Of late, I’ve been indulging in a love/hate relationship with this city I’ve spent almost half of my life in. These days, it’s more breathable since the majority of students went back to their home towns for the summer vacation and most kids have probably been shipped off to their grandparents by exhausted moms and dads. But when the traffic is insane, drivers honk their horns like madmen and pedestrians manage to somehow be ultimately confused and rude and condescending at the same time, my levels of frustration soar.
I must admit, I’ve not experienced these feelings since the first time I came to Cluj in my first year of college – I thought the city was too busy, way too noisy and the people in too much of a hurry. I thought I wouldn’t last. I was wrong, it grew on me without my even noticing when and how that happened. So I’m fairly convinced this is just a phase my adoptive city is going through and hope it ends soon, before it does make me give up on it.
There’s a lot of criticism that can be addressed to the city and its authorities, but one thing is undeniable: people here dream big, to use a buzzy word, they innovate and love to stand out in their own indisputably unique way. So imagine my delight when I learnt that Cluj would be the host of so many large music festivals this year, besides all of the cultural events part of the European Youth Capital. These festivals are not an easy feat to pull off, especially if held for the first time – everything will be an experiment, live A/B testing if you will. Expect hiccups. But be patient, in the end you may be very pleasantly surprised.
I’m thrilled that big festivals are not the monopoly of Bucharest. Cluj has the creative resources to organise them in a way that deserves praises. So let’s give ourselves some credit. There have been so many complaints already regarding the way UNTOLD kicked off. I’m not going to be able to see for myself today – my energy is somewhere below sea level, so will rest up and hit it in style starting tomorrow. But I refuse to go there with a negative attitude and with a more than necessary critical eye.
Let’s have some fun! And if things don’t turn out perfectly this time, let’s learn from our mistakes so we can make it an epic experience next year.