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B'estfest Summercamp 2012 | FESTIVALPHOTO

B'estfest Summercamp 2012



There are loads of festivals happening in Romania right now – OST Fest, Rock the City, Peninsula, Summer Well, Artmania – but B'estfest has had the best possible evolution over the years. When it started, in 2007, it was one of the largest events of this sort - not only in Romania, but also in Eastern Europe. But during its first editions it took place in the middle of Bucharest, among the buildings and concrete of a busy, hot, industrialized city. As incredible as the line-up was, nobody really saw it as a real festival, because every night people went to their homes, or to hotel or hostel rooms, not to a nice camping ground.

Last year, thought, B'estfest became something totally different. It progressed into an event that can easily be compared with festivals such as Exit - that takes place nearby, in Serbia. It was organized on a field close to Bucharest, where people could camp and spend their entire day around the festival grounds, doing all sorts of stuff – bungee jump, ride their bikes, paint, watch movies or simply lie in the sun on a tiny, improvised beach. There was even a carousel.

The line-up, however, was not as strong as it was during the first editions of the festival, but I think the trade was fair. A better location, real festival grounds – all these cost more. But the atmosphere was really great, the event was well organized and the headliners, although not as well known as we were used to, offered the audience an amazing show.

Our favorite band on day one was, of course, Garbage. Shirley Manson is one of the most charismatic female performers out there and she won everybody over, even though most of the audience had come for two old school hip-hop Romanian bands, Parazitii and BUG Mafia. In fact, most of the line-up on the first day consisted of Romanian bands, but most of them hadn't had a live performance in a while, so people were quite anxious to see them.

Day two was completely different, though. We heard Mala Vita, who were very energetic and played a mixture of punk, rock and Balkan music, followed by Millow, who weren't quite as entertaining – we almost fell asleep during their gig, which wasn’t really bad, but had no place on one of the main stages of such a festival, just before the headliners.

Selah Sue, however – entirely different story. That girl has more balls than anyone on that stage. She played a mixture of blues, funk, jazz and pop – but she has an amazingly strong voice, a great attitude and a face on which you can read every lyric she's performing.

But, by far, the most amazing performance during the second day was that of Norwegian band Royksopp. With their electronic tunes, amazing light show and mysterious presence – they wore masks and funky costumes – they simply hypnotized the audience. We danced, and danced, and danced, and got the band to return to the stage three times, delaying with about an hour the Booka Shade gig that followed.

Caro Emerald's gig, on the third day of the festival, was another one that we would have enjoyed in a quite little jazz pub – but not on a festival stage. Caro is charming, has a great voice and a nice presence, but her music is simply fifties lounge music and nothing more. It reminded us of Pink Martini or, perhaps, Parov Stelar, but she can hardly be compared with either of them.

What we loved was Skindred's performance, though. Those guys have enough energy to power a small country, and what they play, a combination of rock and reggae, got everybody to dance like mad men. Benji Webbe, the lead singer, is a great entertainer, made loads of jokes and, during the last song, got everybody to do the „fucking new punk helicopter”, which meant taking off your T-shirt and spinning it over your head. We actually got to see a few pairs of naked boobs around - so that went well :)

Pulp, though, they didn't come to that festival to entertain us. They came there to seduce us. Jarvis Cocker drove all the women in the audience crazy with his husky voice and smooth dance moves - they were all screaming his name. I think their boyfriends got a bit bored though – I kept hearing them that Pulp plays „chick music”. If you ask me, though, they were great, and I'm not ashamed to admit it :)

All in all, Bestfest was a great experience. No more concrete, no more cars, no more buses. Just music, the hot sun, the dust and the grass, and the company of a great audience. See you there next year!

Writer: Dan Durbaca Patranoiu
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