Electric Castle Festival: A Modern Fairytale in Romania
18 Jul 2013

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I bet many of you enjoyed the Electric Forest festival this summer, or maybe even Electric Zoo. But if you’re looking for an international EDM experience, Electric Castle is the place to go! This camping music festival in the Banffy Castle outside the city of Cluj-Napoca (“Cluj”) in Romania, is sure to please. You get all the conveniences and economic advantages of raging in the glamour of a castle setting- Dracula style! Some people even opted to stay in 4 person rooms inside the castle, but they were reserved months before the festival took place so one must plan accordingly.
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In and around the castle were 4 stages- 2 of which were actually inside this reconstructed medieval castle. The main stage graced music of all genres including hip-hop, reggae funk, and even English pop! The Dance Garden on the side of the castle was my favorite, playing deep house and techno dance music.  It was also conveniently located to all vending locations. The Boom stage indoors was the smallest but best source of dub step and trap style music.  This is truly the most economical EDM festival for westerners (minus the plane ticket, of course). The beers were the equivalent of 2 US dollars and the food was equally affordable, so no need to pack heavy.

The camp ground was packed with people from all over Romania and many tourists from European countries.  I was the only American as far as I know, probably because it was the fest’s first year of establishment. But at approximately $3 to camp outside the castle, I’m sure there will be more and more tourists to come in the future.

382488_413428408771907_1767656107_nSince the campsite is right outside the stages on the castle grounds, you didn’t even have to leave your tent to hear the music… also make sure you’re ready to party for three days straight! It is very difficult to get sleep for more than 4 hours considering the music goes on until 9 in the morning and starts again at noon in the day.

Electric Castle is a source of genuine underground house, trance, and dub bass music; the vast majority of artists were unknown by me before I saw them perform. The Telepopmusik set was my favorite from the whole weekend. I also liked Feed Me, who preformed his last musical set at the festival- he is set to retire from producing to pursue his passion of audio and lighting engineering. Dub Pistols also put on a great show, and it will only be a matter of time before these up and comers start to grace our American stages. Stanton Warriors blasted their contagious beats and light show to match on the main stage, entrancing spectators until the wee hours of the morning.
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But other than the music, there were many other attractions for attendees. There was a thrift market right outside the festival doors with souvenirs, fresh fruits and vegetables, and homemade Romanian specialties. They also offered a bus from the Castle to Cluj’s sport stadium, a 40 minute bus ride for a little less than 2 US dollars! Many spectators explored the city center during the day and came back around 10pm to catch the main acts. Many spectators also went to the river- which was a short drive or twenty minute walk from the camp site- to get some relief from the blazing heat (topping over 105 degrees Fahrenheit) and scorching humidity. There were crowds of 50-100 people at the river at any point during the daytime.

The weather cooled down after about 11 pm but the energy of the crowd was just starting to heat up! The collective energy of the music and crowd peaked around 2 am, with many dancing and jumping around until the sunrise. On Sunday night there was a blue moon, and it glowed over the castle and the lake around it. For a truly unique, cultural, modern fairy tale experience forget Electric Zoo and Electric Forest…go to Electric Castle instead!

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221915_1850492101852_7425800_nThis article was written by international Sparkleberry Jessica Berdan.  If you’ve had a cool experience abroad and you’d like to share it with our readers, email SparkleberryLane@gmail.com.

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