For all its charm and history, Romania may still feel a little off the beaten path – at least where music festivals are concerned. But as Europe's festival scene continues to boom, more and more fans are travelling far and wide in search of good music in unique locations.
Electric Castle, gearing up for its fourth year this July, is just one of the continent's new generation of festivals that are offering something fresh, adventurous and a little more intimate.
Andi Vanca from the festival team tells us what Electric Castle is all about, and reveals the secret of securing big name artists year after year…
How would you describe the spirit of Electric Castle?
Electric Castle is a unique mind-blowing experience, and it is different from any other festival because of its unique venue, atmosphere and design – combining historical architecture with modern visual effects. Imagine that you get to live this authentic and complete festival experience in a 15th-century castle in Transylvania! Nothing can be compared with the feeling of dancing in the morning and watching the sun rise from behind it. That feeling of freedom is indescribable.
Looking back on the debut edition in 2013 – what was it like putting on the festival for the first time?
It came naturally because we're already organizing lots of events in Romania. We felt that a music festival in Romania was needed, but a festival with a strong concept. First of all we wanted to offer a real festival experience to every participant, so every detail and aspect of the festival is built around this idea.
What sorts of things have you learned from and improved on each year?
We’ve learned a lot in these years! First of all, we learned to work as a strong team by having the correct mechanisms between us. Then everything that we’ve done was to improve us as a team and the festival as an experience for the people. Because it’s always about the people. Electric Castle is about the people!
For such a young festival, you’ve had some very impressive lineups already (Fatboy Slim, The Prodigy and Rudimental last year – Sigur Ros and Paul Kalkbrenner coming up in 2016…)! What’s the secret of attracting big artists?
We have an eclectic musical lineup that breaks the boundaries between reggae music, electronic music and rock music. We want to offer a musical discovery experience for the people. Most of the names from the lineup are first timers in Romania or they are artists that were really wanted by the EC community. How do we attract big names? Well… We have a castle!
Yeah, tell us about that – it’s an amazing venue!
Banffy Castle is the biggest castle in Transylvania, situated at 30 km from Cluj-Napoca. It was built in the 15th century and it was called The Versailles of Transylvania. Unfortunately, during the communist era it was neglected and then it was used as a driving school, cooperative farm and hospital for children. It was even set on fire, during a film set. Now it is under a process of restoration and rehabilitation.
And lastly, what’s going to be new at this year’s edition? Can you give us any sneaky clues?
For this year’s edition, EC will have 6 stages and over 150 artists including Skrillex, Sigur Rós, Bring Me the Horizon, Bastille, Paul Kalkbrenner, and Dilated Peoples. During the day, we have prepared tonnes of fun like gaming competitions, fashion & fair corners, a small cinema and other very cool stuff. It will be an amazing experience!