Sunwaves disconnects you from the daily pressure until the senses become relaxed so going back to reality after such a magical experience is hard and it gets harder every year.
What stays though are wonderful memories, new friends, flashbacks and an emotional remembrance of a dazzling time. Some of these flashbacks and musical journeys need to be shared because all of them are so precious and should be remembered.
Each time the excitement of going back to Mamaia grows and it starts when going back home after few days of pure magic. These days turn into one big adventure, in fact it means spending days with beloved ones, meeting old friends from around the globe, accompanied by wonderful music and surrounded by the sea. What else do you need? Traveling from Frankfurt to Mamaia seems very short when meeting people from all over the world and who come back every year to feel the magic of Sunwaves. This time the journey began on Wednesday in Bucharest and I would recommend it to everyone who still hasn’t visited the city before – do it. The city surprised me so much in its dark, gloomy but beautiful features that it left me speechless. I only visited the city in winter time which is completely different to how the city breaths and feels when the sun is out. Well and while being there, one should pay a visit to one of its clubs. This year Guesthouse hosted a night with Sedee, Kozo and Denis Korablev. What a lovely start before finally heading to the beach.
So during the past few years Sunwaves became more popular and familiar, not only to those who come to stay at the famous “wooden tent” but also to those who are ready to dance to an extended set of Marco Carola, tINI or Loco Dice and personally speaking I do not visit the festival for the artists listed above, I prefer the intimacy of stage 4 which is so unique and special that it leaves one in some sort of happiness bubble even weeks after the festival. As the music is on non-stop it can get quite difficult (or maybe unrealistic) to catch all those wonderful artists and their outstanding sets. Nevertheless the feeling of waking up, going to the festival and knowing the music will be good no matter what, is a little compensation when suspecting that you might have missed something really (and I mean really) good last night or day.
The constant positivity, smiley faces and the fact that you are surrounded by funktion ones is priceless and for me can only be found in Mamaia (or let’s say in Romania ). ‘Romania? Why are you going on a holiday to Romania?”
This question I get asked every year, by colleagues or distant family members . I like to tell them about how I came to Sunwaves the first time a few years ago and staying in a little cosy hotel of an old married couple. The owners were so hospitable and friendly which made me feel very welcomed. Food, drinks, music and a good laugh, this is how a friendship starts and I personally find it very easy to bond with Romanians and their warm-heartedness and of course their passion to music.
So Sunwaves 21 edition: what does one expect – quality, quality, quality. I don’t like comparing editions but this is what people automatically do. I try not to because one way or another every edition has its special moments or like a friend of mine likes to say when reminiscing ” this was an absolute Sunwaves moment “. These moments are very individual and vary from person to person and therefore from year to year.
When speaking of Sunwaves moments, let me try and guide you through my musical moments at this edition of SW. After a long bus ride, we eventually arrived in Mamaia on Thursday evening. I got ready as quickly as possible to see the opening of stage 4 by Vincentlulian. The opening was so fulfilling and exactly what I needed to put me into the right state for the next few days. Charlie I only caught for a little bit because I decided to rest before heading back in the morning. So there we go, Friday begins with two DJs doing their magic. Herodot and Suciu, both of them seem quite reserved every time I see them, at the same time they radiate such a positivity. The sound was beautiful and dark, perfectly matching to the hazy, foggy and coolish breeze.
This years weather was not as keen to us as last year, at least for the first two days. However Ion Ludwig and Sonja Moonear managed to create such a heated vibe, no one cared about the weather anyway. Ion Ludwig who played live left one speechless. He is a master of technique and has the ability to raise the bid even higher and higher. When you think this is it – Ion Ludwig has one more for you. So unpredictable but intensively good that I could listen to him forever. And Sonja? Well what should I say about Sonja? She is a sunshine of a woman. Everyone who has seen Sonja before knows how infectious her smile can be. She brings the crowd to shine and an unmistakable vibe to the tent not even mentioning the grooving, booming, music she is delivering. The hours passed quickly without even noticing and next to follow was Piticu who I only caught for a moment before heading back to the apartment to refresh a little.
So unfortunately and I must admit it here, but I’ve missed A:rpa:r playing in the tent…. I managed to sleep so deep and so long that I just missed it. And to be completely honest, I am not a big fan of big stages, doesn’t matter who plays I can never stay longer than one or two hours. So I arrived in the morning when the tent wasn’t too full anymore but the sound still strong. Anyway I wanted to check what was going on in the wooden tent as one of my friends was texting me before and saying how good it was. Nu Zau and Sepp were behind the decks and yes – the atmosphere was f******* good. I tell you, both delivered something exceptional here. Their perceptible energy which surrounded the stage was so tangible and it was so nice to see how much they enjoyed playing.
Slowly while the sun rays were coming out and the clouds passed, Vincentlulian took over the decks – again. He is an artist that I admire and respect very much. Don’t get me wrong, I respect every musician or artist but when he plays I feel so calm, so happy that I forget everything around me and can dance for hours. His set was a little different to the set he played in the beginning and it fitted greatly into the morning after A:rpia:r. After one glance the tent was packed, the crowd was happy, the weather was lovely. The stage stayed full because after that we got spoiled with a live performance of DeWalta and Mike Shannon. Pulling out a Saxophone with the back image of the sea, blue sky and sand is one to remember. I guess there isn’t more to add to that.
