From the moment my plane lands at Mihail Kogalniceanu airport, emotions begin to overwhelm my body. All musical anticipations I have about Sunwaves 24 will be met and even surprassed over the next five days.
Dropping out luggage and perception of time to your room in Mamaia; without knowing when, how or as who you will come back. These were probably the habits of not just me and my entourage but all 24 editions’ participants. Motions starts to get circular, time gets spiral as you get in to Aza Beach with your wristband. A wristband that gives the only direction you need to have and tagged: “AHEAD”.
I arrived in the evening of the first full day and two stages were already delivering bellowing kicks from the notorious Funktion Ones. FUSE duo Archie Hamilton and Enzo Siragusa were going back-to-back at stage two, pumping my blood with groove infused minimal, the perfect way to start this festival. When any of the FUSE contingent play together there’s a special understanding and this time was unsurprisingly no different.
My first experience with the well reveered ‘Romanian tent’ was more than a positive one. With Swiss artist Alci delivering an eclectic and patient sent warming up for Sunwaves 24’s first full length venture into the night as day melted into night.
While music and visual art dominated on the sea front, a special shoutout has to go Sunwaves’ food court. There’s over 15 menus with a variety of options, from vegan carts to huge burgers as well as juice bars and Mexican inspired food.
After being blessed by the summer breeze whilst sitting on that gorgeous Mamaia beach all day, it was time for Piticu to take us on a journey into the night with some mind bending sounds.
At this point the energy levels throughout the festival were really beginning to rise, you could feel it with the people you met and each stage you went to. Sunwaves also of course pays special attention to the visual artists, the likes of Dreamrec, Pareidola, Noetic and Aural Eye provided truly mesmerising and touching visuals throughout the festival.
The summer edition of Sunwaves has always been known to throw a few wild cards out there and some DJs you might not necessarily associate with the festival. Berghain resident Marcel Dettmann was one of those DJs this year as well as Art of Dark resident Andrew James Gustav.
The horizon of the Black Sea was beginning to glisten with red and yellow with yet another sensational sunrise, but more importantly Petre Inspirescu was taking over the decks. From the first track, the crowd followed his every move and fell in love with the music time and time again. All perception of time was completely lost, smiles were contagious and even stretched towards Pedro himself, who couldn’t stop smiling.
After a quick day-time recovery, it was back to the beach to be treated to a live set from Meander boss DeWalta and Mike Shannon, showcasing why their live show is one of the most anticipated in underground music.
During the day time the population of the festival was a lot lower as people were getting ready and energised for the night time acts, often the more notable ones. We were no exception, taking a blissful rest near the beach, complimented by hammocks and beanbags. Before we knew it, Rhadoo’s dark and intricate set began with the sun setting behind him.
After a while, it was time for one of the heavyweights of the line-up in the wooden tent; Praslesh. Unfortunately there’s no amount of compliments that can be paid to these two friends that can justify their set. There is an unrivalled selection of records and the harmony between the two creates an unbelievable experience wherever they play. Every mix, every track choice was remarkable and watching the sun rise from the back of the wooden tent was perect. A particular highlight was Mandar’s ‘Poisoned Words’ which resonated throughout the Funktion One Speakers and into our bodies.
Following Praslesh was always going to be an almost impossible task, but credit has to go to Italian talent Giuliano Lomonte, since he delivered one of the best sets of the festival with expectations still high from his predecessors. The vocals of ‘Marcu Rares’ Lunatique provided a highly emotive moment and one I’ll cherish forever.
While grooves were still passing solidly in the wooden tent, a record breaking attempt was taking part at stage two. Dubfire has broken the record for the longest solo DJ set at Sunwaves festival starting at Sunday afternoon. The SCI+TEC boss played for 26 hours and 30 minutes at the Romanian event, overtaking Marco Carola’s previous record of 24 hours at SW23.
After Dubtil, Suciu took over the Romanian stage. As the crowd knew what to expect from him regarding his set at SW23, he shared his massive selection once again. As the midnight approached, Cezar got behind the set and Understand label boss Lazar delivered an edgy, technical and energetic 4 hour set.
After Cezar we were treated to another spectacular live set from Vlad Caia.
While the sun was rising once again, one of the most awaited artists of Sunwaves Festivals, Priku a.k.a. Adrian Niculae took the helm for a roller coaster of a ride. His conveyance of the track ‘Der Dritte Raum- Aydszieyalaidnem (D3r-25 Remix)’ was one to remember.
Within the blink of an eye, it was the Monday morning and those still standing were treating to a Romanian rotation to the likes of Arapu, Sublee, Charlie, Herodt, SIT, Cap and Gescu to keep that wooden tent pumping.
As the afterhours kicked off, Arapu started as the rest meant to go on, with tracks such as ‘Point G & Traumer – Push It’, ‘Politics of Dancing X Franck Roger’ and ‘Cugler – Heywood Giublowme (Clarkent Remix)’ supplying the goods.
With Herodot behind the decks, it was his duty to set the sun for the last time in Sunwaves 24. He invited Prichindel to have a playful set, creating smiles and bringing joy to every face on the dancefloor with edit of tracks that became classics such as ‘Bicep – Glue (Nico Morano Club Edit)’, ‘Miriam Makeba – Pata Pata’ and ‘Sidney, George and Jackie – Papa Was A Rolling Stone (Disco Tech Edit)’.
The crowd in wooden tent were in a hysteria by the time Cristi Cons and Vlad Caia laid their hands on the mixer. Six hours went by like a minute. It was an emotional yet subtle set, one that brought curiosity track after track. After brilliant selection of tracks such as ‘Disk – The Game’, ‘Second-Hand Satellites – Orbit 1.3’ and ‘R10 – Banana D’; SIT ended their set by launching ‘Cristi Cons’ Bird in Space’ once again.
After the dynamic duo, clocks were ticking for Cap to play another sunrise set just as he did at SW23. Imagine catching him playing tracks as ‘I C Jangles – Desert Sound Colony’ and ‘OTR Soundsystem – Modern Minstrelsy’.
One last look over my shoulder introduced me to the saddening site of the sun rising one last time. Birds were flying, waves were gently drifting and Gescu took over for the last set of the festival, inviting Cristi Cons and Cap to play with him. It was a joyous and perfect end to another perfect edition of Sunwaves.
Photo Credit: Troia – Studio XXIX