ARTmania Festival 2019


Event: ARTmania Festival 2019
Written by: RaduP
Published: 11.08.2019

Galleries:

ArtMania 2019 - Day 2 by RaduP (35)
ArtMania 2019 - Day 1 by RaduP (27)


ARTmania is pretty much a yearly tradition for me, being the festival which I've attended for the longest time, yearly since 2013. I may not have attended both days for all of the years I've been, but the July trek to Sibiu is something I did for a long time and I'll do for as long as I remain in Romania. This time was also special, it being the first ever even where I got media accreditation. So I'm gonna tell you a bit about this year's edition.






ARTMANIA DAY 1: FRIDAY, 26th JULY

Me and my girlfriend got the train tickets two weeks early, remembering full well from last year where there were no seats left on the most convenient train as early as a full week beforehand. A full trip of socializing and getting to know the couple that sat in front of us replaced my initial plans of reading, watching movies and listening to music from the bands that would perform. Because we arrived so late, all of the city visiting was left for the following day, instead we arrived at the Large Square just to get the accreditation and entry sorted, with my camera ready to take some crowd pics, and soon some band performance pics as well.




FJØRT

Myrkur was initially supposed to perform, but due to her pregnancy, the performance had to be cancelled. It was a bummer for me, since I bailed on her Roadburn performance specifically thinking I'd see her here. Instead, ARTmania announced Fjørt and Möbius as replacements, me not being familiar with either bands. Or at least so I thought at the time, once I got home and looked at the cover art for Fjørt's Couleur did I realize that I had listened to it. Regardless they were still quite an unexpected addition to ARTmania , who seems to have warmed up to metalcore and post-hardcore stuff. Their performance was really passionate and I loved the language barrier for German, despite being able to pick up some words and phrases, because it made it seem all the more genuine. The energetic performance was enough to send a message without understanding any words, though they did seem to tackle on some social issues, as they stated in between songs.






WARDRUNA

Wardruna kind of ruined the rest of the festival for me, because I knew nothing afterwards could stand to be compared to it. Performance-wise, I loved it and there's nothing to complain about, but spectacle-wise it left to be desired. I can't help but compare Wardruna to a similar band that I had seen live before, Heilung. Though I love the music of Wardruna more, Heilung was something from which you couldn't take your eyes off with their costumes and theatricality. In contrast, Wardruna still had costumes, but the bland white background, lack of any movement and daytime setting all contributing to it feeling underwhelming. So I did what any sane man would do. I closed my eyes and all the downsides disappeared. And suddenly it became the best set of the festival.






ARCHITECTS

Coming back from the Wardruna meet and greet just in time for Architects to start playing, I didn't have such high expectations of them, as I wasn't really that into their music. Which is why I had to see them live to really get it. It was a pretty big departure from the transcendental sounds of Wardruna, but with enough of a break between the two sets, I was able to really get into the energetic metalcore performance. And I mean really get, with their set being the only one where I really felt like headbanging and jumping around (which is admittedly less comfortable to do with a camera around your neck). With a bit more oomph than Fjørt but just as passionate, I could tell how much some of the audience connected to their songs, and how emotionally heavy some of the songs from Holy Hell were, especially in regards to Tom Searle's passing. Sam Carter, the vocalist, also seemed to have some connection to our country, telling us about his Romanian friend and how much she means to him, to later reveal that he's talking about his dog. I have to agree, Romanian dogs mean a lot to me too.






