UNTOLD 2021: the festival during Covid19
It seemed impossibile, but this september 2021 the UNTOLD festival - after skipping the 2020 edition due of Covid19 - finally restarted attracting EDM music fans coming from all over the world in Cluj!!
Do you know what UNTOLD is? (if not, you have to read my article written in 2019)
It's one of the biggest festivals and this year it has been the biggest one in the EU.
Between the 9th and 12th of september the Cluj-Napoca Central Park was populated by 265000 people, coming from more of 100 countries: the 85 % from Romania, and the following 15% from all over the world, from Germany, France, Poland, UK, USA, Hungary, Brazil, Japan … and also from Italy.
I was surprised by finding a lot of italians, so I've done photos to some of them, but they were more and more, and different groups of them were always in the first line in the MAIN STAGE.
How does it was travelling during Covid19?
I admit that, before leaving, I was a little anxious about taking a trip abroad after almost 2 years spent mostly at home. And the crowd situation at the festival worried me even more.
"What if I am positive?", I was asking to myself, "What if I feel not good far from home?".
I spent a day searching informations about the current Covid regulations in Italy and Romania and, two days after receiving the invitation email, I finally was convinced:
"no worries", I thought, "I accept the risk and go!".
From Italy the travel was really easy: neither Romania nor Italy had restrictions. There was no swab or isolation required, but I simply had to show the Greenpass and fill out an online declaration about COVID-19.
Arrived in Cluji just a few hours before the festival's beginning, we left luggages at the hotel and headed to the festival for the opening ceremony.
The ceremony started at 00:00 and presented this year's theme "LUNA: THE RISING". A mix of emotions among music, dance, fireworks and special effects gives birth to the UNTOLD2021 magic.
What where the Covid rules at the festival? Was it really safe?
I have to say that inside the festival area there were crowded places - expecially in the main stage - and many people didn't wear a mask, but you could manage to see the shows in less crowded places - such as Cluj Arena bleachers - and also walk throught the park in big open spaces.
Anyway the safety rules were enough, and the organization was really flawless; I can tell the entire festival area was Covid free.
In fact the access was only permitted to people with a Green Pass, this means that all the people in the festival area were either vaccinated ( with two dosis) or had a swab (antigenic or PCR).
Each person whore two bracelets:
- the first one showed the type of access: it could be the basic one or VIP (with some advantages and dedicated areas), the PRESS (the one I had), or the STAFF (for the people who worked in the festival) or the ARTIST (for the artists and their crew). The bracelet had a chip that was read at the entrance of the festival, in this way they could check the identity of everyone and make sure that the bracelet belonged to the person who was wearing it (sometimes they also asked me to put down the mask to check my identity).
- the other one was for the Green pass: people with vaccine had a bracelets like mine that was valid for 4 days. People who did swabs had a different bracelet that was valid for 2 days in the case of a PCR test or for 24h in the case of antigenic test. So they had to take other tests for the following days.
This time we couldn't take our bracelets at the airport, as we did the last time, but we had to take them in a big dedicated area that we can call "festival check-in": a sports arena who was in front of the Cluji Arena in which they checked the Green Passes and the documents and they gave bracelets. Close to this area there was an area where they performed molecular and antigenic swabs for people that didn't have the vaccine.
According to the festival datas, the 75% of the people who entered the festival area were vaccinated.
Who were the big guests of this edition?
As usual, the best known DJs worldwide were on the UNTOLD stages, expecially on the MAIN STAGE, here there were DJ like Martin Garrix, Alok, Lost Frequencies, DJ Snake, David Guetta, Steve Aoki, Afrojack, Paul Van Dyk, Quintino, Danny Avila, Martin Solveig, Ofenbach, Sam Feldt, Tujamo or Vintage Culture.
Martin Garrix prepared a special show for the UNTOLD audience that really enjoyed it: the Cluj-Arena was full!!
There were two Italians also in the Garrix team, Jacopo Ricci and Lorenzo Depa, who dealt respectively with light design and screens animations and graphics.
Also Lost Frequencies was one of the most appreciated artists at UNTOLD. The belgian dj shared, on the stage and in the conference room, his happiness for finally beeing able to play live in a festival as big as the UNTOLD. He said that UNTOLD is one of the festivals he loves the most: that's why he decided to take with him at the festival his family (which was also on the stage with him at the end of the show). He also decided to live the festival itself whatching other artist's exibitions and wandering in the park. He had fun interviewing people asking what they thought about him and his music and than sharing the answers on his social profiles (ahahah). Here the video
Btw there weren't only Djs, on the MAIN STAGE, but there were also bands, artists and musicians!!
The american rapper Tyga was for the first time at the UNTOLD and enchanted the crowd with an incredible live show in which he also invited DJ Snake on stage.
During The Script exibitions the MAIN STAGE was packed: Danny O'Donoghue while singing one of their best known songs - Hall of Fame - step off the stage getting closer to people and while he kept on singing surrounded by the crowd, he took on his shoulder the official UNTOLD camera, filming himself his fans.
Gheorghe Zamfir's recital enchanted the crowd: the famous Romenian musician and songwriter left people speachless, the only sound you could hear was the one of the melody played by Zamfir with his Pan flute, his favourite instrument. For this reason Zamfir wants to create the first International Academy of Pan Flute and the UNTOLD festival was happy to promote this initiative.
Very unusual and as much captivating was another exibition: the one of the Hungarian Opera Cluj, the opera company orchestra of Cluj-Napoca, founded in 1948, which now resides in the Ungarian Theatre of Cluj. The orchestra played Pop songs using all the instruments normally present in a classic orchestra: violins, strings, cellos, violists, contrabasses, flautes, clarinets, trumpets, percussions...
How was the Cluj-Napoca Central Park arranged for the festival?
There were different stages scattered around the Cluj-Napoca park, the same as the 2019 edition.
This year the stages were 7 , with different music styles: EDM, house, tropical house, techno, tech-house, deep tech, dubstep, drum&bass, hip-hop, trip-hop, rap, trap, trance, ambiental and retrò.
BUT at the festival fun also goes beyond music. Among the different stages, around the park, you can find all kinds of attractions.
This year it was possible: - to rent a swan-shaped pedal boat at the small lake in the park - to try the experience of climbing - to paint on canvas - to have a special hairstyle or festival-themed make-up - to take a ride on the big ferris wheel and see the festival from above - to go shopping in the many boutiques, where you could find both clothing, footwear and accessories, sold by over 20 Romanian designers and brands. Also the corners dedicated to food deserves to be mentioned. All around the festival, there were over 60 stands selling all kinds of food: pasta, pizza, burgers, salads, Asian or Mexican food, vegan food, cheescakes, churros, waffles, crepes, ice creams, coffees, cappuccinos, juices and much more.
So... also this year it was an UNFORGETTABLE edition, even more than the 2019 one, when being in the crowd was still considered normal. However, I am ready for next year's edition, and the UNTOLD staff too: on their website you can already find info to buy tickets ... and I recommend you keep an eye
to their social channels 'cause I know they sometimes do contest!!
photos done with @samnahirny
Did you got the tickets? See you there next year, maybe .