Electric Castle 2015 ReviewShould you feel sorry for not coming? Was it perfect? Absolutely YesNot.
The ground was shaking, despite the mud trying to absorb it, hands were clapping and lasers were shooting through the sky as Romania was dancing in a state of transcendence on the jog of a CDJ.
Yes, it was the third edition of Electric Castle Festival, held between 25 – 28th of June on the mighty grounds of the Bontida Castle. I was there for the third time and finally, I think I might just have the required know how to tell you if it was any good. Why do I say that? Well, because the first time I was there in 2013, I had very little expertize about festivals, and also Electric Castle, just like I, was a newbie. In 2013 I wrote a short blogpost about that experience which was no more than an uncontrolled, written outburst of "OMFG, that was bleed - *ukin' – tastic". The second year I have been working more than one should during the event, so I did a brief review about what I've stumbled upon running around plugging in and out tons of wires. Finally, this year turned out to be a bit more relaxed so I almost had the time to check out everything.
Okay, so everybody got in with their not to fancy bracelets, but they were unable to drink or eat on the festivals grounds, since it took hours to make new accountless bank card system work. The bar where I was hanging out, only got a functioning card system by 8-9 PM. Luckily the residents of the village have boosted up their stocks, so the crowds were able to drink on the streets that have been turned into the hallway of the festival. The rozzers turned a blind eye, so the "backup plan" worked out just fine. Before ripping someone's had for this misery, considering that the payments systems were malfunctioning all the time at random places, at least the festival didn't produce extra plastic waste by using tokens. I hope the cards we turned back will be put to good use.
When it came to visual delights, it really did some serious karate. This year the main stage was bigger better looking and supposedly better sounding than ever, but was it? It truly was bigger and it when it came to visual delights, it really did some serious karate. But the sound, well, that hardly blew anyone's mind. There was some sort of static noise all the time and after the stage has been rebuilt in a few hours for Rudimental things went haywire. There was also another thing, that wasn't a straight on mistake, but at least for me, was hugely annoying. The Roots stage was playing reggae and reggae jungle all the time, and that is absolutely okay, but the location of the stage and the volume drove me crazy. It filled half of the festivals territory with Jamaican vibes. You wanted to chill out somewhere hidden in the bushes or anything that doesn't include jamming to stoned Rastafari vibes? No way!!! In order to escape that noise you had a couple of options like using earplugs, listening to chilled vibes on your high quality headphones, or you had the option grab a sharp shovel in order to deal with the roots for once and all. Jokes aside, it was really-really annoying after a while. After this experience I won't listen to anything that reminds me of that noise for quite a while.
As you were running from the roots, all of a sudden you've found yourself at the Redbull Stage having the time of your lifetime. To continue where I left off, the sound-system at Redbull was simply mind-blowingly freaking awesome. Some say Funktion One is overrated and overpriced, but one thing is sure. It was way superior to any other sound-system there. It wasn't too loud, even I, who walks around with earplugs all the time at loud places, have removed the damn plugs. Maybe if you stood in the first line right in the front of the speakers for a day, you had the chance to get tinnitus. In the meantime you didn't had to shout in no one's ears to speak and stuff. Please Boiler events, go full Funktion One next year.
The good news is the sound-system wasn't the only positive thing at the Redbull Stage. It featured some performers, who in my shady subjective eyes were a hell of a lot more time worthy than The Prodigy, Netsky, and Cat Empire combined. Flight Facilities did the best show, not to mention other guys like James Zabiela, Aparat DJ Set, Siriusmodeselektor, Maya Jane Coles, Ellen Allien and more. Despite not having the fanciest sound-system "The Mill" hosted artists such as Synkro, Eskimo, Ishome and Evil Nine. Naturally there was good music at other stages as well, like the "Booha Mansion" and "The Stables" becoming the stronghold for some really talented local DJ's. Only for me, these weren't particularly interesting, since I've already heard the majority of these guys and I've also got a slight Drum and Bass overdose. Don't get me wrong, I like DnB, but it was a bit too much, like when you just simply can't stop eating you grandma's meals and all of a sudden you end up with a headache and a nausea.
But even if you were dizzy as a result of constant 170 beating, you felt totally safe. I feared that the increase in size will mean the appearance of "you shall not enter this place" kind of people, but boy I was glad for being so wrong. Every time I looked around I felt safe, and again I can tell that I didn't see a single fight or any other act of violence apart from the overly helpful guy who tried to convince you to drink his booze because you were "looking stiff". There were people walking their teddy bears, while others were offering money to tell them your story. The security presence had also improved compared to the previous years. Their numbers have increased and they were also wearing outfits that made them stick out. In the previous years all you saw was a few though looking guys in jeans and farmer jackets standing in the front of the scene. I guess at festivals it's better to show off with power, even if it wasn't necessary. Better be safe than sorry.
Also, one was able to find tons and tons of activities and hidden spots with God knows what kind of interesting stuff to do, but I simply didn't had the power and the time to cover it all. The crew behind the event is one of the most experienced one in the country and that became crystal during the event. They were taking insignificant bloggers like me to private interviews, they were vacuuming mud and responding to anyone's stupid questions with a smile on their face and a warm tone, even if they slept 6 hours in a week and deep down their mind, were willing to nuke the castle. At least the explosion would had dried up the mud and blew away the clouds. It would be a huge mistake to blame anyone blindly for the bad weather and its consequences, since Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim took all the responsibility during the press conference for bringing the bad weather from Great Britain to Transylvania with him. At least we all have a couple of great stories with the mud and tons and tons of hilarious memes.
Electric Castle took the steps to grow further and so far it didn't confirmed my biggest fears, and thanks to all the beautiful people who were raving there, the magic didn't fade away. I have my fingers crossed for that magic to stay. Of course, as I've mentioned there were a few problems, but did anyone see a child growing up without smoking pot or having sex in the campus toilette?
Sorry for the long post. Here's a free track.
Written by: Kado
Photo credits: Sándor Bereczky, Vlad Cupsa, David Vizaknai, Gicu Boboc, Vlad Gabriel, Adriana Savastre