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Club Review

Reviewed: 2019 New Years edition of Inside Festival at RomExpo, Bucharest


The New Year Party is the ultimate party; an occasion that brings us all together to celebrate the same thing no matter what age, sex or nationality we have. Everywhere, someone is drinking, eating and dancing, marking the passing of years, and you can be surprised by the variety of ways people have fun around the world. Romania was my destination, a country very well known in the electronic music scene for its minimal techno. Since that is something everyone already knows, I’ve checked out all the events for a different kind of night and, decided to attend Inside Festival, a party that had Denis Cruz, Reelow and Andre Buljat as headliners. The first two are well known members of the Solid Grooves family, and of course notorious for their tech house affinity and the latter is the owner of Yakazi Record Label and member of the Pacha Barcelona team. They were not the only ones to entertain the crowd. The Dutch Toman opened the party at nine pm, followed by Marco Briguglia at eleven pm. From midnight until three am Reelow b2b with Andre Buljat, followed by the Spaniard Denis Cruz that rocked the decks from three am until five in the morning. Next on the line-up were The Gang (RO), Rin F and Cezar Stefan. All this was programmed at the C6 Hall of RomExpo, an extensive exhibition and fair centre that usually hosts commercial presentations and special events.

We decided to arrive early and rave through the New Year. We wanted to check out and try to follow all the NY traditions and customs from Romania that really suited our night out. First, traditions say you have to make a lot of noise to scare away the evil spirits. We knew that would never be a problem as the sound system was insane.  Second, you have to wear something new and red or colourful to attract good energies: new, red underwear, check! Traditions also mention you should have money in your pockets to attract wealth and my favourite, to not sleep through the first day of the year otherwise you will have a lazy and unproductive year. By that rationale, we decided to look up three after parties just in case. The last but not least they also mention it is good to have garlic in your pockets, but that was a bit too excessive so maybe next time.

As we entered, the large C6 Hall of RomExpo Toman was opening the night with beats that reminded slightly of the minimal vibe, the place was not packed yet, but people were constantly arriving. Tracks like Rossi´s ‘Dub Inventions: A1’, Stevn.aint.leavn´s ‘Dread’ and Toman´s Subtly were announcing that the night was going to be epic. Marco Briguglia was next to cheer everyone. He is an Italian based in Bucharest, part of the Shade Events an event planning company that focuses on electronic music parties (Tech House and Techno) in Bucharest. Heavy tech house tracks sounded from his mixes and only 10 minutes before midnight when the entire venue was already full; he gave away the decks to the b2b protagonists.

Vloop Studio was in charge of the visuals; the much-crafted boys offered a complex optical experience as well as a very exciting last-minute countdown until 2019 that had everyone hooked up to their loved ones for a kiss or to their phones for the perfect Instagram story. Whichever it was everyone exploded as Reelow and Andre Buljat boomed us in the New Year, with intense lights and confetti. Need to mention that between the confetti there were fake five hundred bills that added to the climax of the night a Balkan touch.

From this epic b2b that had everyone dancing and jumping around, I could save tracks like Inside by Unknow7, Reelow´s ‘I´m a soul’, Bootleg´s remix of ‘Transitions’ by Mihai Popoviciu and ‘Cand Am Venit’ by Floog.

Denis Cruz was next for two hours, you could tell the Romanian public knew very well what was about to happen. Everyone cheered his entry to the booth, the light show was intense, and the tracks started to poor all over the crowded dance floor. I could spot all ages, mainly young ravers under their 25th´s. The VIP area was also vast, with many people enjoying the music and the vibe. Whether you were backstage or in front of the DJ booth, the energy was the same. Besides his world famous ‘El Sueño’ featuring Martina Camargo, Denis Cruz also dropped tracks like his remix of Simon Harris´s ‘This Is Serious’ that will be out on the 15th of February on Elrow’s  imprint. It was the second time he was in Romania, and he said it was a great way to start the year. I could sense beautiful complicity among the DJs, dancing with each other and cracking jokes, as they were drinking shots at the rhythm of the beat drops.

Up next The Gang (RO) smashed the decks with their beats. They are a local duo that started as residents at Inside Festival and now they have their imprint Techzone Bucharest and work closely with Shade Events. Amongst the tracks, they selected pieces like Pork and Fitch´s Extended Remix of Erick Morillo & Jamie Jones feat. Gene Farris´s ‘Medication’, Cocodrills´s Remix of Cuartero´s ‘Enderezado’, and Santos Bastard Jack´s Remix of Steve Mac´s ‘The Noise Bastard’. I could see two confident, very professional young artists, close to their fans and friends. In the middle of their set, Denis Cruz could not help himself and joined The Gang in what was an unexpected highlight of that night.

The last one to close the event was Rin F that played melodic techno tracks suitable for the end as everyone was leaving around nine am. We know he just released on Ozono records so keep an eye on him. The last name on the line-up was Cezar, but they cancelled as the crowd left around ten am, which is not early at all taking into account the place was packed before midnight. Despite that Cezar did have the chance to play during that magical night. At 8 am he opened the Shade Events after party at Palatul Bragadiru, the venue we went to as soon as Inside finished.

Regarding the space at RomExpothere were enough bars to satisfy everyone’s thirst, large cloakrooms, token payment and no glass policy. The host and owner of the party Ruxandra Ymbre was very friendly with us, and the DJs and staff had only lovely things to say about her. I must say I felt like home around the venue, I guess once you are inside the Inside family, outside is no longer an option. Happy new years to all the readers, this 2019 looks promising.