Interview: Sebastian Negomireanu of Transylvaliens

Transylvaliens is a 5-day psychedelic arts gathering in the wild Transylvanian nature featuring Psy and Goa artists from all over the world. Before the festival itself, the crew travel to various different locations roughly once a month to meet the global “alien family” and bring the spirit of the festival closer to everyone.

I caught up with Sebastian Negomireanu, who started Transylvaliens in 2013, to find out more.

transylvaliens-dance

Could you tell me how Transylvaliens got started?

We had this dream of a festival back in 2013 after organising a series of local parties, initially under the name “Brainstorm” and later on as “Psyland”. Our wish was to go beyond the local stage and bring people from all over the world together. There was this vision to create a universal family and unite it in the heart of the beautiful and unspoiled Transylvanian nature. We focused on celebrating diversity, which is reflected in all aspects of the festival, from the participants, to the music and activities. We are all a part of a big and happy universal family and nature is our home, away from the worries and stress of urban life.

What would be your three main reasons for attending the festival?

1. The feeling of family – once you get here, you feel connected with everyone and everything. Everybody is so friendly and loving, you won’t want to leave the place.

2. The wonderful nature – Transylvania is one of the last wild and unspoiled places in Europe, with vast forests, rivers and wildlife. It’s impossible not to fall in love with the scenery and the energy of it.

3. The overall experience – we are taking care that the artists are part of a story that goes from morning until midnight, and then back until morning. Whenever you get tired, you can be a part of exciting interactive workshops and activities, or just sit down and meditate in the nature.

How do you decide which parts of the world to travel to for your “out-of-this-world” promo parties? 

We are constantly trying to expand our reach and meet new and interesting people with whom we can build long-term connections. We’ve been in a lot of places and we’ve had the pleasure of meeting amazing people everywhere, some of whom know little about Transylvania but want to find out more, and others who have already been to Romania and fell in love with our country. It’s very difficult for us to organise parties beyond the borders without local help, so it’s a joint effort. Sometimes we contact people from the communities, but most of the time they reach out to us and we just can’t wait to connect.

transylvaliens-night

How did the concept of an alien family come about?

Aliens are a metaphor for diversity; we are all different in all kinds of ways, for example different cultures, different languages, different in looks and mindsets, etc so we are all aliens for someone else. Yet, all this diversity is what makes life interesting and fun. The music is a key factor – we are united by music, so our goal is to celebrate diversity through music and dance. Though unlike the real aliens who make those crop circles, we leave no trace. Nature is part of our family so we take very good care of it by recycling, reusing and educating.

What does Transylvaliens offer, besides the music?

Amazing decorations, nature, fire shows and juggling acts. Every year we have different workshops and interactive sessions, from collective art, to meditation, to talk sessions. all of which are based on interaction. We learn from others and they learn from us. We share, we meet new people, we exchange ideas. There are also people sharing their creations, exchanging or selling their handcrafted stuff or even cooking for the others. It’s a little bit of everything. We’re trying to do this whilst keeping the prices for food and drink low, without sacrificing quality. Everyone must ENJOY their Transylvaliens experience!

What is the crowd like?

Crazy, diverse, colorful, happy, international, friendly… should I go on? 🙂 We have guests coming from all continents and and you can also meet locals from the nearby villages. Everyone is enjoying the music and art and having a good time together.

transylvaliens---fun-with-friends

Is there a way for people to get involved in this year’s festival?

Always! Our musical lineup is currently closed, but we have open calls for volunteers, art projects, workshops, market stalls and any other contribution that is interesting and in line with the festival’s vision. We have a Participate section on our website and can also be contacted through our Facebook page.

Would you like to add anything else?

Join the alien family and visit us in Transylvania for an unforgettable experience!


For more interviews with festival organisers, follow my series “Tell me about your festival” on Medium.