So Saturday continues to be one of my favourite Saturdays at Sunwaves. One great Dj after another spins records and the persistence of quality sound is not to be beaten. From Praslea to Thomas Melchior who spoiled us with the typical, beautiful minimal sound we expected, to SIT, who surprise me each year again. They crafted such a delightful set, right on point considering the weather and the happy crowd inside. Carefully chosen tracks that take you away on a joyful journey and don’t let you realise how quickly another few hours of dancing have passed. In my point of view it was one of the best sets at Sunwaves this year.
After SIT I decided to rest a little bit during the night and come back in the morning to see Ricardo for a while. Since Saturday night is the busiest night during Sunwaves I like to avoid the peek time during the night and come fresh and early to catch the madness in the morning. Imagine Ricardo in one tent, Marco in the other – it’s absolutely crazy and not quite possible to put in words what kind of feeling it is to walk around the festival on that night/day. It is funny how relatively slow the time goes by from Thursday to Saturday and how quickly the time passes when hitting Sunday morning. In an wink of an eye it is Monday and you quietly think to yourself – I don’t want it to end, please not.
So Ricardo did typical Ricardo. Long breaks. No breaks. Children singing. Spanish words. Sweaty people. Everywhere. Don’t care. Without recognizing I caught myself fooling around to happy music, dancing away to the sound of Ricardo. Simply sublime music, encircled with happy people and I was very glad to have caught him at least for some time during the morning and day. Still during RV I went to see Vlada and in every possible way, this Russian girl blew my mind. Without any idea of what to expect I was utterly elated as I have never consciously heard her playing. My fault. So here she is, such a cool and pretty lady, spinning the sickest, spaciest music I heard at this edition. It was trippy, funky but somehow very groovy. Alexandra followed and matched perfectly as the take over was so smooth and her set very refreshing. Given the heat and lots of dancing it was about time to get something to eat. I shall be back in the evening.
I returned for Zip as quickly I could and well his set was so…. Zippyful, people came out of the tent shocked and happily ever after. But there is no end in sight…. How dare to even thing of an end so early by now? The best is yet to come. Since many years now I have been a big admirer of Rhadoo. He is the master of technique, a creator, he exactly knows what to do and with this knowledge and the ability to mix, the journey he takes one on goes beyond the bonds of comprehension. Last year Rhadoo created the perfect moment that for a long time won’t be forgotten. This year he played in the evening which from my point of view was simply perfect. The combination of trippy visions, dimmed light red that increases visual comfort and heavenly dreamy but in the same time glooming sound – from my point of view this was impeccable. When seeing him play I always get the impression that he needs some time to get into the groove, maybe a little longer than others but as soon he is in the mood he leaves the dancers speechless. Something magical happens and I think it is very hard to put in words what the music does and how it gets to the people.
I am always a little sad when he leaves the decks but luckily Cezar came straight after and delivered one of the best sets I have heard of him in a long time and one of my favourites during this Sunwaves. The night couldn’t be more perfect as me and my friends sat outside the stage watching the sunrise and hearing Petre starting his magic. Dancing to his magnificence classical melodies mixed with vibrating baselines – these two days were packed with intense musical moments and I didn’t want them to end. Furthermore the sun became warmer and warmer, Monday continued with Dan Andrei and Kozo, who made us want to extend the pleasure by prolonging these intense moments by resting by the beach and enjoying the subtle music, with hot drops and a freely vibrating sound.
The next act and unfortunately the last act I witnessed was Arapu in the evening/night. In my view a highlight of the festival not only because it was intoxicating and captivating but also beautiful in the purest form. When Gescu joint it added a pinch of that little extra, a special radiance that gave the night its shimmering effect. However my energy was already lacking, my ears weren’t capable of perceiving properly anymore and so I missed the great sets of Barac and Mihigh on Tuesday morning. But from what I have heard – it was the perfect end to a perfect Sunwaves.
So this is it. Once a year, music lovers and artists come together to celebrate music, one language that unites us. You see I could write on forever and tell you more about how wonderful and impressive every artist and set was but I would simply repeat myself again and again you would get bored. Also as mentioned before, I have missed certain acts of what is normal when the music is continuously good. Every Dj puts so much thought and love into the ‘performance’ and manages to deliver a story with a unique signature and touch the audiences on an emotional level, captivate them with suspense and enchant them with opulent images and impressions. Sunwaves gets to the heart people, it has an eye on the right moment, a sight of the particularities of details, the personal “feel” and this is what it represents. Slowness, no rush, to have time to observe and listen, to escape and dance, this is the essence. It is hard to find words for how truly amazing everyone’s contribution to the festival is and I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who works behind the scenes and creates this kind of magic, year after year. The energy that radiated throughout those five days remains forever and again it’s baffling how with the most basic means, music is able to break bounds and unite us.