Starting your day bobbing around in the Black Sea then partying through the night until you sit on the beach watching the sunrise to booming techno is just the way of life for the Neversea dreamers.
Each year Neversea hosts a beach festival unlike any other at Constanța, Romania. Celebrating electronic music from far and wide, spanning international favourites Amelie Lens and Netsky to homegrown minimal heroes such as Arapu and Cezar B2B Prâslea, alongside major acts such as Tyga, Black Eyed Peas and Steve Aoki, Neversea is a festival that unites genres from across the world.
Organised by the creators of the spectacular Untold festival, it's safe to say there's also nothing low-key about the Island of Dreams — especially when this year’s festival saw 260,000 festival-goers unite across the long weekend from July 7 to July 10.
Neversea’s Main stage might be the most colourful stage to ever exist. Even with the lights off, the stage is framed with a tropical underwater scene of coral. Screens on this frame show stingrays and jellyfish swimming around prior to each act, making the crowd feel submerged in a psychedelic deep sea dive.
For day one, the Main stage is brought to life with headliner Alesso. Not only do the crowds celebrate Alesso’s live set but we all also celebrate his birthday. You can sense the excitement of his special day feeding into the assembled dancers as they go berserk, especially when he plays his Katy Perry featuring track ‘When I'm Gone’.
Looking for some more hardcore action, The Ark is the go-to stage that never-fails to have a mosh-pitting crowd. Fashioned in the shape of a wooden ark, the stage shoots a host of lasers and rainbow spectrums that burst through the festival. Hosting dubstep, drum ’n’ bass, liquid, hip hop, rap, and trap, the energy is high throughout, especially with the likes of Netsky, Borgore and DJ Shiver keeping people moving until the early hours.
Speaking of staying up — techno stage, The Temple opens at midnight and continues throughout to mornig. One set that keeps many awake and sprightly is the techno phenomenon, Amelie Lens. Other big names that feature on this stage’s line-up include Jamie Jones making his return to Neversea this year for a set on Sunday before Richy Ahmed’s closing 6:AM spot.
One stage that is styled very different from the rest is the Oasis Stage, creating a small desert filled with cactuses and peace signs that plays hours of house classics from DJs spanning Claptone to Anna Tur.
There is never a dull moment at Neversea. Going to grab a pizza from one of the independent food stands results in finding yourself watching smoke bomb fireworks fill the blue sky with colour before planes rocket across in formation doing a synchronized dance. In fact, fireworks become the norm as they constantly blast into the atmosphere, turning performances into spectacles with eruptions of confetti. And when it’s not fireworks that you can see, you cannot escape the sound - as many festivals have already heard this year - of Stranger Things-themed remixes that always receive a cheer.
The chaos of entertainment continues beyond the stages as Neversea has a huge range of activities for all to get involved — play Just Dance against strangers or even marry your summer-love, the possibilities are endless.
Black Eyed Peas headline Saturday night and a carnival atmosphere is already assured before they even open their mouths. ‘I Gotta Feeling’, ‘Let’s Get It Started’ and ‘Where is the love?’ are just a few of the ultimate singalong tracks that whip up the crowd. There's no time to catch a breath as every single soul present belts out each and every lyric. It feels like an extra special moment, especially since this is the first Neversea since COVID. Frontman will.i.am drops the cherry on top with a powerful speech on his admiration towards Romania and his love for neighbouring country, Ukraine, leading to tens-of-thousands of people chanting “I love you Romania” with the group before the set continues.
Ending the festivities is German dance producer Tujamo who performs a very special live set on the Main stage. Prior to his set, he speaks about the atmosphere at Neversea this year by saying that “even after two years, it feels like nothing happened as everyone is so free and fun. I think this is what we all need right now.”
Tujamo has previously performed at the festival and says that he always gets “ the warmest welcome ever and people are so friendly”, adding that even today he's received eager messages asking when he will return to Romania. When asked about how it feels to close such an almighty festival, Tujamo says: “It’s the biggest honour you can get as there are so many artists it's crazy that the festival gave me this slot.”
Something that makes Neversea stand out from the crowd is its environmental awareness. Set on the shore, it's very obvious that the festival is cautious of damage to the natural environment. With a huge amount of attention to detail, discarded rubbish and plastic is barely seen. Staff are constantly picking up any sight of litter and, where it can be, things are made with renewable materials. You can even trade your finished cans for vouchers to encourage recycling.
Check out some picturesque images from this year’s Neversea Festival below.