DREAM THEATER

The band that most people seemed to be excited for. To my dismay, they had a special list of photographers that I obviously wasn't included on, so I had to try to snatch some decent pics from the crowd, something which isn't as easy to do when once you finally get a good shot, someone's phone gets in the view to get their own capture of the event. The musicians were obviously great, especially Petrucci, Myung and Rudess, with the latter moving around with a keytar at times. A lot of people I know asked me about Mangini's performance, but sadly I can't say I paid much attention to, I just saw how colossally big and cymbal-heavy his drum set was and just assumed he's up for the job. Having never seen Dream Theater before, so especially not with Portnoy, I couldn't really compare between the two, though I probably would've liked to see them back then. LaBrie was surprisingly decent, though he's still obviously the weak link of the band. What was the best part of the show was him announcing that they will return soon with a tour that celebrates the anniversary of Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory, which I'm now considering attending. And since they would come again, since the songs that I liked were on the end of the setlist, since both me and my girlfriend were tired from the road, we both went to get some food and then left.






ARTMANIA DAY 2: SATURDAY, 27th JULY

Tired no more, this was to be the day where we would finally have some time to go through the city and explore and eat out and all that. We knew that ARTmania had a lot of extra events and exhibits outside of the main concerts, but as with all years, we completely forgot to check those out and instead went to another museum from the Bruckenthal complex, this time the natural history museum, where we found out that humans would eat anything. We also found a place that served a steak that costs over 40 euros, so we got some burgers instead and then went to get some drinks with some workmates who were also at the festival.




MÖBIUS

While unknowingly knowing Fjørt, I was completely unfamiliar with Möbius. So you can imagine my surprise when I saw just two people on stage and started hearing a distorted wall of sound. After all this time, we finally had some droney sludge on ARTmania as well. Unexpected and also something I would rather have seen in a club than on the stage at midday, but a welcome change and a pretty delicious sound. An unfortunate name to say the least, since me and our friends theorized how hard it would be to find the band since searching for "Möbius" or "Möbius band" would probably get you just the actual Möbius band.






ALCEST

It wasn't the first time me and my girlfriend saw Alcest, but we were both really excited to see them again regardless. The set was obviously shorter than the headlining set we saw beforehand, so obviously some of our favorites weren't played, but it was great to hear "Percées De Lumière" and "Oiseaux De Proie" again, and even better to afterwards talk to my friends who haven't seen Alcest before. And what can I say about an Alcest performance that hasn't been said before. It may not have been spotless, but at the time it felt as such. I really wouldn't mind seeing them for a third time.






MADRUGADA

Even though I love both Opeth and Alcest, those were both bands that I had seen before, so it was Madrugada that I was actually most excited to actually see live. Having never heard of them before their announcement for some reason, they became the discovery of the festival for me and their songs entered heavy rotation, especially the songs from their debut, Industrial Silence, out of which the basis of the setlist consisted. And with the dark just setting in, it was the perfect mood for the bluesy alternative music, that felt very romantic and soothing.



But for some reason I decided to go to the Alcest meet and greet, which was a big mistake. First, I stood in the queue to get some food, in a place of the festival where I could both see and hear the band perfectly, but then we left that queue to get in the meet and greet queue, which would have started in 20 minutes, and knowing Alcest's popularity, there would be quite a lot of people willing to get it. And there was a big crowd waiting already, so we waited there, in the back of the stage where we could still somewhat hear the band. Only 30 minutes were scheduled for the meet and greet, with Madrugada themselves holding a meet and greet afterwards. So with groups of five getting in, just as there was just one more group ahead of us, we were informed that the meet and greet was over, and the group ahead of us, which got there after us obviously, told us that they were there for the Madrugada one and if only they had known that we wanted to see Alcest, they would've let us in. Great.




OPETH

Bummed from sitting at two queues and still getting jack shit, we went to see the festival closer. A band which we have seen before and they played (almost) the exact setlist as before. So we stayed by the drinks queue and spent our last tokens just as the beers were running out, so our third time's a charm. Feeling joyful from the mischief of those who could no longer get a beer made Opeth's repetitive performance feel much better. Though I have to agree that this time Opeth actually sounded better, both sound quality and performance-wise than the first time I saw them, and the banter between songs was pretty funny. As the last notes of "Deliverance" were going on, we headed for the gates to avoid the crowded mess they would soon become.






