at Cavo Paradiso, the space and vibe was a nice change of pace. This was also my introduction to DJ Fat Tony, who surprised me with his addictive industrial beats.
  • Day 4: Main Party at Cavo Paradiso (DJ Paulo): Memorable. Few words can describe this epic event as DJ Paulo was officially name the Greek God of Tribal Beats. The Fireworks tribute to the legendary Peter Rauhofer was one of the unexpected highlights on the trip.
  • Day 5: The Beach Party at Elias Beach (Offer Nissim): Hosted at the “Gay” beach of Mykonos might sounds great on paper but be warn of the 35 minute bus ride to the middle of no where! As amazing as it was to see Offer Nissim live, the crowded block of space was quite tiresome. There needs to be more bleachers to offer more levels and variety. Also by Day 5, we were pretty much done with anything gay!

The Men
If you think your summer body is ready…. Think again… Imagine picking the top 5% of men from every country throughout the world and dumping them on this island. The bulk of the crowd traveled from Italy and Spain, followed by a large contingency from the UK, France, and other European nations. The last 20% are made up of Americans and Brazilians. In retrospect, there was actually a low-turnout from the men of Greece, Turkey, and Middle-East. Regardless, if you want an international flavor in your bedroom, this was the place to be. Oh, and when they advertise 22,000…. They weren’t kidding!

10 Tidbits…

  1. Mykonos is a large island, so there are number of places to stay. Our recommendation is choosing something near “town” which in itself is scenic and convenient. It’s a wonderful place to walk around, wander, and get lost. In addition, there are buses in town that will take you to and back from the evening events, as well as other destinations throughout Mykonos. In addition, the people of Mykonos are extremely hospitable, which added to the charm of the trip.
  2. Boy band Menudo works at the Mykonos Airport. I kid you not…. Menudo runs the airport. And prepare for a bumpy landing on Mykonos “quaint” runway.
  3. Getting around? Motor bikes galore around tight hilly roads… Though I refused to actually drive one, I recommend finding a hot daddy to ride around town with instead. If not, there are plenty of taxi’s ready to take you around.
  4. Prepare for Couples…. If your already in a relationship (whatever form….), Mykonos is PERFECT. If your single… get ready for Threesomes!
  5. If you need a sweet little beverage, try their Sour Cherry Juices. It’s everywhere and amazing! My travel mate probably had 100.
  6. My best meal in Mykonos by far was the fresh seafood. Simple but delicious. If that’s not your scene… well… go for a Greek Salad???
  7. XLSIOR is undoubtedly one of the most well organize circuit festivals I have been to. Minus a bus fiasco at Elias Beach, everything is planned well from transportation, tickets, water…
  8. Going with a group? Good! With over 22,000 men, traveling with a group of at least 4 is a solid in my opinion. There’s so much going on the island, let alone the large parties, so traveling in numbers allows for easier splitting up.
  9. If booking flights from the US, I recommend flying into another major city in Europe such as London or Madrid, then taking an EasyJet or Vueling to Myknos. This is recommended if you prefer to not fly directly to Athens, and potentially a cheaper option.
  10. Call your hotel or resort in advance and see if they can arrange a pick-up at the airport for free. Most likely they will offer that service as waiting for a taxi at the airport was like sacrificing my head to Zeus.

Overall Individual Cost
Flight: $1,400
Party Pass: $270
Hotel (5 Nights): $700 – 900
Food/Amenities: $200 – $300
Total: Roughly $3,000

Final Say
Perhaps 5 nights was too much, even for a seasoned circuit queen, but the advantage of hosting on an amazing destination like Mykonos, there is always something for everyone to do. This trip also shed some light of how the European men party, and let me tell you…. we NYer’s still have a lot to learn!