Each year, more and more music festivals seem to emerge across Europe, with Western Europe now starting to resemble a festival battlefield, where the big events play host to the same artists year in, year out and many smaller ones do not survive. Move across to the East though, as it’s a different story – all sorts of unique and quirky festivals can be found here, and they’re almost always located somewhere spectacularly beautiful with just the right balance of big names and up-and-coming acts. It is over this side of the continent that you’re more likely to find adventruous, open-minded souls, who really care about the music. Below are three of my recommendations for anyone planning to visit a festival in Eastern Europe this summer.
1) Electric Castle – Romania
When is it? July 12th – 17th
What makes it so wonderful? How many festivals do you know that take place in a castle? EC, which is set in Banffy Castle in Transylvania, provides the ultimate backdrop for boogieing. As well as an eclectic lineup, featuring major names and smaller, more underground artists, there’s a whole array of surprises concealed within the castle’s walls, like secret party areas and hidden hammocks. Now in its fifth year, Electric Castle has established itself as Romania’s biggest electronic music festival and is definitely worth making the journey over to its capital for.
Who should I see? Because I’m all about the Techno, I’m most looking forward to seeing Moderat and Francesca Lombardo, but I also like the Deep House artists on the lineup, which include Dixon, Âme and Maceo Plex. Then of course there are the more mainstream acts like Deadmau5 who, whether you love him or hate him, always puts on a pretty good show and Trance legend, Paul Van Dyk.
2) Into the Valley – Estonia
When is it? June 29th – July 2nd
What makes it so wonderful? Into The Valley’s organisers had the idea of using strange places to host their festival, with one taking place in a Swedish industrial park, another in a fort in Cape Town and now, for the first time, it’s going to be held in a limestone quarry and former prison in Estonia (that’s about as strange as it gets!). However, despite the size of these sites, Into The Valley’s atmosphere is cosy and intimate, and it has a real family feel to it. In terms of the music, you can expect to see world class House and Techno acts, underground DJs and local heroes work their magic on an impressive sound system. Although the festival is only in its third edition, it has already seen the likes of Richie Hawtin, Tale of Us, Nina Kraviz and other big names grace the stage.
Who should I see? My picks would be Jeff Mills for thumping basslines, Marcel Dettman for Berlin-style Techno and Scuba because he’s just all-round awesome.
3) Meadows in the Mountains – Bulgaria
When is it? June 9th – 11th
What makes it so wonderful? Meadows in the Mountains prides itself on on its beautiful natural surroundings and the native community that inhabits the area. Local residents host attendees in the Rhodopian Mountains, undoubtedly one of the most spectacular festival locations in the world, and the organisers strive to use the festival to promote green and sustainable methods; everything from the stages to the shacks are sustainably sourced from the bordering forests, and composting toilets and solar showers are constructed on site. The other special thing about MITM is its strong sense of community and the friendly people that return year after year to escape the chaos of city life. It is for these reasons that so many people cherish this small festival, rather than an extensive lineup of global superstars. As well as nature, music, sunshine and smiley faces, you can enjoy holistic and spiritual workshops that take place over the course of the weekend.
Who should I see? As I mentioned before, MITM is not about big names, and the artists that play tend to be unsigned, underground musicians from Europe. The 2017 lineup is yet to be announced, but will be soon, so watch this space!
Written by: Milly Day