500 Years Ago
Once upon a time, in the mysterious land called Transylvania, there was a young girl living in a beautiful castle. One day, she fell in love with a foreigner, but their relationship was strictly forbidden at the Palace. To get to her lover she had to seduce the stable boy who would let her sneak outside through a secret tunnel. But the stable boy fall in love with her so she had to kill him by stabbing his heart.
This is one of the many legends of the Banffy Castle, once called the Versailles of Transylvania. The people say that since then (the 15th century) the ghost of the broken/stabbed heart boy is wondering in the walls of the castle. Banffy is the biggest castle in Transylvania and it has been desecrated during the WWII by the German troops.
The construction of Banffy Castle began in 1473 and the most visible styles are the Renaissance and the Baroque. The building was seriously damage in the Second World War and since then the castle was “moved” from one foster family to another. One of its adoptive parent is Charles, the Prince of Wales himself, who was really impressed by the remains of the castle, but mostly by a letter he received from the English architect, David Baxter. Baxter is another foreigner savior who truly believes the Banffy Castle can be called again the Versailles of Transylvania.
Back to the Future
Last year a group of young people started a new phenomenon between its walls and it was called The Electric Castle Festival. Morcheeba, Dub Pistols or Telepopmusik were giving some really good live shows, no matter if it was extremely sunny or rainy as in Cherrapunji. 25.000 people were expected at the first edition, but the overwhelming number of 32.000 participants wasn’t a big surprise to anyone. It was just a maximum success to the organisers.
From Alpha to Omega, there was an outstanding crew of people who did the best planning ever seen in any Romanian festival. This year, they aimed to double their target. They were expecting 60.000 people to pass the gates. Well, surprise, surprise! Almost 80.000 people had been “electrified” at Banffy Castle between 19th and 21st of June 2014.
It is said that in Romania there are low standards when it comes to living. Well, let me tell you something for sure: there are really high standards for partying! Starting from birthday parties to big festivals, when it comes to celebrating, everyone is having the time of his life, as they all say on social media channels. This year, Electric Castle kept its 3 main promises to the people: it was bigger, stronger and better. With this the team has succeeded to break some records, therefore it has become the biggest music festival in Romania.
7 Centuries Old Land
The Electric Castle Festival takes place 30 kilometers far of one of the greatest cities in Romania, Cluj-Napoca – which is also the unofficial capital of the historical province of Transylvania. The Castle is in Bontida, a 700 years old village with 5.000 people living the history that is still written here. This is one of the places where you can easily experience the lifestyle traditional low and middle classes of Romanians have. They cultivate their own vegetables and raise animals to provide themselves the food. You will simply fall in love with their kindness especially if you are a foreigner. It’s like they believe that foreigners have the chance to make their lives better. Expecting saviors! 🙂
Made in Romania
Going to festivals all over the world gives you so many different experiences. All kinds of people transform themselves in ways you can’t imagine when you see them wearing suits or school uniforms. Alcohol and drugs do most of the job, but while at Roskilde Festival everyone is allowed to bring tons of drinks and at Glastonbury ambulances are not enough for the drugs’ victims, in Romania people are just happy. They do drink, but the drinks are bought inside the gates of the castle and the token system is really smart. At Electric Castle Festival everything is traded for tokens. The equivalent for a beer is 1 token which is 10 Danish Krone. Needless to say this price is heavenly for those who come from Denmark, UK, Australia or Canada. When it comes to the food, well here you have a whole fusion of kitchens. Whether you are up for grill, soup, pizza, fries and soups, you also can go for raw and vegan or simply have delicious traditional Romanian dishes! Weather doesn’t matter, there will always be people dancing, laughing and having the time of their lives. Now, you might think they are young and eager. Well so they might be, but a whole lot more are pretty close to the middle age and still acting like there is no tomorrow! Electric Castle might have been the place and time for many to fall in love and conceive their first kids. That’s simply beautiful. The music and the whole karma worked that out, I am sure.
The camping was filled with more than 11.000 people and that made it the biggest camping ever made in Romania. Here you could’ve seen the Romanian’s creativity on building useful devices to make themselves little homes of canvas. A very peaceful and colorful neighborhood was built from the first day! Another playground was the skate park and the 100 meter long dirt bike track where the fashionistas cheered the flying cool boys! The Greener concept made everyone collect plastic cans to win a bike in a competition. Or just beers. It is pretty annoying and interesting to see people collecting garbage day and night around you.
4 Days, 5 Stages & 130 Artists
Either you are an electronic music fan or not, this year Electric Castle made a very elegant choice of artists and playlists. A large international line up had the British quality music of Dub Pistols who are officially the residents of this festival, Bonobo and his lovely singer Szjerdene or Wilkinson who’s massive hit “Afterglow” was the festival’s anthem. From South Africa, the hip-hop/rave group, Die Antwoord, gave Romanians a lesson of how to break more rules (if that’s even possible). The main USA representatives were Akua Naru and Thievery Corporation who gave everyone a memorable show. They sure love to mix different cultures and sounds. 130 artists from more than 10 countries went up on the 5 stages and share their passion for music with the electric people. Romania has some great names when it comes to electronic music and one of them just created the biggest Disco Modern show at the Electric Castle Festival: DJ Shiver.
Jef, UK: “The suspense is terrible! I hope it will last!!” (this is a quote from Oscar Wilde – which makes it even better for a vox pop)
Leya, China: “Still can’t believe I am in Romania! This is amazing!”
Lars, Denmark: “Well I have to say it is pretty amazing. I’ve been to Roskilde many times, but here the vibes are so different. People are so nice and happy all the time! I really feel great!”
Morgan, Australia: “Gotta say, Transylvania is a helluva land! No vampires, but this venue is awesome! Good job, Dracula!”
Barry Ashworth, Dub Pistols: “You see this smile? I just can’t take it off my face! It is amazing!”
Andi Vanca, PR Electric Castle Festival: “We have an idea about the next year edition and it’s definitely gonna be bigger, we want to extend the surface of the festival, maybe there will be another stage and also greater artists! Electric Castle is indeed an experience and this is what we want it to be: a complete experience that you can have at a festival with a unique concept in Romania! And you have to live it at least once, because after that it will make you want even more!”
Pretty nice combination of electronic sounds between the ruins of a legendary castle, don’t you think so? Well, that’s one of the reasons that made Electric Castle simply legendary. This year officially the biggest electronic music festival in Romania.
Well, Romania, you sure do have your legends and now with this festival some of them brought to life. Many people say they have actually seen the ghost of the stable boy dancing at the Stables Stage. True or not, everyone who went at the Electric Castle Festival had the greatest time and they will probably live happily ever after until next year!
Written by: Viorela Metesan