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Good Vibrations - Epic water fight
Split into two teams, over 120 people gathered at Parc Ciutadella to fight it out with water pistols. There was no real way of distinguishing a winner but neither side seemed toobothered.
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Good Vibrations - Welcoming Tourists
Arriving in a new city can make some people feel uneasy, what with the unfamiliar surroundings and not knowing what kind of atmosphere you’re entering into. This inspired the group to greet tourists with ‘Welcome’ signs, free sweets, maps and a bright smile as they got off the Aerobus in Plaça Catalunya.
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Good Vibrations - Give me a hug
Peter stood in the middle of a busy square, blindfolded and with a sign at his feet saying “Do you trust me? Give me a hug.” The idea was to test whether the public were able to trust someone they had never previously met. While many hesitated at the beginning, after the first person broke the ice, many others felt at ease to follow suit.
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Good Vibrations - Pop-up Picnic
More than 80 Good Vibers arrived in formal clothing at the busy Plaça del Sol for a surprise picnic on a Saturday night, to share food, drink and conversation and invited membersof the public to join in.
If you unexpectedly find yourself swarmed by an eccentrically clothed group desperate to give you free lemonade or in the middle of a night-time picnic where everyone is wearing their best outfits, don’t be alarmed. You have, happily for you, stumbled across one of Barcelona’s ‘Good Vibrations’ initiatives, which aims to bring joy to those who dare to take part.
Our default mental state tends to focus mainly on our routine daily tasks, which rarely allow us to pause and take in moments of magic and wonder going on around us. Along with the difficult times that Barcelona is currently facing as Spain’s economy declines, affecting many industries and employment, it is becoming harder to find reasons to be cheerful.
Good Vibrations Barcelona (GVB) is a movement that started just over a year ago whose main purpose is to spread happiness and positivity in the community. A simple concept perhaps, but a daunting task in such a diverse and populous city. However, by focusing on the brighter side of things and with their high spirits and unique social experiments, they are managing to alleviate some of the tension in the air.
The group is the brainchild of Peter Sharp, a highly energised free spirit who loves nothing more than to break the boundaries of the perceived norm and to shake up the public’s robotic lifestyle. Having organised house parties and events from a young age in his native Australia, followed by a successful spell as a DJ, Peter arrived in Barcelona with the aim of continuing to spread positivity. “I have been organising parties and bringing my friends together since I was 13. When I came here I was looking for a way to be all that I could be in my everyday life. I noticed a large amount of restrictive energy in society—people losing jobs, economy going down. So, along with my team, we came up with the concept of sharing positivity and energy to make changes.”
The core of this small yet committed team consists of around 15 of Peter’s close acquaintances who plan, formulate and execute each stunt. They all see themselves as people of the world, a group where kindness and understanding are of far greater significance than race, religion or nationality.
“We are global citizens,” says Peter. “We do not judge others by their place of birth, religion, profession, language. We look for and value quality human characteristics—such as [the ability] to express compassion, empathy and love—as of far greater importance.”
Peter believes that setting a good example with actions has a much bigger impact than words. “We don’t just talk about being the people we want in the world, we take actions that reflect being the people who we want in the world. We re-centre our focus on the humanistic things that bring us feelings of happiness, connectedness, love, empathy, trust, respect and compassion.”
The social experiments take place once a month and tend to vary in style; the concept can be as simple as the ‘Cookie Flashmob’, where the group took to the streets with a plate of biscuits to give out to the public in exchange for a positive deed such as giving a hug, telling a joke or doing a little dance. Then there are the more elaborate stunts, such as October’s ‘Pop-up Picnic’: the crew gathered in Plaça del Sol one evening dressed in their best attire, laid out tablecloths and invited members of the public to join in. Various surprises were brought in throughout the night including a mini pyrotechnic show as well as a performance by a professional dance group. Regardless of the magnitude of each event, the core characteristics remain the same.
There are always a fair number of ‘Good Vibers’ capturing the vital moments of their activities on camera; while the emotion of the events has an instant impact on those taking part, it is crucial for the purpose of the movement to be able to share their exploits with the world via their social media channels, as it plays a pivotal role in spreading inspiration beyond just Barcelona.
Already, people from various parts of the world have got in contact with the group to ask if they could replicate some of GVB’s experiments, requests to which they gleefully acceded. Curious experimentalists from Poland and Austria who attended an event while in Barcelona were eager to see the effect it would have in their homelands, while friends from as far away as Venezuela have been getting in on the action.
Most young professionals are striving to come up with the next big business that will springboard them to financial security but, for Peter, fulfillment is not measured in currency. “The key to making a lasting and meaningful change in the world will come from mutual love, a connection people can share on a far deeper level. I think we all have the ability to feel happiness but we are lacking the platforms to find it. It is like buying a car to find happiness. Of course, you may feel happy for a moment but it is not the deep feeling.”
There are no sponsors, investors, admission fees or merchandise; it is a collective approach where each community member offers their own skills to the cause and are repaid with trust and friendship. Those are the values that the group was built on and they intend to remain the same. Peter believes that, as well as having fun with the group and creating lasting memories, “we are all working towards liberating the human spirit. Together we are removing the chains of unrealistic expectation and are allowing the more organic and honest inner selves to shine.”
To see the Good Vibers in action, keep up with their activities and even participate in future experiments, check out their Facebook page as well as their YouTube channel, both under the name ‘Good Vibrations Barcelona’.