CONCLUSIONS AND SUCH

This edition was really a special one for me, especially due to the accreditation. It was fantastic to be able to photograph bands from the designed area even though I still felt like an intruder considering how big some of these fellas' camera objectives were. I constantly felt like someone would turn to me and say "Wait a minute! What are you doing here!", and it felt a bit weird to photograph the people in the crowd too. But knowing my experience from previous festivals where afterwards I would search through the posted crowd pics in hopes I would find myself, I decided to get over the feeling. Obviously I still had to appear in some of mine, because if you want something good, you do it yourself. The biggest challenge was going from shooting a club gig to shooting a festival, where the stage was taller, the light was different and it was constantly getting darker, so I found myself constantly trying to find better shutter speeds, apertures and ISOs. I kinda fucked up, but less than I thought I would.

It was also great being able to go with my girlfriend for the second time in a row, and also getting some friends/workmates to come too, them even staying right next door to us in our accommodation. They mostly came for Dream Theater, but I was happy knowing that they got to enjoy most of the other bands too. Especially Wardruna and Alcest.

The thing about ARTmania is that it takes place in the center of Sibiu, the Large Square, which does mean a few things. First of all, it's a very beautiful area with buildings from a few centuries ago that are still in great condition. There is a lot that one can sight-see around the festival area as well and there are a lot of gift shops and places to eat around. With a few super markets around the festival area, you could chug as much alcohol before or in between sets so you wouldn't have to spend on the understandably more expensive stuff from inside the festival. It also being a big city means that there's plenty of accommodation to be found, though one must still not be too late in searching for one.

Food and drinks in the festival area were not cheap, but they were far from the most expensive I've seen. I'm not exactly fond of the token system, but 7 lei (1.5 euro) per token is a pretty decent price. I didn't get to eat anything from inside the festival, though I did try (blame the queues for that), but the drink menu was nothing I could really complain about.

So now the queues. Ugh. I know there isn't much that the organizers can do about most of these, with there being plenty of people serving at bars and with food obviously taking a lot less to be done than a beer takes to be poured. The queues and the security at the entrance also moved quite quick. The one I want to complain about is the meet and greet queue, which, as it happened, can lead to one staying in the queue for 50 minutes and still not getting in, with folks who came later but were more aggressive in getting to the front managing to do so.

It being a festival that takes place in a city, there are of course laws that stop the performances from lasting after midnight, which means that a lot of sets have to be shifted to earlier in the day, most of which were sets which really don't fit in the daytime. But this is obviously something common for most open air festivals, so ARTmania make up for that with having some of the best sound quality I've seen in an open air festival.

Also the worst and really weird part about Sibiu was that all shops/fast-foods/etc closed at midnight, just as the last band finishes. When we left early from Dream Theater, this wasn't a problem, but leaving after Opeth we were surprised to find out that our favorite shaworma place was closed and looking through food delivery apps, we found out that all the places were closed too. After some frantic searching for one place that was still open, we did walk a few kilometers but we did get our well-earned kebab.

It's also over way too soon for such a great experience. Being used to three of four day festivals, and getting there in the afternoon on the first day meant that we didn't spend even 48 hours in Sibiu. But those were some great less than 48 hours.

To wrap things up, here's a pic of us and Wardruna:



So check out the galleries for Day 1 and Day 2, and our crowd pics Facebook album.



 



Written on 11.08.2019 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments

Comments: 11   Visited by: 26 users
12.08.2019 - 12:44
nikarg
Old Nick
Sounds like a great two-day break man. And Madrugada are bloody awesome, Sivert Høyem is an outstanding vocalist. Because of him, this is one of Satyricon's top moments in their entire career.
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12.08.2019 - 12:46
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by nikarg on 12.08.2019 at 12:44

Sounds like a great two-day break man. And Madrugada are bloody awesome, Sivert Høyem is an outstanding vocalist. Because of him, this is one of Satyricon's top moments in their entire career.

