Since the turn of the millenium a sound has spread from the Southern Eastern edge of Europe and made waves across the world. The compelling power of Romanian minimal, a lean and intricate style popularised by frequent Ricardo Villalobos-collaborators RPR Soundsystem (Petre Inspirescu, Raresh and Rhadoo), is now a staple in the planet’s finest dance parties, placing the Black Sea-bordering nation firmly on the dance music map. And in tandem, Romania has also emerged as a serious player in the world of festivals, with landmark events introducing new and experienced ravers alike to the country's vibrant dance domains.
A new vital figure in Romania's emerging prospering scene is Neversea, started by the team behind the nation's largest music festival, Untold, and set on the beaches of Constanța, a picturesque coastal city on the Back Sea coast. It made its debut last year to high acclaim, with a whopping 153,000 attendees making the pilgrimage to the 3-day event. The party sported a line-up that blended local and global talent, with Sven Väth and Nina Kraviz rubbing shoulders with Priku and Herodot on the Romanian coast.
This year, the Neversea team have taken it up a notch by inviting a whole host of new artists and DJs to its sandy shores. The Mainstage features an array of heavy-hitting, chart-topping headliners, including Trance maestro Armin Van Buuren and EDM champions Steve Aoki and Hardwell.
The underground-focused Temple stage returns, with appearances coming from Paradise head Jamie Jones and Nina Kraviz. A range of Romanian talent is also on offer, including the aforementioned Raresh, Praslea, Dan and Premiesku.
Daydreaming is centred around a hypnotic array of DJs, where notable names such as Acid Pauli, Black Coffee and Claptone will be deploying their trance-inducing sets to the masses. Notable d 'n'b, dubstep and hip hop acts ply their trade on the Ark stage, including Chase & Status, Dope D.O.D. and DJ Premier.
What makes Neversea particularly special is its location and impact on the local community. The stages are set around the picture-perfect beaches of Constanța and attendees will get memorable views of the Black Sea. Constanta is also the oldest city in Romania and contains a UNESCO World Heritage Site to boot: the beautiful Danube Delta that flows into the Black Sea. Partygoers can also experience the Gorges of Dobrogea that boasts a unique and scenic landscape pockmarked with towers, columns and pyramids.
For some post-party down time, the beautiful and varied village of Vama Veche is half an hour away from Constanta and well worth a visit. It is famous for being a countercultural paradise and many people continue to camp on its vast beaches, boycotting the newly-built hotels to protect against the encroaching tide of gentrification.
Another element that separates Neversea from the pack is its intricate connection to the local area. Last year the festival injected over 20 million euros into the city. It has also done its bit for the country at large by collaborating with the Blood Network Campaign to raise awareness of Romania's low blood transfusion rates and mobilise thousands of young Romanians to donate blood for the first time, helping to turn the tide of a national crisis.
This year's edition runs from July 5 to 8. You can find out more information about the festival on its website.