Featured Image credit: Oliriley Photography / Valeriu Catalineanu
It’s hard to make your festival stand out in 2019 as the competition is stronger than ever. But one way to do it is to head to a totally unknown and brand new territory for electronic music. That’s what UNUM did by setting up on the beautiful Albanian Riviera with a world class line-up.
The site was right on the beach, with mountainous views off in the distance and glistening, crystal clear water (in which you could swim or enjoy various water sports) stretching out in-front of us. Each night the flaming red sun sank into it to make for some special moments, so it’s no wonder a beach stage was one of the best places to be each day between 10am and 8pm for some sun-kissed and laid back vibes.
The other two stages in the pretty coastal town were a pirate ship that was hugely impressive for the main stage, and a smaller stage hidden away in the pine forests. It was an organic place to catch some real superstars such as Romanian minimal masters like Raresh, Cap and Praslea. They all played superbly stripped back sets of deft, infectious tech, house and techno that really got the crowd under a spell. Raresh, in particular, provided some moments that will stick long in the memory as he played a super classy set during sunrise on Sunday and really got the crowd excited.
The main stage on Saturday was the talk of the festival with enduring minimal legend Luciano finding some of his fantastic old form and weaving in a mix of classics with fresh new cuts and his trademark sense of flowing percussion, Latin flavors and catchy rhythms. Of course, Ricardo Villalobos usually manages to do something spectacular and so it was when he dropped ‘The Sinner In Me’ on Monday morning during a rainstorm. It was one of the iconic moments that the crowd – made up of lots of locals, but plenty of Europeans – were delighted to share.
Music runs 24 hours at UNUM, and the vibe of the whole thing is organic, natural and unspoiled. It’s easy to get around, get fed and watered, and the crowd was truly a music-loving one who weren’t afraid to get stuck in. As such, this is surely one of the hottest new festival tickets in town.