Mamaia, Romania – May Bank Holiday Weekend
From 1 to 4 May 2014, I traveled to Mamaia for what was billed (by my Romanian friends) as the biggest party all year in Romania.
Mamaia is located on the Black Sea to the north of the city of Constanța, an historical city with architectural vestiges of its former Greek, Tatar and Turkish communities, as well as, Romanian, of course.
Mamaia is an extension of the city of Constanța along a 8-kilometer isthmus.
Map showing the location of Constanța, Romania
I had already visited the resort several times during the summer of 2013 to sample the Romanian seaside scene. On that occasion in late July, the resort was teeming for Romanian families and young party revelers.
View of cable car at Mamaia
1 May is Ziua Muncii or Labor Day and a national holiday in Romania. At this time of year, the weather starts to heat up and tens of thousands of young people descend on Mamaia for several days of music and debauchery. The 4-day break also coincides with the Sunwaves music festival featuring many renowned international DJs.
Map showing the location of Mamaia and Constanța
A one kilometer stretch of beachfront in Mamaia hosts the venues, which include Sunwaves and Mission for the electronic music vibe, a similar beach bar called Kudos and three large clubs – Le Gaga, Ego and Fratelli, which pump out more commercial music. The proximity of the venues caters for party hopping from one vibe to another that even the most inebriated reveller can easily handle. Turbocharged with energy with such a plethora of party options, sleeping more than a few hours at a time become unconscionable during the electro-charged 4-day extravaganza.
The beach scene at Mamaia during the 1st May weekend
Sunwaves headlined with German-Chilean Ricardo Villalobos and featured an array of other international and Romanian DJs such as Marco Carola, Lee Burridge, Nastia and Petre Inspirescu. I totally loved the irrepressible nature of the festival … the days and nights seamlessly merging into one 72-hour long fest. Villalobos even came back to play the afterparty on the Sunday (which had free entrance) so those who hung on were treated twice over to his legendary minimal house sets.
Mission headlined with Carl Cox and also featured Luciano and Loco Dice for a more deep house to tech-house grove.
The three super beach clubs provided ample opportunity to mix in a more commercial setting with parties continuing well past breakfast time with the parties getting wilder and wilder as the sun rises … Being in Mamaia smelt like teen spirit (lithe, joyous and mischievous all mixed together).
Sunrise in Le Gaga
I first heard of Sunwaves festival from some Russian friends who are regulars about 5 years ago. Having spent the 4 days in Mamaia only now in 2014, I left asking myself: “Why has it taken me so long to have come here?” I will be back again next year for sure … 🙂