Last weekend, September 13-15, Timișoara was Romania’s core of multiculturality as Plai Festival opened its gates for the 8th edition. Plai is already a strong name in Europe, growing and improving year after year, being nominated for “Best Small European Festival” at Festival Awards.
There was a friendly vibe as you entered the Banat Village Museum: fresh air, people buzzing around, the smell of steaming pastries and traditional Romanian food, ambient music. The whole place was breathing music, art, tradition and culture.
Music is an important element of Plai Festival and Plai surely knows to make the best of this, bringing throughout the years, artists from all over the world to share a little piece of their music and culture with its audience. But besides music, the good thing is there are plenty of other activities you can get involved in and spend a good time such as painting and origami workshops, yoga exercises, graphic, decorative arts, photography, ecology, theater, movies, a nice Chill spot and many many others.
Young talented artist Maïa Vidal came all the way from USA to warm-up Plai Festival for three nights in a row. The audience was pleased to listen to her Indie-Chanson-Toy-Folk tunes. Once again she opened a sold-out show for the beautiful Isabelle Geffroy, better known as ZAZ. Being for the first time in Romania, ZAZ’s performance brought 5000 people at Plai closing the gates for a SOLD-OUT night. Definitely the most anticipated moment of the night was listening to her popular “Je Veux” or “On Ira”, and the public enjoyed it to the fullest. The night continued with DJ Kuky and DJ Flow at the Chill Zone and their energetic mixes.
The big second day of Plai and maybe the most awaited as Patrice was the headliner for the second year in a row, has been compromised by the unfriendly weather. However, an apple flavored warm wine always helps! The rain messed around with us all day long, but you could still join some activities like a DJ workshop at Chill Zone or a movie at House of Movies tent.
Maïa Vidal did her best warming up a bit the atmosphere, before Vieux Farka Touré joined the stage. Son of Grammy-winning Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, Vieux Farka Touré mentioned that he and his colleagues did a long way from Mali to Timisoara through Paris and Bucharest to be there, on stage, at Plai Festival. Also known as “Sahara’s Jimi Hendrix”, he shared with us a little bit of Africa’s beauty and warmth, singing tunes from his latest release, “Mon Pays”, as well as old ones, managing to make the audience sing along him.
Finally, time for the highlight of the night and the weather messed with us again. Rain started to fall as Patrice hit the stage for an uplifting performance, as always. Highly appreciated artist worldwide, and in Romania as well, Patrice brought joy, positivism, and love through music. Being his first show after the release of “The Rising Of The Son”, the artist smoothly mixed the new tunes with his old popular ones, blending acoustic moments with powerful energetic ones, in an impressive set which couldn’t end well without an encore.. a rainy encore. Patrice’s performance was like a mystical, inspirational cycle, a exchange experience of love.
He showed his appreciation sitting in the rain as everyone else and singing which, personally, I found it as a very respectful. Patrice talked about the beauty of being alive and having the opportunity and luck to enjoy every second of life.
“You know, my album talks about the rising of the sun but now, it’s raining.. The good thing about this is that even if it’s raining, you know that the sun is always out there, behind the coulds”
Right away after Patrice, everyone found a nice shelter at the Chill Zone where Megga Dillah was already performing his MiniReggaeLive program, and the party continued as the night before with DJ Kuky and DJ Flow.
Last day of Plai pleased us with a sunny weather, perfect to get to know a little more the place. Maïa Vidal got a big applause for her three days show, and Baba Zula came up on the Big Stage, a Turkish alternative musical group who became more exposed since 2005, being featured in “Crossing Bridge” documentary. They definitely conquered the public with their psychedelic reggae dub fusion, incorporated in a Turkish traditional atmosphere. At some point, Murat Ertel revived the revolutionary spirit in the audience talking about injustice and touching a very sensitive area for the Romanian people today: Rosia Montana very controversial project.
Next year, Plai Festival will open again for the public on September 12-14, 2014. Until then, make sure to show some support starting with October 1st, and give it your vote for the “Best Small European Festival” at Festival Awards.