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An Event to Remember: TAMTAM Festival 2020

By Attireclub @attireclub

Every event organizer was severely impacted in 2020 by the context of the current crisis. One after another, events got shut down around the world; from the Geneva Car Show back in the spring to the much-awaited Olympic Games, which were supposed to take place in Tokyo.

An Event to Remember: TAMTAM Festival 2020

However, some events did manage to happen, in one form or another. One of these few happy cases was that of the TAM TAM Festival, now at its 2nd edition, which is held in the Romanian city of Brasov. The festival was started last year by pianists Ioan-Dragos Dimitriu and Horia Mihail, both artists with international recognition, and took the world of East-European festivals by storm right from the start. In 2019, many artists performed on 7 outdoor stages and in a few indoor venues, in parks and on the streets of the town. The festival, even though it was organized by two classically-trained musicians, focused not only on pretty much all types of music, but 5 arts were represented in total. Thus, locals and the numerous tourists (as Brasov is a huge travel hot spot in the region) could enjoy not just music, but also dance, theater, film, visual arts and more. There was even an event in which cooking was mixed up with music. That is some idea! Last year, the festival took place in July, which was a great time and which allowed many tourists to enjoy the festival.

An Event to Remember: TAMTAM Festival 2020

Earlier this year, the organizers announced that the festival would be even bigger, lasting for more days and featuring some international household acts and that they would even have an "off-festival" season, organizing single events under the title "TAM TAM Reverb". But, as with any great story, there was obviously a twist, as, right after the first concert from the Reverb series, the world got thrown into the corona crisis, which saw many events get cancelled. Unfortunately, while the crisis did have a great negative impact on the health of many, it also had a big impact on people's work, their travel plans and their incomes. Some of the most affected people were, of course, independent artists, who saw their livelihoods go down the drain for the year. And, what else can you do if there are no jobs around?

Because they got the situation from the start, the organizers of the TAM TAM Festival soon embarked on a unique project that allowed both artists and audiences to win. In this sense, they organized a series of shows and concerts which were streamed live online, to which people from anywhere in the world could buy a ticket. This way, singers and other performers did not see their income disappear completely and people could enjoy a live concert at home. The Digital Stage project was a very good idea, as it allowed people not only to take a break from the uncertainties of the present, but it also gave viewers and artists a sense of being connected through the live show.

An Event to Remember: TAMTAM Festival 2020

The idea of being connected is something that is part of the festival's world view, as, through it, the organizers wish to make art a part of people's lives and also to allow those with artistic interests (and inclinations) to take the stage on occasion. #BeTheArtist.

A few endless months later, after the shutdown ended, events were still quite restricted in pretty much all parts of the world, including the city of Brasov, which was subjected to some serious (and on occasion dumb) restrictions. However, the intent to move forward with the festival was still there, even though, it was clear that, if it were to take place (and that was a big if), it would have to be done with quite a different approach. Soon enough, it became clear that it would have to be smaller and that the international acts were completely off the table.

The global and the local situations were changing fast, and so were the plans for the event. The dates got moved, the lineup changed (more or less) and the location was still unknown. It would have been hard to make a festival with 7 outdoor stages spread throughout the city with all the measures that were in place. Doing it somewhere in the city center would have also been hard, since events were limited to a certain number of attendees and were subjected to other conditions, which would have made the whole thing a strategic mess.

And so, the festival got pushed to September, if, of course, the world would not enter a new lockdown. In the meantime, the organizers found a great idea of how to make the whole thing happen. It would take place on the sports field of a local elite high school, which is in the open air and which has fences, which allows the team to control how many people are inside. Also, chairs had to be placed at a distance.
Because it was part of the festival's concept to spread throughout the city and make it vibrate at another level for a few days, some parallel events were organized at a local private art gallery and also at some local restaurants and cafés where music can be played. Horia Mihail, together with violinist Filip Papa organized again the Musiculinaria event, during which they played classical music and cooked for a big audience and two exhibitions were also organized; one in front of the high school's stadium and another in a newly-renovated public square.

In the end, the festival turned out to be quite different than what was expected. It was, however, still a fun three days, where people could walk around, listen to music, check out paintings and photographs, enjoy music by the windows of a gallery or outside it and have an overall good time. Foods and drinks were also present and people could also buy some locally-made pieces of jewelry from a small brand. The nights brought the headliners to the stage, which were some big names in the nation and people had fun singing along, dancing and waving their phone flashlights. It was a dreamy atmosphere, of which the month of September 2020 had not dreamt a few months prior.

What is great about a festival such as TAM TAM Festival is that one can see so many forms of artistic expression is a somewhat condensed time. Some of them are quite surprising, such as a classical quartet reinterpreting rock songs, others are timeless, such as Beethoven being played with refinement and finesse. The smooth sounds of jazz seem to be just the right soundtrack for an early fall, and the beats and guitars of rock'n'roll bands bring some dynamism to an otherwise lonely autumn night.

An Event to Remember: TAMTAM Festival 2020

The reason why a festival consisting of an eclectic mix is a great idea is because it allows people not only to enjoy the things they love and their type of artistic expression, but also to discover new things. In today's world, where we all spend hours each day glued to our screens in our own cultural bubbles, we often don't really get to experiment with new ideas, new ways of expression and with new people.

It remains to be seen what will happen in the future with the TAM TAM Festival, but, for now, it can brag about being one of the few standing events in a world that is quite shaken down. Its mere existence goes to show that things can be achieved and that culture can thrive, even in a quite unfriendly environment.

Festivals today are on a growing trend. Clubs and pubs may be fun, but millennials really prefer festivals. In a recent survey by Virtualnights, more than half of 18- to 35-year-olds (54%) named music festivals and open-air events as their favorite types of spending their free time.

Great festivals bring together thousands and thousands of people in a festive atmosphere, which often seems otherworldly. And in this atmosphere, we meet new people, we have fun and discover ourselves. And that is why festivals can really be the next great thing and the place where people will create many of their happy memories.


The article was originally published (with many more pictures) in the autumn 2020 edition of InCompany by Attire Club.

P.S. We want to hear from you! What do you think of the state of the event-organizing world today? What events did you miss in 2020? What do you think will happen in the future? Share your feedback, questions or thoughts in the comments below! For more articles on style, fashion tips and cultural insights, you can subscribe to Attire Club via e-mail or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

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