Electric Castle may well be the most interesting music festival you’ve never heard of. Located 45 minutes from Cluj-Napoca in the Romanian countryside, each year it welcomes thousands of punters to their beautiful festival site which is build around the renovated 13th Century Bánffy Castle.
It’s basically the Romanian version of Secret Garden Party or Bestival, with loads of hidden areas and festival secrets just waiting to be discovered. Where else could you find an ice skating rink, a castle full of art installations and a beach all within a 10 minute walk of each other?
And it doesn’t slack on the musical offerings, either, with the line-up this year featuring big hitters Florence + the Machine and Bring Me The Horizon, as well as Tommy Cash, Sofi Tukker and The Vaccines, and a killer schedule of DJs so you could keep dancing until 6am.
Want to know more? Well here’s what went down at this year’s Electric Castle festival.
1The New Media Castle
Inside Bánffy Castle you could experience a host of art installations, all of which used light in a different way to create a unique immersive experience for the festival punters.
2Do it for the ‘gram
Tons of attendees queued up to snap a pic in front of Bánffy Castle and the Electric Castle sign.
The entire festival site was your snap happy pal’s dream.
“It’s been a few years, we’ve missed you, Romania!” frontman Justin Young told the crowd midway through The Vaccines’ Friday evening set, before adding: “some of us have sore heads this morning, this afternoon or whatever time it is right now. We had fun last night in your beautiful country!” Hangovers or not, the band still put on a killer set on the festival’s main stage. Blasting through an array of old favourites like ‘Teenage Icon’ and ‘Wetsuit’, as well as new, unreleased tune ‘Let’s Jump Off The Top’.
5Florence + the Machine
Friday night headliners Florence + the Machine charmed the thousands of punters watching them. With a tight set of new favourites and old hits, some huge sing-a-long choruses and a moment of phone banishing, it’s a truly breathtaking show.
Electronic duo Sofi Tukker brought their hybrid DJ show to Romania for their first performance after several months off, due to guitarist/vocalist Sophie Hawley-Weld breaking her foot. No mishaps here, thankfully.
“I wanna thank… fucking no one! Just me, because I’m the fucking shit!” Tommy Cash told the crowd just before the end of his set. And given the response he’s got during his hour show from the thousands of punters crammed into the Hangar, it’s hard to disagree. The brilliantly bizarre Estonian rapper put on a weird and wonderful show, featuring a career spanning set list and ton of outlandish (and often x-rated) visuals.
8Fun in the forest
In between the music attendees could explore the gigantic festival site, that includes loads of gorgeous woodland areas.
9Get your skates on
At what other festival could you find an ice skating rink in the centre of the site?
10Tipi, or to not tipi
Name a better place to grab a drink with your mates than a tipi at a music festival. Thought so.
11The Royal Wheel
Plonked in the middle of the site was the huge royal wheel, from which you could see all the festival’s main attractions and beyond.
12Talk to God
And if you did have an existential crisis at any point during the weekend, there was a direct line to God available.
Loredana is Romanian pop royalty and it showed during her set. As she strutted around the festival’s mainstage, she received a hero’s welcome. Fans of all ages turned up for the afternoon slot, and at one point huge portions of the crowd all hold hands and dance in circles along to the music (with Loredana at the centre).
Nils Frahm’s stunning ambient sounds were a welcome early evening respite, before a night of drum and base and debauchery.
15While She Sleeps
From the get go fans launched themselves into the crowd for a quick surf during While She Sleeps set.
16While She Sleeps
The Shefield metalcore band opened their volcanic Electric Castle show with ‘You Are We’, and over the next hour blasted through a collection of their own tunes, and a wicked Linkin Park cover.
17Bring Me The Horizon
Saturday headliners brought Bring Me brought their bombastic stage show to Electric Castle, complete with manic dancers, flame throwers and somer seriously trippy visuals.
18Bring Me The Horizon
Throughout the show Oli egged on the crowd to create huge swirling circle pits. “You know what circle pits are in Romania?” he asks at one point, “well let’s see some then!” The crowd obviously oblige.
Lemaitre are a band made for the festival stages. Their own brand of glorious indietronica never sounds better than when heard with a pint in hand, with your pals in a field. And their Electric Castle show was no exception. Blitzing through a set of bubbling house-tinged bops (before finishing with the one-two punch of ‘Big’ and ‘Closer’), their performance was an absolute treat.