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Romania’s Saga festival draws 45,000 for debut

Leading dance music promoters Insomniac and Alda welcomed 45,000 guests to the inaugural edition of Saga, Romania’s first large-scale music festival since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

The electronic dance event took place between 10–12 September in the Romanian capital of Bucharest and drew both domestic and international guests.

The three-day event featured some of the biggest names in electronic music including Don Diablo, Carl Cox, Tiësto, Topic, Allan Walker, Fisher and Sigala, who performed across four stages.

Alda and Insomniac, based in Amsterdam and Los Angeles, respectively, have been partners since October 2018, when majority Live Nation-owned Insomniac acquired a 50% stake in Alda.

“We found a place we can call home… Saga has Bucharest and Bucharest has Saga”

Insomniac has produced more than 2,000 events since 1993, including Electric Daisy Carnivals in North America, Japan, China and Mexico, and Nocturnal Wonderland, the US’s longest-running dance music event.

Alda, meanwhile, is behind events including A State of Trance in Utrecht, New Horizons in Germany (a JV with CTS Eventim) and Amsterdam Music Festival, the Netherlands’ largest indoor music festival – which was cancelled yesterday.

Following the event, Alda said: “We found a place we can call home… Saga has Bucharest and Bucharest has Saga. During the past three days, we have all seen the beginning of something that goes beyond our imagination. We’ve shared our energy and vibrated together for the first time, all in the name of electronic music.”

Saga was set to debut in 2020 but was postponed due to the pandemic. The festival will return in 2022 at the earlier date of 3–5 June.

 


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Romania’s Saga postpones as lockdown lifting nears

The inaugural edition of Insomniac- and Alda-promoted Saga festival has been postponed to September, as the Romanian government prepares to begin a staggered easing of lockdown restrictions in mid-May.

Organisers of Saga, which was originally set to debut from 5 to 7 June in Bucharest’s Izvor park, state the postponement is “the best option for Saga festival with the health and wellbeing of visitors a main priority”.

Although the line-up for the rescheduled event on 11 to 13 September “may be slightly different due to artist scheduling”, organisers assure fans the billing “will be up to [the] standards” of dance music giants Insomniac (Electric Daisy Carnival) and Alda (Amsterdam Music Festival, New Horizons).

Saga joins fellow Bucharest festival Europafest, a multi-venue jazz, blues, pop and classical music event, to change its 2020 dates in view of the coronavirus crisis. Scheduled for May, organisers say they are now planning for Europafest to take place in the second half of July, with dates depending on the evolution of the situation in Romania and at European level.

Other major festivals in Romania, including electronic music events Untold and Neversea and European Festival Awards 2019 winners Electric Castle, Jazz in the Park and ARTmania, have yet to announce changes to their 2020 editions. The government expected to give more details on the future of public events when it begins to ease its stringent lockdown laws – which have seen citizens collectively fined up to €78 million for flouting restrictions –  on 15 May.

“Large-scale events are unlikely to take place given the announced and forecasted restrictions”

Although Emil Boc, mayor of the city of Cluj-Napoca where Untold, Electric Castle and Jazz in the Park take place, has said that large-scale events are “unlikely to take place given the announced and forecasted restrictions”, he notes that “difference and diverse ways of organising these events can be found”.

Festival organisers in Romania have also found diverse and different ways of helping the fight against coronavirus in recent weeks.

Promoters in Cluj-Napoca are selling “solidarity tickets” as part of the A Single Cluj (Un Singur Cluj) campaign, which brings together event organisers and others in the region to synchronise relief efforts and pool resources. By purchasing a solidarity ticket, fans can make direct donations to hospitals and other public institutions. “Ticket” prices range from RON 10 to RON 5,000 (€1,034).

Money raised by the campaign has gone towards buying surgical masks for help workers and supplying food to frontline staff. Members of the initiative have also helped to construct emergency triage centres.

The team behind Untold festival, currently set to take place from 30 July to 2 August with acts including Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki, Pussycat Dolls and David Guetta, launched the United Romania initiative, which aims to “bring together the good in Romania”.

So far, the campaign has helped supply six trucks with equipment such as portable flooring, geotextile and lighting from Untold and Neversea festivals for a field hospital in the city of Constanta and has provided 12,000 tests and other medical materials to hospitals in Cluj.

 


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Festival Fever: what to expect from summer 2020

Continuing the series of 2020 line-up announcements, IQ has a look at what Saga Festival, Pitchfork Music Festival and Sea Star Festival have in store, as well as the latest additions to the massive Roskilde and Mad Cool line-ups.

