Preview: Electric Castle Festival, Romania

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Now in its fifth year, Electric Castle is to return to the picturesque Transylvanian environs of the restored Banffy Castle, Bontida. The festival is an open-minded extravaganza, encompassing the best of rock, electronica and dance music. Bridging the divide between mainstream and alternative culture, Electric Castle has cultivated a burgeoning reputation as one of Europe's most inventive boutique European festivals, with a consistently impressive and eclectic booking policy.

The bill regularly covers a wide spectrum of sounds, from indie-rock to reggae, techno, hip-hop, metal, E.D.M. and underground dance. Last year's edition featured sets from Sigur Ros, Bastille, Skrillex and Enter Shikari, and previous headliners have included such luminaries as Fatboy Slim, Rudimental and The Prodigy.  This year's line-up is stronger than ever, boasting world-renowned names such as, Franz Ferdinand, James Lavelle's UNKLE project, Mike Skinner (The Streets), and alt-J, alongside a range of stellar acts including Moderat, Slaves, deadmau5,  Sohn, Trentemoller, Zedd, Duke Dumont, Cassy, Paul Van Dyk and hip-hop old-timers: House Of Pain.

As well as a rich musical palette across seven stages, the festival offers cinema screenings, yoga classes, thrift markets, art installations, a renowned food court, a barber shop, street theatre, stand-up comedy, audio production workshops,  a sprawling camping area, and guided tours of the castle and its twenty-four acres of stunning historical scenery. The Dance Garden and the Reggae stage are particularly notable for their staying power and legendary after-parties. Refreshingly, Electric Castle is not your standard, short-term, fast buck enterprise, for it ploughs profits from the event back into the restoration of the castle itself.

Electric Castle Festival is at Banffy Castle, Bontida, Romania, from July 12th-16th, 2017.

Michael Sumison