The last days of summer have become more and more a trend in the festival world. There are some festivals that brag with entertaining you in this time frame. Electric Picnic in Ireland has become a good example of such a festival. But hey, the Romanian festival market is beginning a counterpart with the first edition of Fall in Love festival. Taking place on the domain of Mogosoaia Palace, just outside of Bucharest, a space abundant with classic Romanian architecture, the festival also had the advantage of beautiful weather and, altogether, in theory, that should have been a good magnet for a lot of people to show up.
With great expectations, full of good vibes, a backpack, a photo camera, and with the youngest member of the family joining us, our six months old daughter, we were ready for the party. I had a prequel chat with Karl Hyde from Underworld turning me on about their future performance and a festival promising some interesting vibes. It was supposed to feature some of my favorite musical genres, some dub from Burnt Friedman, some electronica and a bonus of indie rock, one of the genres of my youth.
When we arrived at the festival’s main stage we caught the last two songs of De La Soul. It was sounding like they had a great time entertaining the crowd with straight-on hip-hop. I have no idea if they performed their latest DJ Shadow collaboration. Right on time after them, Karpov No Kasparov have begun their live set at the Guerrilla Stage. From what I remember it was a bit downtempo as opposed to their studio work, but I enjoyed a fresh new song I never heard before.
On the main stage, the Underworld one hour and a half performance was divine, with songs like King Of Snake, Cowgirl and Always Loved A Film sounding top-notch and still ringing in my head even after a few days. On a proper nostalgic epilogue, they finished their concert with Born Slippy Nuxx, transporting everyone present in the atmosphere of the film that catapulted this song in the charts, Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting. After the gig, I had an amazing time backstage chatting with Karl & Rick about family units, documentaries, food, and their upcoming boxset release, the experiment of 52 weeks and songs DRIFT.
Photo by Mihnea Ratte
The Telekom Electronic Beats Stage was the closest to the lake and that gave it a special light in the sunset. Because of a last-minute switch, I missed Burnt Friedman but had a very brief chat with him and he kindly recalled performing at the Rokolektiv festival with CAN’s legendary drummer Jaki Liebezeit. That was quite a show! His latest album Musical Traditions in Central Europe, Explorer Series Volume 4, explores the culture and creativity of central European culture, one of the world's most spectacular artistic centers.
On Day 2 I have arrived somewhere around 18ish, just in time of the last part of Kovacs’ set. Not a big fan of her pop-indie-electronic-soul, but she’s putting the Netherlands on the pop mainstream map though!
Next on the Guerrilla stage was RATB, a band whose members and music I highly respect. The Proca bros are some characters and, as usual, they’ve had their theatricals on full force at Fall in Love.
Such a sharp keeping of the timetable had me stricken with the feeling of hypermarket accuracy, but that is the anti-consumerist in me, who I have no idea why always says yes to more festivals. On the mainstage, seeing Kaiser Chiefs for the second time, I realized how much my music tastes have changed since 2004. Nevertheless, I have to admit I enjoyed a nostalgic note on Oh My God, I Predict A Riot, The Angry Mob and Everything Is Average Nowadays, tunes I’ve listened to before 2010.
I was always on the lookout for a possible interview with one of the headliners and I was imaging talking with Kaiser Chiefs about reggae and dub and their only song in the genre, Good Clean Fun. Had no idea that Liam Gallagher was canceling his performance, I think no one did, organisers included, but if I had the chance to talk with him, it would have been about his Oasis bandmate Zak Starkey, son of Ringo Starr, making a new reggae label called Trojan Jamaica and working with Sly & Robbie and Big Youth.
One big downside of the festival was the excessive Kaufland branding, culminating with children tattoos very close to the main entrance. The branding was everywhere. I was under the impression I am somewhere at a marketing event owned by Kaufland. I understand a big sponsor has to be visible, but trust me when I say, those gigantic letters, on the left side on the main stage, were so big I bet they could see their behinds. This everywhere branding cuts so much from the festival experience and, in most cases, turns against the brand, having the exact opposite outcome of what they intended.
I have no idea if this festival turned ok for the organizers and we will have a second edition, but I sure hope we will have more festivals in the next years on the Mogosoaia domain which can become a center of indie culture and music near the crowded capital.
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