fEAST Festival 2014 Review

Over 1000 people packed into venues over the weekend of October 10th to enjoy the great music and passionate atmosphere of fEAST festival, London's first Romanian music festival. As well as sponsoring this pioneering festival for Romanians living in the UK, O2 International Sim were on hand to capture all the action, including great live recordings of the headlining bands, photos and reviews of each night. So if you were down the front or couldn't make it, take a look below and relive the festival all over again.

fEAST Festival Review – Day 1

This weekend marked the debut of fEAST Festival, the first Romanian indie-alternative music festival in the UK. With three days of great music from some of the best Romanian artists and special guests to look forward to, all put together in carefully selected locations, the event was off to a great start.

fEAST was organised by Gazeta Românească with O2 International Sim as the event’s official sponsor, with their pre-paid International SIM offer that gives you calls from just 1p/minute.

The first night of the festival was held in Soho at The Borderline, a venue boasting an amazing history. Since its opening many years ago, The Borderline quickly started to attract top stars and emerging talent, especially when Britpop was born. In no time it became an essential gig stop-off for any aspiring artist of that genre.

The up-and-coming artist everyone was talking about at fEAST was the festival opener, British singer Lily Oakes, who was performing as a special guest. Lily hypnotised her audience with a minimal sound that blended perfectly with her voice. Violin and piano were mixed with strong beats and a hint of trip hop. If you missed her performance, check out her Soundcloud site and listen to a couple of her tracks, starting with ‘Sometimes’.

Next in the line-up was Mihail from the Republic of Moldova, another talented young artist with a love for the acoustic guitar. His concert was a clever mix of original songs composed in either Romanian or Russian with well known and loved covers like Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone by Bill Withers or Save Tonight by Eagle Eye Cherry.

His performance felt very personal and close to his heart, with most of the songs being about love and relationships. His style would best be described as a mix of indie/pop with touches of blues. A natural troubadour, it wasn’t hard for him to connect with the audience. At one point everyone starting singing with him, enjoying the beautiful story each song had to offer.

During the short breaks between artists, the atmosphere was kept alive by a DJ while people enjoyed a free drink at the bar, compliments of O2 International Sim.

The last and probably most awaited performance of the first night of the fEAST Festival was The Amsterdams, a well-established Romanian indie/electro band. They got together in 2005 and since then released three albums, Adolessons (2009), Electromagnetica (2011) and Winds Apart (2013) under their own indie label Post Pop Records. They’ve also opened gigs for big names like Morcheeba and The Cranberries.

The minute The Amsterdams got on stage everybody started screaming their name. The whole place felt alive and you could feel a great energy in the audience. They played songs from each of their albums and I was pleasantly surprised to see that so many people knew the lyrics, singing and dancing along with them until the very end. For the last song they invited everyone on the stage to end the first day of fEAST Festival in a big way.

The great music and passionate artists made a real success of the first day, giving the Romanian community in London a reason to get together and celebrate.

fEAST Festival Review – Day 2

Saturday was the second day of the fEAST Festival and the line-up for the night was focused on alternative rock, with concerts from Electric Tuxedo, Robin and the Backstabbers, and O.C.S. (Omul cu șobolani).

On Saturday and Sunday the festival was held in a new venue near Highbury and Islington tube station, called The Garage. This particular building opened as a music venue in 1993 and very quickly established itself as one of the finest when it came to indie and rock concerts. Some of the bands that have played here since then include Green Day, Muse, Arctic Monkeys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Oasis, The Killers and Suede. With such big names in its portfolio, The Garage was the perfect choice for what was about to come.

The special guests responsible for opening the night were Electric Tuxedo, a very young and dynamic Romanian alt-rock band with three members. Andrei, the lead singer, has a day job as a hip-hop teacher at Oxford. Their performance was met with great enthusiasm by everyone in the audience and it was exactly what every rock fan needed to kick-start a great night.

If you want to listen to some of their tracks, such as Prison Of Roles or Chess, you can find them on SoundCloud.

The second live act was performed by Robin and the Backstabbers, a band formed in 2010 in Bucharest. Their debut album Bacovia Overdrive vol.1: Stalingrad was a success, winning ‘Best Alternative Rock’ award at On Air Music Awards 2013, Romania.

The moment these guys came on stage was the moment the party really started. The band knew how to deliver a great show through their electric music and everybody seemed to enjoy their magic. You could feel the energy coming from the stage and hitting you with each and every note. They gave it all for their fans in the audience, making it one of the best gigs at the festival.

So far, everything was perfect; great atmosphere, good music, one of the best audiences and a free drink courtesy of O2 International Sim.

The last performance of the night was reserved for another great Romanian alternative rock band, O.C.S. or Omul cu șobolani. The band formed in Constanța, Romania in 1997. They won the ‘Best Rock Band’ award at the MTV Romanian Awards in 2006 and to this date they have released 8 albums, the last one in 2013 called Marea Căutare.

O.C.S. was welcomed on stage with a roar. Everyone was ecstatic and throughout the entire concert the fans never stopped singing their lyrics and asking for more songs. During the few seconds between songs they would scream the band’s name, which incidentally is very easy to pronounce in Romanian, making everyone there sound like one loud voice.

As expected, O.C.S.’s performance was spectacular and electrifying. Their sound would simply embrace you, giving you more and more energy. They were the perfect choice to end another great night at the fEAST Festival, a festival that seems to get better and better by the day.

fEAST Festival Review – Day 3

After two days of great music and amazing performances, everyone was full of excitement for the third and last day of fEAST Festival, a Romanian indie alternative music festival that had such an energetic debut.

On the last day the venue was packed. Word had obviously got around about the quality of performances and tonight was all about hip-hop.

Just like the first two days, the show was opened by a special guest, and this time it was The Speakers doing the honors. They are a young indie rock band from Romania with a special sound design combining retro-electro vibes with strong British rock influences. In December 2013 they opened for Morcheeba in Bucharest and the audience loved them. It was a great opportunity for them to promote their just released debut album at the time, Brake The Borders.

Singing tracks from their debut album, The Speakers easily warmed up the crowd and got everyone in the mood for partying.

Like the previous days, the O2 International SIM promoters were on hand with a free drink voucher to get everyone started for the night ahead.

The next band to take centre stage was C.T.C. By now the house was full and by the look of the audience it seemed that almost everybody there was a hip-hop fan.

C.T.C is a well-respected Romanian hip-hop band, formed in 1999. Since then the band has released eight albums under their own independent label called Facem Records. During this time, they’ve collaborated with many known artists from the Romanian hip-hop stage.

Their show at fEAST Festival was a real treat for the fans. Everybody was singing and jumping from the first song to the last. It almost felt like the audience was part of the band during the whole concert.

The last performance of the festival was delivered by another great hip-hop band, Subcarpați. They create a very special sound that combines electronic music and hip-hop with strong influences from Romanian folklore – underground folklore.

To this date the band has three albums: Subcarpați (2010), Underground Folclor (2012) and Piele de găină (2014). The project was also described by British newspaper The Guardian as “an explosive mix of old and new”.

And that’s exactly how the concert was – explosive. The strong beats felt amazing and MC Bean’s voice is unmistakable. If you haven’t heard anything from Subcarpați you should start with Balada românului. It’s got a great music video to match.

Being there and listening to their music made it almost impossible for people in the audience not to think about Romania and their loved ones back home.

fEAST Festival was more than just an event. It was an experience that brought a community even closer together than it was before.