SocialFam ‘5 minutes’ with This Must Be The Place
This Must Be The Place is a new venue run by Jo and Duncan and based one hour outside of Barcelona. It is a stunning masia that will host many events to come! We managed to grab Duncan to find out more.
We have done a bit of research and see that you guys relocated from our area of South London!! Where in the UK are you guys from exactly?
Well we had both been living in south London's Herne Hill and Brixton areas for many years. And loved it there! We actually met each other at a party in Dalston (east London) but quickly discovered that not only did we live opposite each other (literally!) in Herne Hill, but that we had also grown up in the same town, Surbiton, just outside London in Surrey. It was clearly meant to be! (& it also makes trips home to see our families a lot easier!)
I see that you both had pretty major careers in film and music (festivals), please tell us more and has that helped you get to this point of hosting ‘productions’ at your masia.
Jo’s background is in film production and her film credits include the Woody Allen film ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’. She previously lived in Barcelona for 10 years between 1998 and 2008, speaks fluent Spanish and is also pretty nifty at Catalan. Her production, language and people skills have helped us immensely, and her ability to compose stunning beauty from flowers and plants adds a floral finishing touch to almost everything we do.
My background is in the festival and music industry where I was a creative producer at the UK’s multi-award winning Bestival and Camp Bestival music festivals, as well as its sister record label Sunday Best, from 2002 until 2012. I also DJ as one half of the Sombrero Sound System (albeit very occasionally nowadays), and speak a slightly confusing mix of Spanish and Catalan, badly, with a few hand gestures thrown in for good measure. I like to think that I have a good eye for layout and design, I can be almost obsessive about the finer details and I hopefully have sufficient business savvy to transform our ridiculous dream into a reality. And I’ve thrown the odd party in my time too ;)
As you are new on the scene and its pretty fresh in the mind, we would love to know the challenges you have faced during the process of starting a business here Barcelona?
Primarily the challenge was getting to know, and understand, the bureaucracy there is here in Spain. This started almost immediately after we arrived here in June 2016, on a personal level, with trying to obtain our NIEs (National ID numbers). You need an appointment. There are no appointments available. Computer says no. And without a NIE we were initially unable to rent a property or buy a car. But once you accept that it is not going to be easy (and that you have to disable your security settings to access any government website) you take a deep breath and try to go with the flow. We were also new to running our own business, and bringing up a small child, both steep learning curves in themselves - but we amassed a great team of friendly lawyers, accountants, architects and builders that spoke just enough English for us to be able to communicate effectively, and just kept our heads down and things moving forward. We've been blessed though to find our dream home near the lovely town of Moià where we've received an enormous amount of help and goodwill, and tried our very best to return that in kind. That goes a long way!
We saw also Jo that you speak Catalan. That is really impressive even for us fluent Castellano speakers. Was that a conscious decision knowing that you were going to start a business and have a family here in Catalunya?
Jo has an amazing natural ability for languages. Her Castellano is so fluent that most people think she is Spanish and are surprised how good her English is! Her spoken Catalan came on quite recently, and quickly - little by little Jo soon found the confidence to start replying to people in Catalan and i think surprised herself with how much she actually knew! She has set the bar so high that I can barely see it.
So what is the future for This Must Be The Place?
Well we only launched in spring this year, and we have been focusing on wedding and event bookings for 2019 - which has been going really well! It has been amazing to see the reactions from couples (& caterers) when they come to visit the venue - so many have confirmed a booking on the spot! And there have been tears of joy all round. So the future is love - love is in the air!
View their website here and their Instagram here