Oh man I didn't know that Satyricon thing

I wish I stayed for their whole performance, they were definitely a highlight
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12.08.2019 - 12:53
nikarg
Old Nick
This concert was also out of this fucking world, location-wise and music-wise. "Give It A Whirl" is one of my favourite songs of all time.
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12.08.2019 - 12:55
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by nikarg on 12.08.2019 at 12:53

This concert was also out of this fucking world, location-wise and music-wise. "Give It A Whirl" is one of my favourite songs of all time.

I guess I should also get into his solo work
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12.08.2019 - 15:59
Bad English
Masterchief
Man in sweden you can buy stake cheeper as there wtd, romania has higer prices. Great article man
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Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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12.08.2019 - 16:00
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Bad English on 12.08.2019 at 15:59

Man in sweden you can buy stake cheeper as there wtd, romania has higer prices. Great article man

That was just the most expensive steak, of course most of the steaks were around 8-12 euro.
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12.08.2019 - 16:54
Bad English
Masterchief
Well in swe ca 30
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Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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12.08.2019 - 22:17
musclassia
Really nice write-up man, sick that you got to meet Wardruna. I'm still annoyed I umm'd and ahh'd about getting a ticket for them last year and it ended up selling out, although I got to see the Einar Selvik/Ivar Bjornoson tour earlier this year which made up for it.

Interesting to hear the SFAM tour is coming to Europe, although the I&W one was slightly underwhelming and that's easily my favourite album by them, so unsure how much I'd enjoy that tour. Can't day their setlist from this festival looked amazing, bit of a shame that At Wit's End isn't being toured considering it's easily the best song from Distance Over Time. Solid Opeth setlist though
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12.08.2019 - 22:34
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by musclassia on 12.08.2019 at 22:17

Really nice write-up man, sick that you got to meet Wardruna. I'm still annoyed I umm'd and ahh'd about getting a ticket for them last year and it ended up selling out, although I got to see the Einar Selvik/Ivar Bjornoson tour earlier this year which made up for it.

Interesting to hear the SFAM tour is coming to Europe, although the I&W one was slightly underwhelming and that's easily my favourite album by them, so unsure how much I'd enjoy that tour. Can't day their setlist from this festival looked amazing, bit of a shame that At Wit's End isn't being toured considering it's easily the best song from Distance Over Time. Solid Opeth setlist though

Wardruna are coming to Romania again next year and I'm considering going just to see them in a better setting.

The Dream Theater setlist was one of the reasons why I left the show early, with most of the first half of the setlist being DOT songs that I really wasn't interested in.

The only problem with the Opeth setlist is that I already heard them play every song before and I only saw them once before.
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12.08.2019 - 22:41
musclassia
Written by RaduP on 12.08.2019 at 22:34

Written by musclassia on 12.08.2019 at 22:17

Really nice write-up man, sick that you got to meet Wardruna. I'm still annoyed I umm'd and ahh'd about getting a ticket for them last year and it ended up selling out, although I got to see the Einar Selvik/Ivar Bjornoson tour earlier this year which made up for it.

Interesting to hear the SFAM tour is coming to Europe, although the I&W one was slightly underwhelming and that's easily my favourite album by them, so unsure how much I'd enjoy that tour. Can't day their setlist from this festival looked amazing, bit of a shame that At Wit's End isn't being toured considering it's easily the best song from Distance Over Time. Solid Opeth setlist though

Wardruna are coming to Romania again next year and I'm considering going just to see them in a better setting.

The Dream Theater setlist was one of the reasons why I left the show early, with most of the first half of the setlist being DOT songs that I really wasn't interested in.

The only problem with the Opeth setlist is that I already heard them play every song before and I only saw them once before.


Did they already play Romania earlier this year? I kinda got the impression they mixed up their setlists fairly regularly
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12.08.2019 - 23:04
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by musclassia on 12.08.2019 at 22:41

Did they already play Romania earlier this year? I kinda got the impression they mixed up their setlists fairly regularly

It was in 2017 actually
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