Composed by: Milly Day
Photos: transylvaliens.com

Doof Doof Doof! Five of the Best Festivals Down Under

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the word ‘doof’, just imagine you’re listening to loud electronic music with a heavy bass drum kick – hear it now? Doof Doof Doof! This is exactly how the term came about in the early ‘90s, when someone knocked on their neighbour’s door in Newtown Sydney and asked, “What is all this doof doof I hear?” It went on to become a popular name for bush parties in Australia, with the first commercial doof being Earthcore, which took place for the first time back in 1983. These doofs are generally held in remote rural settings and feature DJs spinning a range of electronic music, mostly Psytrance and Techno, as well as live acts, speakers, art and healing workshops. Now that winter is upon is here in the Northern hemisphere, I suggest you pack a bag and head down under to party in the sunshine at one of the doofs listed below.

rainbow

Doof #1: Earthcore
When/where it’s taking place:
Pyalong, Victoria from November 24th – 28th
Why it’s special:
It’s the original bush doof!
What to expect:
Often described as “a festival with soul”, Earthcore is also a festival for the soul, as it’s so much more than just an awesome party. Set on 1,500 acres of pristine land, adorned with mind-bending art installations, there are several villages that focus on culture, lifestyle and entertainment, where you can experience everything from yoga and meditation, to exercise classes, to massages and alternative therapies, as well as an array of unique performances. And you’ll certainly be well-nourished too, with all the food that’s on offer at the Market Food Zone, which serves up vegetarian delights, juices, smoothies, proper coffee and Chai tea. In terms of the music, Earthcore hosts DJs from all around the world across five stages and is most well-known for catering to Techno and Psytrance fans. However, in recent years, the festival organisers have expanded their roster to include artists with more varying styles, such as Drum ‘n’ Bass, Glitch and Breaks. There really is something for everybody here.
Who to see:
If you like your Techno deep, dark and driving (like me) then be sure to check Australia’s own Bass to Pain Converter on the Kinky Karnival stage. If you’re more of a Trance fan, I’d recommend seeing Bryan Kearney, John 00 Fleming and Will Atkinson and for Psytrance lovers, well, virtually every artist on the main stage will probably be to your taste!

Bass To Pain Converter on the main stage at last year’s Earthcore Festival

Doof #2: Strawberry Fields
When/where it’s taking place:
Tocumwal, New South Wales from November 17th – 20th
Why it’s special: It’s one of the more original and forward-thinking doofs. The selection of artists is on point and the atmosphere of this festival is something else.
What to expect: Just a few hours outside of Melbourne, you’ll find the small, dusty fruit-picking region of Tocumwal, where Strawberry Fields has been held annually for the past seven years. It’s a place where people come to escape the real world and completely let their inhibitions go for a few days, which isn’t hard to do in this wild wonderland. The organisers have strived to maintain the festival’s genuine sense of community through providing a platform for local and up-and-coming artists, rather than just booking big names, and creating a unique environment for showcasing their music and art. Each year, Strawberry Fields simply gets better and better; what started off as a predominantly Techno event, it now features various styles of electronic music, as well as art installations, eclectic market stalls, wizards and other entertainers, meaning there’s plenty you can do here aside from dance your socks off. This year, the festival is expanding and will almost double its number of acts and activities, plus punters can head on down a day early, so you’ll certainly get your money’s worth.
Who to see: Local artists worth seeing include Seekae, Sleep D and House of Mince. George Fitzgerald, Leftfield and Henry Saiz are amongst the bigger acts on the roster, but my personal favourites would have to be Radio Slave and Victor Ruiz.

Strawberry Fields 2015 after movie

Doof #3: Subsonic
When/where it’s taking place: Barrington Tops, New South Wales from December 2nd – 4th
Why it’s special: It’s arguably the best doof in the country- where else could you frolic in a river as the sun rises, surrounded by people in drag, while getting blasted by awesome Tech House tunes? Only at Subsonic.
What to expect: Three days of wonderfully obscure music in an equally obscure setting: Riverwood Downs Mountain Valley Resort. In these picturesque surroundings, you’ll embark on a journey of underground sounds, ranging from Reggae and Dub, to Psytrance and Techno, produced by local and international artists. Like Strawberry Fields, Subsonic focuses on community and kinship, and local DJs get a lot of love here. Join in with the fun and festive crowd and make new friends, for chances are you’ll lose your old ones in the wilderness, and there’s no phone signal here to get back in touch with them. This is the beauty of Subsonic though; it’s essential to the vibe of the festival that people branch out and connect with others, rather than staying glued to their mates. Besides, having no signal encourages festival-goers to enjoy being in the moment, rather than photographing and filming the event in a bid to impress all their friends on Snapchat. If you’re feeling a tad worse for wear at the end of the festival, you can even pay a small fee to camp for an extra night or two and bask in the rays by the river and go swimming.
Who to see: Big names include Lee Scratch Perry, Seth Troxler, Josh Wink and Ben UFO. Of the local DJs, it’s worth heading to the Pizza Lab to catch the Franchi Brothers and to the River Stage on the final day to see Simon Caldwell warm up for the closing act. The aforementioned Bass to Pain Converter will also be performing on the El Stompo stage.

