Like Boiler Room, Cercle started inside an apartment when founder, Derek Barbolla, live-streamed his friend’s DJ set in his living room. The live stream was done just for fun, but it didn’t last long because of the most common thing that can happen to disrupt a bunch of people having fun in an apartment – the neighbours.
That is when Derek Barbolla decided to take his party outdoors, and Cercle came to life. Starting with live streaming artists’ sets from nightclubs, he has now taken Cercle to Hills, Mountains, Salt Pans, Hot Air Balloons, Forts, Palaces, The Pyramids of Giza, isolated islands, and every landscape that goes beyond human expectation. By doing this, Cercle has redefined the live music experience in just under 5 years since its inception.
Stepping into their 6th year and having produced over 100 shows, we take a look at some spectacular sets delivered by Cercle that bring culture, history, and art together.
BEN BÖHMER ABOVE CAPPADOCIA, TURKEY
Starting with the best and when German producer Ben Böhmer delivered an utterly insane performance from a hot air balloon above Cappadocia, a region known for its remarkable setting that consists of cave dwellings, stunning rock formations and of course, the hot air balloons that go up in the sky every morning. The pandemic didn’t stop Cercle from pulling off the spectacular and Ben Böhmer supplied the goods with a set full of rhythm, soul, depth and warm melodies.
FKJ (FRENCH KIWI JUICE) AT SALAR DE UYUNI, BOLIVIA
When we talked about Cercle’s team picking locations beyond ordinary human imagination, this is what we meant. Situated in Potosí in the southwest of Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat that is spread over 10,000 square kilometres. For doing the unthinkable, Cercle invited talented multi-instrumentalist French Kiwi Juice for a live performance in the middle of the salt flat.
Like we would expect from the Frenchman, he brought his sax, guitar and keyboard along with his dulcet vocals for a sensual, laid-back performance which felt like it is taking place in the air. Literally.
ARTBAT AT BONDINHO PÃO DE AÇÚCAR IN RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
Next up is the thumping performance laid down by Ukrainian giants ARTBAT with a DJ set full of Melodic Techno and Deep House bangers on top of the Pão de Açúcar which means Sugarloaf Mountain in Portuguese because of its peculiar shape of concentrated refined loaf sugar. You can also see glimpses of the ‘Christ the Redeemer’ statue in the distance while enjoying the performance.
BORIS BREJCHA AT GRAND PALAIS IN PARIS, FRANCE
Another great location and another great performance courtesy German ‘High-Tech Minimal’ phenomenon, Boris Brejcha. Held at the Grand Palais des Champs-Élysées in Paris which is often described as a ‘monument dedicated to the glory of French art’ saw the Boris Brejcha tear up the place with a soul-piercing set by dropping his signature Minimal Techno heaters while having his famous Venetian carnival mask on.
BLACK COFFEE AT SALLE WAGRAM IN PARIS, FRANCE
This list would have been hollow without the dazzling set from Zimbabwean DJ Black Coffee who brought skill, soul, power, and beauty into a single set by playing his brand of home-brewed but fresh and future-focused Afro House. Cercle conducted this performance at the Salle Wagram auditorium in Paris which is known to be France’s oldest ballroom.
You could argue with a number sets that didn’t make the list, but that’s the beauty of Cercle; every set is powerful and magical in its own right, and Cercle plan to take this tradition ahead by holding a festival inside a Space Museum in 2022. So keep your eyes peeled.