SAGA is born!
Written by Pepo on September 25, 2021
The weekend of 10-12th September was one of the “busiest” as festivals in Romania but the ones that catched all the attention were Untold Festival and the new SAGA Festival. One held in the beautiful city Cluj-Napoca and the other one in the capital Bucharest.
We’ll start to say that Romania is a beautiful country, with a big history in the backgroud and no matter what you like more, mountains, sea, hills, Romania has it all! If you plan for a vacation full of adventures, Romania could be your destination.
Since the new-born event SAGA would also premiere the Sound Of Bucharest event, promising to be the biggest solo project in Europe, we’ve asked our friends if it would be possible for us to be there as official press and to check up the new event. Our excitement was big since it was the first edition and we could witness the born of a festival and be part of its history. Excitement got bigger when without hesitation ALDA accepted our request and also to cover the Sound Of Bucharest with the one and only Armin Van Buuren. The bad news came after, when due the situation in Romania, Sound Of Bucharest had to be postponed until next year (but still will happen!)
Even if the festival is not trance based, it worth to be there and we’ve asked some of our friends to give us their impression about it. As a whole, the feedback was positive, many didn’t expected actually to be that good, well organised, professional and lots of fun.
From our side we had Petre Popescu, a gentleman that made all the possible to be there despite some issue, so chapeau to him from us.
“The overall experience at first glance seemed a bit far-fetched as the economic context of the venue hosting the event is precarious to say the least.
The flow towards the press entrance was little to none, with a desk of young volunteers accompanied by two of the investors which checked the names off the list, and a covid 19 tent in which individuals would confirm their vaccination status. The extra mile the organizers went to accommodate press staff was very obvious as they were very attentive to the journalists, presenting the mission and vision of the festival in a rather fun way.
While the general access entry was rather packed the press entry was very well kept in check in terms of every member being handled by one of the members of staff, noticeably prepared to answer any questions with regards to the experience as well as the overall product they were selling. There were also top up bracelets to make it easier for everyone to access bars all around the event as well as food courts or any expenditures occurring inside the venue.
All in all, getting inside was a good experience also the acts from the techno stage, which is to say, were very good.
There were a few stages around the venue. Heat stage, right next to the press and staff entrance and close to the main stage. The bar was getting along pretty well with no insane queues or argumentative individuals.
The set started to get interesting with de Luca‘s entrance which caused a lot more people to head to the stage, unfortunately not even close to the number the following act received.
While Deborah pumped the crowd with her trademark heavy acid beats, the following act would compensate through the melodic character accompanied by high bpm. Dubfire replaced her behind the decks and off we went.
The set lasted for 2 hours with one rather small entry section followed by two high rev party segments separated by a keyboard driven break segment. The most interesting part of the whole set was the exit – as contrasting with the rather hasty beginning emerged with a latent melodic twist which again made people flock down to the techno tent.
It became obvious from mingling with the crowd that there were plenty of party-goers from abroad who came for the festival as well as they would always come down for other festivals dedicated to techno music such as Sunwaves. The cultural background in Bucharest seems to facilitate these types of gatherings, however, due to their default underground character it can’t be helped by the fact that they seem slightly out of place in a festival aimed at all groups of individuals.
The atmosphere began to quickly resemble every sesh monster’s wildest dreams – swaying in a pool of mirror lens sunglasses while internally listening to your jaws chew on that tasteless piece of gum perfectly on the beat, as if the bpm were measured per chew of gum. The following artist was just as interesting; however it was high time for afterparties.
The main stage was, predictably, swamped by more mainstream-going populace. The crowd’s energy was lacking on the outskirts of the central venue, making it seem more of a meeting point of old friends rather than the heart of the party. The spectacle, itself, was properly entertaining. The light-and-fire show, along with vivid visuals on the stage’s humongous backdrop were carefully choreographed to the music, bringing some excitement to the more casual onlooker.
A couple of VIP lounges were scattered around this main stage, slightly raised over the crowd’s heads to offer a more premium view. The access was effortless as security instantly noticed the yellow wristbands, however, with the exception of a better equipped bathroom and slightly lower bar queues, these brought little value to the overall experience.
All in all the experience was surprisingly pleasant, and I say surprisingly due to the high probability of failure when putting mainstream and underground cultures under the same roof. For some reason it really did fit the picture of dance floor goblins grouping up with pop loving basics in a dance orchestrated by both clenched jaws as well as hungry stomachs as they much away in the very neatly organized food court.
Another friend of us, Adrian Amuzescu has been there and despite some small issues, his impression was good and seems that he looks forward to the next year edition.