A taste of Subsonic Festival

Doof #4: Rainbow Serpent
When/where it’s taking place: Lexton, Victoria from January 26th – 30th 2017
Why it’s special: Its spiritual foundations are what makes this doof stand out from the others, coupled with the fact it’s one of the few that’s remained true to its roots over the years.
What to expect: What began as a small gathering back in 1997 is now an internationally recognised music and arts festival, an explosion of colour, dance and expression, attracting people from all over the world. Rainbow Serpent takes its name from an Aboriginal “dreamtime” story, which gives great importance to this mythical creature and is the spiritual foundation of the festival, as it is all about our connection to the earth. The land upon which Rainbow Serpent takes place is the shared country of two different Aboriginal tribes: Dja Dja Wurrung and Wadawurrung, both which play an important role in the make-up of the festival. There is so much more on offer than the usual line-up of electronic music here; Rainbow Serpent gives you the chance to escape from the modern-day world and reconnect with the earth in the way that these tribes do. The Lifestyle village offers a range of activities that reflect its community spirit, such as yoga and dance classes, interactive workshops and discussion panels. Next year marks its 20th anniversary, an important milestone for the event, so expect to be taken back on the incredible journey Rainbow has made over the past couple of decades, while enjoying an unprecedented weekend of music, performances, art and activities.
Who to see: Simon Posford, who’ll be performing as Shpongle & Hallucinogen, will be headlining the festival. Germany’s Extrawelt will be making their Rainbow debut, while the likes of Perfect Stranger, Avalon and D-Nox & Beckers will be returning to follow up on their previous out of this world performances.

Rainbow Serpent: A retrospective film

Doof #5: Earth Frequency
When/where it’s taking place: Peak Crossing, Queensland from February 17th – 20th 2017
Why it’s special: It’s the most community-based doof in the country.
What to expect: Earth Frequency is more than just a festival; it’s a meeting place for people of all different backgrounds, ages and walks of life, who are brought together through their shared love of music, nature, culture and community. Like Rainbow Serpent, it began as a small Landcare party and is now one of Australia’s most significant gatherings. The aim of the festival is to break away from traditional labels and create a unique event based on creativity, education, healing and community spirit. Nurtured by its beautiful rural setting, Ivory’s Rock, Earth Frequency invites you to come together to celebrate life with music, art and other creative forms. Over the four days, you can expect to hear a solid dose of Reggae, Drum ‘n’ Bass, Dubstep, Folk, Funk and Hip-Hop, as well as the usual Techno and Psytrance, and experience visionary art, workshops and lectures. As well as all this, there is a family and kids’ space and a whole array of market stalls.
Who to see: Marcus Henriksson will be topping the Techno bill and he’ll be joined by the likes of Sensient, Desert Dwellers and Australia’s own The Herd. Other local artists include Mal Webb, Hugo & Treats, Lubdub and Formidable Vegetable Sound System.

Earth Frequency 2016

For more information on doofs in Australia, and to keep up-to-date with the latest doof news, check out Dreamland Doof’s online magazine.

Written by: Milly Day

My 3 Must-Visit Electronic Music Festivals in Europe This Summer

In my last post, I wrote about Luminosity Beach Festival, my favourite festival of 2015, which sadly I’m unable to return to this year. However, I’m planning to make up for it by attending three other awesome events, which are about as different from one another as they could be. Below are details of my must-visit electronic music festivals in Europe this summer and reasons why I think you should join me at each one.

Captured

Will Atkinson at Captured Festival 2015

1. O.Z.O.R.A
Location: Dadpuszta, Hungary
Date: August 1st – 7th
Tickets: €100 – €130

O.Z.O.R.A. Festival is one of the biggest open-air gatherings and, with its location in a lush green valley just 30km from Lake Balaton, it is the perfect place to embrace nature and music, and simply let go. The festival brings together DJs and producers of Psytrance, Goa Trance, Techno and Acid House, who will keep the audience entertained each evening through to the following afternoon on two stages – the Main Stage and Dragon’s Nest, both of which are decorated with colourful tapestries and psychedelic patterns. However, this festival does not revolve solely around music; it’s about bringing people together to share knowledge, ideas and experiences. There are also daily yoga sessions and a variety of workshops on everything from alternative massage therapies to batik. Sounds a bit like a playground for adults, no?

