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If there’s one thing we’ve all been searching for after the past few years – it’s probably ‘escape’. Neversea doesn’t feel like you’re just escaping to a field in someone’s back yard – but more that you’re escaping to a whole new world.
Sitting on the beautiful sandy beaches of Constanta, Romania, Neversea Festival promises four days of electronic music from pretty much every sub-genre imaginable, plus a few huge popstar curveballs, and the weather and surroundings that most of us pay through the nose for on our summer escapes.
There are five ‘official stages’ at Neversea, ranging from the huge production of the Main Stage through to quirkier tents like Oasis and Daydreaming. Mind, all stages at this festival feel as though they could be main stages at other festivals. The attention to detail on production – from the literal build of the stage, through to the epic sound and lighting setup – really does leave other festivals with stacks of homework.
Musically, you’ve got the kind of huge commercial electronic names you expect – like cake-master Steve Aoki, tech powerhouses like Paul Kalkbrenner and Amelie Lens, and those pop curveballs we mentioned.
One of those curveballs is Black Eyed Peas – a booking in that beautiful sweet spot of huge tunes that everybody knows, plus the energy that gets 70,000 people going crazy. It was so crazy it took us 20 minutes to get to the other side of the stage.
The Ark stage brought a personal highlight in drum ‘n’ bass’ fresh prince Netsky, who closed off Friday with a blissful concoction of his own smash hits as well as some well appreciated throwbacks like Knife Party’s ‘Bonfire’.
Also on The Ark – and arguably one of the most anticipated performances – was Tik-Tok rap-superstar BBNO$ (pronounced BB No Money). They posed that classic question: can viral success translate into a resonant live show? In short, yes. Smashing through existing hits into potential hits and rinse and repeat, BB has world-class superstar written all over his beanie.
Something worth mentioning – and not something you’d normally expect to be shared in a review as a standout part of the festival – team Neversea have really smashed the brand ‘activations’. There’s over 20 stalls of interactive setups across the festival that all seem interesting and fun, and don’t leave you feeling like you’ve been sold something. There’s human grabber machines, crowd-facing games of Just Dance, and a bar that floats in the sky that you can only access if you buy a pack of cigarettes.
I guess the best way to summarise is after all my years of attending festivals, not much can surprise me. Neversea, however, was full of them.