“It is clear that for the time being it cannot be as beautiful as at Untold, the people there being favored by the beauty of the park, but also by the superior organization as a whole. As a level of artists it rises to the level of a large festival (like Untold, Creamfield, Ultra Europe). The first edition of Saga, however, impressed with the sound quality and the large number of good artists assigned to the 4 scenes during the 3 days of the festival. A small problem with the toilets, I say, which did not cope with the large number of festival-goers and a little poorly arranged; another small problem with the main alleys that had a lot of “holes” in the used cement from Romaero Băneasa.
However, the location has been inspired changed in the last 3 weeks, the young park in the center of the capital Izvor I do not think was suitable for such a large number of public. All over the world there was a lot, the right atmosphere for an electronic music festival, only one and one artists. I remain with a positive impression and look forward to next year. Artists who impressed me: Clean Bandit dj set, Nervo, Vini Vici, Reiner Zonneveld, Deborah de Luca, Morten, Enrico Sangiuliano; and most did a good job thanking the audience.
P.S. I hope the dates with Untold do not coincide, here is a small black ball for those from Cluj, who set the date of the festival after the Saga.”
Indeed, the dates of Untold and SAGA disturbed some people since was difficult to choose between and some people actually wanted to go at both festivals (ravers to the bone!). As far as we know the next SAGA locations will be better for sure and since ALDA and Insomniac have a big experience in “park” themed festivals we expect to something even bigger. The “toilet problem” quite every big festival has it, but there’s a good point tho and we hope the organisators will take note of.
One friend of us, that wants to keep his anonymity, made actually a small letter:
You’re not Untold and that’s good!
I felt great about you and I want you to know why.
I liked first of all the enthusiasm and energy of the public, I don’t know if it was because of the pandemic but I tend to think it was more because of you.
I tell you honestly, you have prepared very well for the public. Considering it was your first edition, wow, it’s been a long time.
I would dare to say that I saw in you what I did not see anywhere, the show with drones, touchè!
You had organization, you had location and production, you had public, what do you lack then?
I think in terms of music you need more diversity.
I spent 90% of my time on the Heat (techno) scene, and when I wanted to take another break, I would stop by the Main stage for a while and move on, but I didn’t have much of a place.
PS: Heat scene, grade 10 plus!
I hope you find a good relaxation area in the future and invite a few more artists because they will feel good about you, guaranteed.
Getting there and leaving you was a long way, but you made up for it with a good atmosphere.
I think I’ll see you next year if you keep it that way.
SAGA brough to this edition many gadgets for fun, like a small circus but very fancy. If you know organisator’s other events you know this is like a “fingerprint” for them. Lights, fun and music!
And who doesn’t love drones, right?
A close friend, Theodor went to Saga right from another big festival from Romania and he wanted to write down some words about his experience:
The SAGA experience exceeded the level of my expectations, being organized the first edition this year. The organizing part was well developed. The access roads to the festival were not crowded, there were queues specific to each type of entry (for those vaccinated or those who were to be tested at the established points), there were 2 food courts with many options for anyone who wanted to take a snack break during the festival, as well as the 6 scenes with various music, from classic EDM to Trance, Techno, Rap and old commercial music, for more nostalgic vibe.
The ravers had from where to choose and they went until 5 in the morning on dancing rhythms. Personally, I was most impressed by the show from the Heat scene, with Maceo Plex and Adam Beyer from Drumcode Records and the legendary Carl Cox as headliners. Everything was made to order: good music and epic atmosphere. I am convinced that all the partygoers in the audience had fun and were left with happy memories when they think back to SAGA. There were no disappointments from the festival overall, it was a sensational show! I am sure that next year will be even better!
A: For me, SAGA went much better than I expected, because usually the organizers encounter problems at the first edition of a festival, but this was not the case here either. The only problems were the relocation of the last hundred meters, which bothered some festival-goers who rented accommodation in Bucharest where the festival was originally to be held. However, the organizers provided special buses from the city to and from the festival. The music was great, with so many scenes and options to see your favorite artists or discover new ones. Definitely any participant found what scenes to go to. They were good DJs during the day, but the headliners at night also made a sensation, being even more crowded in public. Techno music from the Heat and Spark scenes lived up to expectations and the energy of the raves created a fairytale atmosphere. See you next year, at SAGA!”
A simple gesture from the organisators to provide special buses, since the original location has changed, speaks a lot about their mentality and how much they care for their “clients”. Hats off for them!
And last but not least, we are really thankful for this festival taking place this year, especially in a period that few still believed an event will fall out. We know SAGA is here to stay and we are so looking forward to the next chapter! Sign up for the 2022 edition and see you again in Bucharest!