SAGA Festival closes an impressive debut in its first edition in Romania with 45.000 attendees from more than 30 countries.
Finally, it came true. Romania had been preparing for almost 2 years for one of the most expected events on the European continent. SAGA Festival was born from the hand of ALDA Events together with the participation of Insomniac Events to bring a world-class event to the Romanian capital Bucharest. After a promising announcement with some super cheap prices, the pandemic wiped out everything in its path, including the festival's debut edition in 2020. Like all festivals in Europe, the only solution was to delay the celebration of the festival until finally it saw the light. The days 10, 11 and 12 September of 2021 will go down in the history of SAGA Festival as the first, and not the last, celebration of the festival.
Initially, it was located in Izvor Park, next to the Romanian Parliament Palace but filamente moved to the Romaero aerodrome, a few kilometers from the main airport of the city. Personally, it was a totally positive change for the festival. A much wider location and with a perfect theme for the festival: airplanes. Some stages were located in hangars, others were airplanes, where many of the artists repeated performances. Much more facilities for the debut edition that ended up calling The Take Off Edition.
As in other festivals, a few days before the start of the event some artists had to cancel their performance, others taking their place. This is something we must get used to until the displacements between continents are 100% allowed. Even so, despite having fully confirmed the festival line up, SAGA continued adding artists to the line up until the week before the festival, positively influencing all attendees.
The entrance to the festival wasn't any problem for the attendees, since the organization closed the streets near the festival for better mobility. As for the security control, before entering you had to show vaccination certificate, PCR within 72 hours or an antigen test. Each bracelet was different depending on which of the options you presented.
Once you land at the festival, you understand the theme. Innovative stages with artists of all genres based on an aeronautical image. Source attracted all the more mainstream names, dividing all the techno and house artists between Heat and Spark, the latter being largely responsible for the success of the festival. Joris Voorn, Carl Cox, Adam Beyer, Enrico Sangiuliano, UMEK, Fisher… specifically, an endless list of top-level artists.
The history of SAGA Festival began on Friday at 17:00 p.m. in several of the secondary stages, beginning an hour later on the mainstage. World Superstars like Tiësto, Don Diablo or Inna would be part of this first day, together with Mike Williams, Cambodians Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano and Clean Bandit among other artists. Proper names of the underground scene like Amelie Lens, Artbat, Mathame, Maceo Plex or Anna would be distributed among Heat and Spark, always being a difficult decision which of the two stages to attend. Both in the middle and at the end of the day Source would be illuminated with a visual show in the middle of the mainstage.
Saturday would be a day of high flights, pun intended. MORTEN, one of the sensations of last year landed in Europe, more specifically in Romania, to offer a spectacular set. Avalan, who voiced the anthem of this edition, finally debuted on the Source stage. After passing through MFA 2020, continues to grow by leaps and bounds making a niche in the line up of several ALDA events. Proper names of the most mainstream scene such as NERVO, W&W or Nicky Romero would be part of the mainstage line up.
One of the banners of the events of ALDA, Reinier Zonneveld would be in charge of closing the stage Heat, after the performance of artists such as Deborah de Luca or Dubfire. The competition between stages was real. At Spark, artists as UMEK, Solardo or Meduza again made it difficult to choose which stage to go to, something that speaks of the good preparation of the line up.
Finally, the key day arrived. After watching part of the final performances on Saturday, we came to Romaero to live the SAGA Festival experience. As we said before, the theme was one of the attractions of the event. We took a little walk through the venue, where we found a plane full of graffiti where several artists would soon perform by surprise. You could feel like a dj for a few seconds in one of the stands of the festival, where they allowed you to take a photo of yourself while the smoke cannon went off. Numerous food and drink stands, huge hangars where it seemed almost impossible to exceed capacity and an amazing mainstage. We are used to the first editions of a festival having a more basic stage and that was not the case at SAGA. It looked impressive, with the geometric shape that represents the logo inside.
We opened the day with one of the masters of the current scene: Laidback Luke. Genius on and off the stage, his skills are more than recognized and he played classics like his Rocking With The Best or Leave The World Behind, that magnificent collaboration with Swedish House Mafia and Deborah Cox. From there, we first visited the Heat stage to see Enrico Sangiuliano. A very powerful set in which we highlight the remix to Age Of Love, his latest collaboration with Charlotte de Witte. We were going back to Source to see Robin Schulz, besides Oliver Heldens, who to the rhythm of shuffle teleported us years ago with tracks like Wombass, Melody or Gecko. To the surprise of many, ended up performing with Reinier Zonneveld on the plane in what promised to be a set not to forget.
Avalan returned to make an appearance in the special-show with Antonia, with whom he made the festival anthem. We made our debut on the Spark stage to see one of the artists who has grown the most in recent years and who has positioned himself at the top of the current scene. Fisher was returning to Europe to bring us the most danceable and energetic rhythms of tech-house with classics like Losing It, Ya Kidding or You Little Beauty. To close the festival, we alternated between Carl Cox at Heat and Alan Walker on mainstage, to end with the last show of this first edition.
In short, another magnificent experience that we have been lucky enough to live. More so, being its first edition. A new step forward for ALDA. They have managed to adapt to the current situation to be able to celebrate one of their events and make Romania one of their future locations. During the festival, the dates for the next edition were announced. The days 3, 4 and 5 of June of 2022, SAGA will be 2 years old and… We hope to be there to tell you about it! In the absence of the announcement of which will be the venue, you can find much more information in the website of the festival.