Why it’s in my top 3

I love the idea of a week-long outdoor party, plus I’m just so intrigued, as I keep being told there are no words to describe Ozora; you simply have to go to find out what all the fuss is about. Looks like I’ll have to get my hands on a ticket then!

What to expect

The banner greeting visitors at the festival site reading “Welcome to paradise!” should give a pretty good indication of what the festival is like.

Artist I most want to see

Progressive Techno duo Nanoplex, not only because my good friend Chris Williams makes up one half, but also because I love their sound.

Useful links

Ozora website
Facebook event page
View full line-up
Buy tickets

2. Captured
Location: Benimussa Park, Ibiza.
Date: September 11th
Tickets: €39.50 – €65

Captured Festival is run by Driftwood Ibiza, the guys who put on the fantastic Trance boat parties and Sunk nights at Vista Club, but this takes place in a rather more unusual setting: an abandoned zoo. I was lucky enough to be able to go to Captured last year, and it certainly did not disappoint. This year, the line-up is even more spectacular and, with three arenas featuring laser shows, visuals, dancers and even magicians (say whaaat) I can guarantee it will be just as good, if not better. On the Main Stage, you’ve got the big names playing Future Trance and Progressive, whilst the DJs at the Seal Pit will be spinning vinyl only (expect to hear some true classics). 2016 also sees the introduction of the Animal Hospital, where some of the best Hard Dance acts will take to the decks, so if you like your beats a little more pounding, then this is the place to be! As well as these arenas, the venue is home to an open air pool, several chill-out areas, a massage area and a string of food and merchandise stalls- you can’t ask for much more than that.

Why it’s in my top 3

It’s Ibiza’s only Trance festival and I’m a Trance nut, so I couldn’t possibly head to the White Isle without paying a visit to this one! Also, who can say no to a festival held in a zoo?!

What to expect

Euphoric Trance music, friendly faces (most of which will be adorned with animal themed face paints) and the vibe of a huge festival combined with the intimacy of a much smaller one. Oh, and plenty of sunshine of course 🙂

Artist I most want to see

Menno de Jong. He played at Captured last year and stole the show, in my opinion.

More information

Captured website
Facebook event page
View full line-up
Buy tickets

3. Sunfall
Location: Brockwell Park, London.
Date: July 9th
Tickets: £50 – £62.50

Sunfall is being brought to the UK for the first time this year by the team behind Outlook and Dimensions Festivals, who have joined forces with three London clubs – Phonox, The Nest and XOYO – to create a unique event that reflects London’s eclectic music scene. There are two parts to this festival; a daytime rave in Brockwell Park, and several after parties with different themes, with one ticket granting you access to both the main event and an after party of your choice (I’ve gone for Dimensions with Ryan Elliott and Joy Orbison). The best bit about Sunfall is that, unlike all other London festivals, there is no curfew, meaning you can keep the party going till the wee hours of the morning. The festival programmer, whose name is Andy Peyton, said the following: “Our background is in London clubbing, we understand the importance of great sound and longer sets. With Sunfall we wanted to bring that attention to detail to the British summer festival we know and love. Our day-to-night concept allows us to marry these two cultures.” Cheers Andy!

Why it’s in my top 3

It’s a brand new festival and I’m always up for trying something new, plus I like the concept of having one main event and lots of after parties. I’m a sucker for an after party, as I don’t appear to have a stop button!

What to expect

A wide range of electronic music performances, from House and Techno, to Dubstep and Drum ‘n’ Bass, by both renowned artists and more underground DJs.

Artist I most want to see

It would have to be Ben Klock, as I saw him play at Industrial Copera in Granada and he absolutely blew me away. After four hours of relentless stomping, I could no longer feel my feet.

Useful links

Sunfall website
Facebook event page
View full line-up
Get tickets

I’ll be writing reviews of each of these festivals too, so stay tuned!

Written by: Milly Day