Ok, so I like electronic dance music, more specifically Trance. When I started in the 1990's, the US was a bit behind in that department.
Still, with San Francisco and San Jose nearby, I've had some opportunities to see some great EDM/Trance DJs. Back in the early 2000's, they sadly played club music in the US that was nowhere close to the hits they had composed and were known for, but over the years, as Trance started becoming more popular, those DJs finally started playing their good tunes in the US too, and maybe from 2004 on, it's only been getting better. Popsicle Halloween 2004 was really the beginning of great music parties in the San Francisco Area, and thankfully things have gotten even better since then
As a matter of fact, after another 10 years (2015 and beyond) the good news is that Trance has grown quite a following in the US, and places like the SF Bay Area, and while Trance has been declared dead a few times in the last 10 years, it's still going strong here.
Trance Family SF is definitely strong in the area, we've been getting more big trance parties every year, including many top DJs that come visit us what feels like every other week now (as of 2018-2019), and through those events, I made many friends in Trance Family SF. Thanks to you all.
Over those years, I got the chance to meet a few of my favourite DJs, including Armin more than once, and my last hobby has been to work on lights for my shirt and pants (version 3) and (version 4)
While Cluj is a bit far for me, I liked the festival so much in 2021 and 2022 the festival atmosphere, and the trance lineup were so good these last 2 years, that I was happy to go back one more year.
This year it was easier to go there since I lined up sightseeing on Poland just before flying to Cluj and benefited from the direct flight. Arrived just in time to check in and enjoy the first day.
Always cool to see Untold cars right at the airport:
glad to be back
and they were too :)
The fact that it's in a park, you can ride the paddle boats (although it stupidly requires wristband only money):
And amusement stuff for kids:
also, this :)
One thing that Untold does well is having a lot of performers to help with the atmosphere:
Great to see happy trance people this year again, and people who have 3 years have now become friends:
As well as many of my favorite DJs:
So many nice decors to get pictures with:
Cool to see Galaxy the first day, before it opened. Didn't go back much since it was hard techno, not my favorite
Of course, I spent most my time at fortune, the Trance stage
I have a portion of Aname's set here:
A bit of mainstage:
Back to fortune with Ben Gold:
I came back bright and early on Day 2 to see Exolight and Suncatcher for a wonderful sunset set:
Glad to see kids dancing, new customers for Trance:
Their full set is here:
Went to check other stages too:
Back for Ilan Bluestone:
Full Ilan Bluestone set recorded here:
Key 4050 next:
And another wonderful FactorB vs Craig Connelly B2B:
Entire FactorB vs Craig Connelly B2B set recorded here:
Finishing with Allen Watts:
Full Allen Watts set recorded here:
all the way to sunrise, with all the birds waking up :)
So, the previous year and the first 2 days of this year, I was able to record entire DJ set by installing my camera on a light pole that was just the right distance from the stage. It all worked well until it was stolen on the 3rd day, including some sets that were on it:
setting up to record Exolight and Suncatcher
switching recordings between DJs
Yes, I was being over optimistic in my camera being safe enough there, some asshole managed to climb there in front of everyone and detach it behind my back without getting caught. Sad, but oh well, it's life. Unfortunately this also means the sets I recorded that day, are gone.
It was great to see Ruben the Ronde again, with a set similar to what he played at ASOT London a month prior. I enjoyed it just as much the 2nd time :)
And then, my pal Faid from Aly and Fila:
I've also become a big fan of Xijaro and Pitch, some really great trance with some pretty epic remixes:
The end of the night as a bit less fun once I realized my camera had been stolen and all my video recordings were gone. Oh well...
Quick Video Summary from Day 3 from bits taken on my cell phone:
Untold is not for the weak, 4 days, and those days are up to 16 hours :)
unfortunately a bit of rain came by, but it didn't last too long
well, more than just a bit :)
After the rain stop, Daxson came, my first time seeing him, and it was great trance:
Andrew Rayel next:
The WLT, We Love Trance:
From there, it was time to head up to mainstage for David Guetta and Armin:
Unfortunately Armin started very late, and after a 30mn commercial break which was agonizing knowing how little time left I had before having to leave the venue to run to the airport for my 06:00 flight out I so regretted having but couldn't change anymore:
And while Armin was nowhere close to being done, but started way too late, had to run to the airport to barely make the luggage checkin deadline:
it was bittersweet to watch the rest online, but oh well
Quick Video Summary from Day 4 from bits taken on my cell phone:
Should you go? Would I go Back?
Untold is in my opinion one of the better/best festivals in Europe, and even on the world stage, it is worth going to, I have done so 3 years in a row ;) Given the distance from California, I may not go every year due to distance and cost, not even counting time conflicts with some other festivals, but definitely recommend you go check it out.
They put a lot of effort turning this public park in Cluj into festival grounds, and do a very good job with it.
The security staff does a good job with searches being targetted well and plenty of security staff within the event (looked like the entire town's police and gendarmerie)
I'm obviously biased towards trance, which was at the fortune stage like all years. It is run by Bodgan and other trance lovers for trance lovers
Festival has the longest hours I've seen anywhere, from around 16:00 to maybe 08:00 for the last stage. 16H per day for 4 days!
Only a couple of carnival rides, and you need to pay for them, sadly using their fake unreliable wristband money
Yeah, sadly, they do not accept contactless credit cards and still require you to load up money on wristbands, which is a waste of time, long lines in some places, and totally unncessary. Please stop.
Lots of stages, I think it was at least 8 depending on how many of the smaller ones, you count
Mainstage is massive, but unfortunately has a weird layout with things massively blocking the view in the pit if you're not in the front, but if you watch from the back elevated seats, it's a good view, albeit distant
Mainstage fireworks are nice, but nowhere close to what you'd see at something like EDC
Mainstage also had up to 30nn breaks between main DJs, where you would just sit there and they would play commercials. That was honestly lame and they should stop. It was even worse when Armin started almost 30mn later than he could have when he was already scheduled so late in the night.
VIP is mostly worthless unless you're happy to have a side view which isn't as good in my opinion, and it's only useful for mainstage. Unless you like to have your private area with bar, or private tables that cost even more, VIP does not make sense in my opinion
Is it worth flying across the world for? Yes, absolutely. Do it!
Thoughts about this year:
One natural thing when you go back to the same festival every year, is that the Wow factor goes away a little bit compared to the first year, but still, it felt like a magical place and magical moment for those 4 days
The trance lineup was more sparse this year, unfortunately it seems that Untold is deciding whether to still fund Trance as a major genre for Untold, and I've heard unofficial that Untold Dubai may not have any trance stage at all. If so, that would be a pity, especially as many trance fans travel to Untold just because of the stellar trance lineup they've had.
I originally heard about Untold due to a massive 8H set Armin had done before Covid, but by the time I was able to go in 2021 and 2022, Armin didn't come because he was supposed to play in Bucharest instead and that show then got cancelled ;( I was excited this year that he was finally coming back, but became sad when I finally learned that he was going to play the very last timeslot. Flying out of Cluj is not easy, and most flights are between 06:00 and 07:00 on monday morning. Sure enough I had a 06:00 flight that was impossible to change by the time Armin was announced that late, and only got to see about 1H of his set, with a huge rush to the airport afterwards to make it out, what a bummer :(
Still, despite the challenges, less trance this year, and terrible timeslot for Armin, still had a great time. Thanks to all who made the magic happen.
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