Even if September is already here, let’s admit that a small part of us is still lost somewhere in the last days of summer. That’s why we decided that it’s never too late for recalling some special moments, such as the ones we had at Gustar 2014.
This time, Veronica Guranda was „challenged” to retell us about her experience at the festival! Let’s discover the story together!
“Hi! I am Veronica Guranda, 22 years old, a Moldovan student at Durham University, UK and Sorbonne, Paris. I prefer to spend my spare time and money on books, traveling and last but not least on coffee with friends.”
Now that you’ve virtually met her, let’s go to the festival itself!
“I would define Gustar not only as a music festival, but a festival where you can not only enjoy music, traditional art, food and beverages, but most of all it is the journey back to the country side and a return to the communal way of life, distancing oneself from the daily anxieties of rushing around everywhere.
It was the first time I had the opportunity to experience Gustar! I have been trying for two years to get to Orheiul Vechi for this event, but there was always something in the way. So, I was excited. Some of my friends enjoyed the whole experience, others said that they didn’t enjoy it as much as they had expected due to some organizational issues, however I believe if one is in the midst of that natural beauty and looking up to see the vivid colours of the sunset along with people dear to you, some things matter less, and others more, it depends on personal perspective.
What determined me to take part in the festival? It was probably the insatiable desire to take part in anything and everything that was organized this summer in Moldova. Of course, one of the motives was Goran Bregovich´s musical performance. My longing to travel and rediscover Moldova and Orheiul Vechi was imperative, I must say, even though I have been before in that region, during school years, this time it had a different feel and a more lively and spiritual atmosphere than ever before.
My first impressions, well they were many they came as an avalanche as we were heading down the serpentine sandy hill, in the sunshine, strolling in the green grass stopping to greet the local horse and carriage and to immortalize the hot air balloon in the sunlight and surrounded, taken hostage by the hills of Orheiul Vechi. The nature was mesmerizing and everything looked peaceful, yet exhilarating. The que wasn’t as big as the rumours were circulating, there was a lot of space in the middle to lye down on a blanket or dance. The stands with ´la blouse roumaine´ or ´ie´, traditional sculptures, pottery (along with a master class) hand-made jewelry, books, etc were located on the left side of the stage as you entered the festival area, on the right side there was the area destined for the tents, o both side were placed cubicles, at the back, facing the stage there was a wifi area and tables, bean bags, whilst around the whole are you could find stands with food and beverages.
I went before to festivals in other countries, so I had certain expectations, or better said some kaleidoscope pictures switching under a cheerful soundtrack in my mind, but since I have lived most of my life in Moldova, my highest expectation was to be happy and have fun, and at the back of my head I knew that it wasn’t going to be perfectly organized. But then if it were it wouldn’t have been fun, though if only the organizational team would have made sure they had more cubicles, and water during the whole three days of the festival, the people would have been happier with less queuing even though we know how much fun it is to queue and make new friends, and would have left the festival cleaner, but yet again where is the fun if you don’t get dirty.
I have stayed the whole of Saturday until late. We decided not to stay the night and Sunday because the weather forecast promised heavy rain, so it was a wise decision to stay home on Sunday, however we missed the opportunity to go dancing in the rain and get all muddy with the people who stayed in tents there. Then we came back on Monday and stayed the whole day as well, until late in the night, gazing on the Chinese lampions parting into the obscure sky whilst enjoying a warm traditional cottage cheese pie and the fresh cool air of an August night.
I haven’t had time to explore the surroundings, nor the village, even though I wish I did, time passed by too fast for me whilst meeting friends and exploring the festival area. I hear that the people from the village who were hosting or renting their house/ rooms in their house to visitors were hospitable and welcoming, some of them even got home made food and wine to serve before the festival. There are churches and monasteries to visit, a ´geto-dacian´ sanctuary, Tatar baths, a medieval spring, and other places of extraordinary beauty.
If you are wondering how well-organized was everything, well… The que for tickets and at the entrance progressed fast, so the people working there were efficient. The stands were placed well, there was a lot of space in front of the stage to dance and lye on the grass. I think everything was strategically well placed for the visitors. Though there were not enough cubicles and sanitary facilities for all the people who attended the festival, therefore the people were forced to que for even half an hour as the serpent que extended and grew. The food was tasty and at the points I consumed food all sanitary rules were respected, though it was not expected that so much food was going to be consumed, but the local delicatessen were worth the wait! There wasn’t wifi on the whole perimeter, but then again you aren’t going there to use social networks (or if you are snap out of it and enjoy nature!). The people who camped there complained that they had water only during the first day of the festival and the other two they didn’t, and I had witnessed the dirt on their hands after peeling the potatoes cooked at a camp fire. Even though it is a habitual thing for bands to take their time and set up their instruments, therefore being hard for them to start their performance on time, probably some people who had a busy schedule wished for the written schedule and the times of performance to be respected more. A complaint and at the same time a regret vociferated by many people who were working was that Goran Bregovic´s performance was put on Monday, and many of them couldn’t have made it to it, but it is also understandable that the organizers were constrained as well by time limits and Goran´s own schedule.
I personally, as a person who doesn’t own a car, really wished there would have been organized transport at more frequent time to and from the festival region, rather than having just a couple of buses going once per day and returning back at the end of the concert, plus the price for the transport was higher than the price or a ticket per person per one day, which adds up for a student’s budget. But then again, the organizers came up with a great idea – you buy a ticket for three days and it costs you 100 lei (whilst one ticket per day is 60 lei)! All performances were soulful and energetic. The artists really gave their best and the fireworks were magnificent, even better than at some national festivities, I would say. Security, the police and the ambulance was always present handling the situation well and helping out. There was provided a huge area for parking and it was good that it wasn’t too close to the festival area because then it would have been busy and dusty. The ticket was designed well, it had a map of the region, all the useful information, a short touristic guide and top attractions to see, pensions where to stay, so it was useful when exploring and making the most of Gustar and Trebujeni, the village. The traffic was moving slowly at the end on the festival, but the police teamed up well and everyone got home safe and sound in an ordered line.
And now, coming back to the main things of festival… The music was great, yet again I´ll have to mention Goran, but other local bands and Estas Tonne, Alex Calancea band, Concertino and Gandul Matei, but these are just a few of my favourite performance, then again individual tastes are not debatable, so I reckon everybody preferred a different act. I enjoyed admiring the skill and creativity with which were made some traditional pieces of clothing and other pieces of pottery, sculptures. The home made pies made there by a lovely grandma were heartwarming and tasty! There was plenty of beer and home made wine, other types of food and sweets, books to read in the sunshine and plenty of green grass and blue sky to enjoy! Everybody was lovely and happy.
The atmosphere was cheerful, and everybody felt free and happy hoping around greeting friends and, of course, taking selfies to immortalize the glorious escape from the busy cities and from the mundane selfies, wait what… And probably the most interesting things for a lot of the people who attended the event, was seeing old and new friends, meeting new people, as I have mentioned the vital element was the communal experience, simplicity and beauty, spending quality time with dear people and having the benefit to have all of them gathered at the same time an inhabiting the same space as you – Wonderful!
Well, per ensemble, the experience was a lovely and happy one, and the organizational details that I have mentioned, were details and if they will be taken into account and improved then I believe they will have to extend the area of the festival, because it will be small for the amount of people eager to come to Gustar, since the quality of the visitor´s experience will be improved. It is great that such festivals happen in Moldova and are organized, since the people do want some diversity and more nature in their busy mundane lives, and more communal relaxing experiences with good people, good music and good food (don´t forget about the wine).”