(See the previous edition of Festival Fever here.)

 


Roskilde

When: 27 June to 4 July
Where: Roskilde, Denmark
How many: 85,000

Roskilde Festival has completed the line-up for its mammoth 50th anniversary edition, with Kendrick Lamar, the Strokes, Haim and Charli XCX among those joining the bill.

The Roots, DaBaby, Dave, Brittany Howard and Bicep also form part of the 110-strong group of new additions.

The newly announced artists join Taylor Swift, Pusha T, Faith No More, FKA Twigs and Tyler the Creator for the festival’s half-century celebrations.

“With this year’s line-up, we do what we’ve always done: look ahead,” comments Anders Wahrén, the festival’s head of programming.

“It has been important to us that festival number 50 points to the future, and that is why 2020 will feature the lowest average age ever among the headliners. You don’t have to have 20 years of experience to perform on the main stage. That era is over.”

Tickets for Roskilde Festival 2020 are available here, with a full eight-day festival pass costing DDK2250 (£257).

“2020 will feature the lowest average age ever among the headliners”

Saga Festival

When: 5 to 7 June
Where: Izvor Park, Bucharest, Romania

Saga Festival, a new three-day event promoted by electronic music specialists Alda and Insomniac, is debuting in Bucharest this summer.

Tiësto, Marshmello, Disclosure, Faithless, Meduza and Sigala are among more than 150 acts performing across five stages at the festival, with recently announced artists including Timmy Trumpet, Vini Vici, Laidback Luke, Denis Sulta and Zara Larsson.

The festival has partnered with Romanian waste management charity Reciclad’Or and conservation organisation WWF, as part of its commitment to securing a low ‘festival footprint’ and promoting understanding of the issues facing the planet.

Tickets for Saga Festival are available here, with a three-day pass priced at RON299 (£52) and VIP options costing RON699 (£123).

Tiësto, Marshmello, Disclosure, Faithless, Meduza and Sigala are among more than 150 acts performing at the festival

Pitchfork Music Festival

When: 17 to 19 July
Where: Union Park, Chicago, USA
How many: 20,000

YeahYeahYeahs, Run the Jewels and the National are headlining US magazine Pitchfork’s flagship Chicago festival this year, with other performances coming from Angel Olsen, Danny Brown, Phoebe Bridgers and Badbadnotgood.

2020 marks the 15th year of the Chicago edition of Pitchfork Music Festival. A spin-off event has taken place in Paris since 2011, promoted by Parisian booking and events agency Super!, and a German edition is launching this year in Berlin, featuring Lianne La Havas, Celeste and Modeselektor.

Tickets for Pitchfork Music Festival 2020 are available here, with day tickets costing $75 (£58) and a three-day pass priced at $185 (£144).

2020 marks the 15th year of the Chicago edition of Pitchfork Music Festival

Sea Star Festival

When: 22 to 23 May
Where: Stella Maris lagoon, Umag, Croatia
How many: 20,000

The brainchild of the team behind Serbia’s Exit Festival, Sea Star Festival is preparing for its fourth outing this year in the Croatian seaside town of Umag.

Hip-hop group Cypress Hill are topping the bill, which features acts including Amelie Lens, Meduza, Umek, Dubioza Kolektiv and Farrago. A welcome party and closing party will take place on 21 and 24 May respectively.

Sea Star is part of Exit’s extended festival network, consisting of Serbia’s No Sleep Festival, Romania’s Revolution Festival and Montenegro’s Sea Dance Festival.

Exit Festival will see performances by David Guetta, Tyga, Fatboy Slim and James Arthur for its 20th anniversary edition this year.

Tickets for Sea Star Festival 2020 are available here, priced at €39 (£33) for international fans and €30 (£26) for locals. Ticket prices will increase on 6 March.

The brainchild of the team behind Serbia’s Exit Festival, Sea Star Festival is preparing for its fourth outing this year

Mad Cool

When: 8 to 11 July
Where: Espacio Mad Cool, Madrid Spain
How many: 60,000

Live Nation’s Mad Cool festival has a big year ahead, with an extra day of programming for 2020.

Royal Blood and Mumford & Sons are the most recent additions to the extensive line-up, joining previously announced acts Taylor Swift, the Killers, Kings of Leon, Faith No More, Billie Eilish, Twenty One Pilots, Foals and Anderson Paak.

Other acts appearing across the three days include Wolf Alice, Placebo, Jamie Cullum, Major Lazer and Khalid.

Tickets for Mad Cool 2020 are available here, with a four-day pass costing €179 (£153).

 


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