I’ve been slowly working on this post for a week now because I’ve been very busy trying to sort out visa issues. Who knew how many papers and stamps you have to get to stay in this country? 😛 So, here it is – the recap from our time at Electric Castle Festival in Bontida (near Cluj).
When we got back from the Electric Castle festival, we were so exhausted from three days of camping and concerts. But I have to say, we had so much fun. I got to see some of my favorite bands and I think now I’ve crossed almost all of them off my list 🙂 It’s been a very good summer for music.
We got to the festival and discovered that the whole thing is basically in the middle of a corn field. Cool. We parked in a huge grassy area with a thousand other cars, unpacked, and hauled our camping stuff in. We had opted for premium camping, so that meant we had to walk almost a mile around the festival to get to our “special” entrance. We checked in and scouted out a camping spot. It was kind of difficult to find space – the official camping area had opened the night before and already the place was packed.
It didn’t take long to get set up (our tent is one of those 2-minute tents – totally awesome), and we went into the festival. We took some time exploring, getting drinks, and getting dinner.
Sigur Ros was headlining the first night, and I was really excited because I have loved this band since I heard their music in the movie Vanilla Sky. As the band begins to play their hauntingly beautiful hymns, the sky opens up and we get our first drenching of the festival. No worries, at this point we were happy to be dancing in the rain.
One of Sigur Ros’s songs:
After Sigur Ros came a dude known as Slow Magic. He basically wears an LED horse head and DJs some techno while he plays the drums over the music. He was pretty awesome.
This photo is from his concert, but I like it because you can see the crowd in the video.
You can see him traipse about in the woods here:
The next day, I opted to shower in the morning (ha ha – huge mistake). After waiting in line for 30 minutes, I finally got my five minute ice shower. It was great because it was already hot, but I wish I had known that it was so much better to shower around 5pm. There’s no wait and it’s right when the day starts to cool off so you don’t get sweaty again.
In the mornings, the showers were full of teenage girls who wanted to take 15 minute showers and then another 25 minutes to do their Kim Kardashian Coachella “festival” makeup and hair…and I’m standing over there, like, no way in hell I’m going to put anything on my face other than SPF today because it’s just going to melt off and I’m going to be wearing sunglasses anyway? What would be the point because no one would even see my face? I then realized that I am officially an old person 😛 Get off my lawn!
We spent the day chasing the shadows and avoiding the sun. We ate the most delicious doughnuts. I tried every flavor. I mean, not in one day, but over the course of the festival. Normally I don’t like the Romanian version of doughnuts, but these were verrrry close to something you might get a Dunkin’ Donuts and so I was pumped.
That night it started raining again, but we managed to see Argatu (related to the band Subcarpati). He did an awesome show, again with folk tunes mixed with techno beats. The crowd was really great and it made me really wonder why he wasn’t on the main stage. The crowd was huge; we filled the entire audience space and we were backed all the way up to the castle and the walkways. He really did a great job and I think he would’ve been great in the bigger venue.
A sample of Argatu:
I’m not sure how they decide who performs on what stage, but they really put some questionable acts on the main stage (uh, Elliphant?? Totally awful – the words to her big hit, “Spoon me, spoon me tonight, put your hands on my booty, you can’t spoon me too tight” duhh – I feel dumber just typing that out). Most of the people they had on the main stage were great, but some of them, Elliphant included, holy jeez they were not good.
Thankfully you can skip around to many different stages and places in the festival. We spent some time in the Silent Disco where there are three different DJs spinning. They give you headphones and you can switch between the DJs and hear what they are playing. It’s fun because everyone is dancing to something different, but if you take off your headphones there’s no music. Just people jumping up and down. It was one of my favorite things about the whole festival.
The following day we got a tour of the castle and the history behind it. The woman who did the tour was really informative. Banffy Castle is really old and she explained how the original structure was back in the late medieval times and how it was modified over the centuries. She even explained the more recent history with the world wars and the restoration. She pointed out some cool details in the buildings, like the tiny zodiac symbols carved under the Greek statues. I would’ve never seen those had she not mentioned them to us. I’m a big history fan, so I really enjoyed the tour.
We spent some time playing in the festival. They had a big wooden boat that rocked back and forth that was sponsored by Captain Morgan. The Captain himself gave the orders for the people to rock the boat. It was pretty fun.
I took the “Pepsi challenge” where you try two samples of drink and pick the one you like better. I tried twice and (sorry Coke) both times I picked the Pepsi. As a southern girl from Atlanta, I feel pretty guilty that I didn’t like the coke more. They gave me a fun tattoo to commemorate my betrayal.
The festival had also set up some carnival swings. They were also fun, but a little scary because the chains kind of creaked and you are pretty much trusting that they won’t break and send you flying off into oblivion.
We also jumped off the Red Bull platform. This is one of the highlights of my life. It was so scary. Possibly the scariest thing I’ve ever done. Maybe the pictures don’t show it well, but it was like jumping off the third story of a building. I’m not an adrenaline junkie and I’m terribly afraid of heights. It didn’t look so bad from the ground, but when I got up there, I had to breathe for a few minutes before I could jump. The only reason I went ahead and did it was because the platform was burning my feet and that was the only way down…
Claudiu was much braver than me. He jumped right away. Show off 😛
Unfortunately after the sun went down that night it started to rain again. And OMG did it rain. So much thunder and lightning. Apparently it rained more that night than it normally rains in a month. Thankfully, the tent did not flood. Other people had to deal with wet tents and we did not! Major thank to the camping gods. But there was massive flooding in festival. Remember, this is a flat corn field, so it turned into a mud pit. The organizers had done some things in preparation, but unfortunately they had no idea that it would rain ~so~ much and really, there’s not much they could have done. Maybe drained out the water somehow? In some parts the water was so deep it was getting in people’s rain boots.
We tried our best to avoid the shin-deep water, but we got totally muddy just the same. We listened to the Skrillex set that night from the tent. We were close enough that we could hear the music pretty well and we decided our need to be dry was greater than our need to see Skrillex on stage.
The next morning we had to leave, so we packed up our wet stuff and walked the mile back to the car. Surprise, the corn field is now a giant mud pit. Everyone is stuck. I could barely walk to the car, my shoes were getting pulled off my feet from the mud. There were gypsies there with their horse and cart towing people out for 50 lei. Thankfully, some other guys were there with their jeep and they were hauling people out for free.
I had a great time at Electric Castle. I think next year if I go, I’m going to spring for a yurt and VIP tickets so I can have a place to stand out of the rain. Maybe the organizers will have more places for people to stand (and sit) in case of bad weather next year.