A festival like a holiday – that’s the first thing you will hear about Summer Well Festival and you better believe it because they will go all the way to make you feel exactly like that! Starting with the peaceful venue that looks more like a garden and the lights that transform the whole location into the dreamiest place once the sun goes down, you are in for an amazing weekend!
Summer Well just turned 8 years old and we’ve been attending the festival since its first edition. For us every time we get there it feels more like a celebration thanks to all the great memories around it. All the adventures and friendships that bloomed there, as well as seeing the festival growing and transforming alongside yourself, makes it hard to imagine summertime without this three day feast.
Summer Well is an inclusive and eco-friendly festival that has been supported by Orange Romania from the very beginning, always being focused on well-being and relaxation. Named after Interpol’s single “Summer Well”, the festival hosted the band twice – on its first edition and seven years later marking 15 years since the release of the indie-classic “Turn on the Bright Lights”. Bands like The National, The XX, Suede, Placebo, The Vaccines, Kasabian, The Chemical Brothers, Foals, Jungle and many others rocked the stage during these years and earned the festival’s well-deserved reputation.
Summer Well takes place on the grounds of Stirbey Domain, a 19th Century Palace, 20 kilometers away from Bucharest.
The easiest way to get there is by the shuttle bus they provide from Victory Square. The round trip costs about 1.5 euros and it takes approximately 30 minutes to get from the city to the venue. The shuttles leave every 15 minutes or so. Make sure you have a ride-sharing app on your phone if you plan to party after midnight. Public transportation in Bucharest is available only until 11 pm so this is your best option.
If you plan to drive to the venue, depending on the traffic it will take you more or less than 30 minutes from the city center. You can easily park nearby without any charge or use the parking lots.
For the first time this year, a camping site was also available inside the venue. You can literally setup your tent right in Prince Stirbey’s back yard and that’s something. Unfortunately we didn’t get the chance to visit the camping but since the domain looks really good, you will most definitely have a great time surrounded by trees.
Food & Drinks
The festival has a large food lineup so there are a lot of options you can choose from. You can easily find your favorite single origin coffee at the festival because it’s a well-known fact – Bucharest is drop dead serious when it comes to coffee.
The price of a meal starts from 6-7 euro and the beer is only 2 euro. Between sets there is enough time to wander around the festival in pursuit of your cravings. There are all kinds of vegan options and the food palette is diverse.
Venue & Stages
We already told you that the festival is held inside of a beautiful domain, with lots of trees and even a lake with a few swans swimming in it. Summer Well is a family friendly festival and during the day you will see lots of people laying on blankets or enjoying different activities. You can pack a blanket yourself because what’s better than hanging out in the shade on a torrid summer day? If you don’t want to carry a blanket, people are friendly and you most probably can share theirs, but there are also beanbags all over the place.
Apart from the main stage there is a second stage where you can find some really vibrant performances. The stages are a few minutes away from each other and overlapping is not an issue.
People are particularly serene and if you’re looking for mosh pits or crowd surfing we can’t guarantee you will find any. The first bands usually take the stage just before 6 pm but eager young fans wait for their idols by the main stage fence for hours in the hot, hot, extremely hot sun. However, getting in the front row is easy because everybody is very polite and there’s an overall good vibe.
There is nothing ordinary about Summer Well. The festival starts on Friday with a night picnic that is meant to set the mood for the next two days. It starts late in the afternoon and it gives you enough time to browse the venue before Bucharest Symphony Orchestra takes the main stage and plays rearranged songs from the lineup. People lay on blankets and things tend to get pretty, pretty idyllic.
This year, Rhye performed on the second stage and brought the evening to a close, delivering an emotional performance. The sophisticated instrumentals and Milosh’s haunting voice was the perfect way to end a satisfying night by leaving you excited for the things to come.
The next day, Cigarettes After Sex delivered an ethereal, dream-like performance, mesmerizing the audience. I can’t say what got to us the most – Gonzalez’s hazy, androgynous voice or the band’s rigor. It definitely went well with the memory of Rhye from the night before!
On Saturday, in front of a crowd packed with teenagers wearing Migos merch, Lady Leshurr made havoc of the second stage and filled us with her endless energy.
French really know how to throw a party!
The electronic duo Justice ended the night with a big bang. As you imagine, it was all about the aesthetics – the carefully crafted beats, the light and the incredible stage design took us away. Just think of the incredible legacy they are carrying and how difficult it must be to make it as an electronic dance artist in France. The Ed Banger crew including Sebastian, Cassius or Mr. Oizo is truly amazing and it must be extremely inspiring for Justice to create in such an environment. So yeah, one thing’s for sure: the French do it better and acts like Polo & Pan, Sebastien Tellier, Acid Arab, Corine, Lewis OfMan or Jacques are here to prove it!
Isaac Gracie opened the last day of the festival making the front rows go crazy. Later during his performance, the long haired beaut covered the beloved “Creep” by Radiohead.
HMLTD, one of the „UK’s most thrilling new band” (NME), brought their visceral art-pop show on the stage and their genre defying Music! Music! Music!. Is it glam? It’s certainly some kind of a fetish. Here and there it sounds industrial!
Coming from a pre hashtag era, indie-rock darlings The Kooks were seductive with their British looks, accent and curly hair. Quoting a friend and even if we might repeat ourselves, this has to be said: „Curly boys do it better!”.