Gem Fest 10 – 14 august 2016. anaklia / georgia
Georgia I had a privilege to meet Gem Fest owners in two of my KatKaos road trips and that is how it came to this year’s cooperation, I was called to be a stage manager of Space Bar Stage which is managed as stage that works for 20 hours non stop with really underground line up. My shift was from midnight until 10 in the morning sometimes until noon.
To be completely honest I had no idea what to expect from Georgia and Anaklia where I was going, the only thing I was told is that I should bring everything what I need with myself because there is absolutely nothing to buy. I arrived to Anaklia in 5 AM and collapse into bed because I came straight after Lovefest and didn’t have time to sleep. When I woke up and took a look from my hotel window view, my thought was, I am in the jungle
Anaklia is pretty much rural place without any store or pharmacy for example and the only thing you can see are three hotels and one bridge that connects them with a beautiful beach of Black sea where the festival venue is. I came one day before the festival so mostly I used that day to introduce myself with people that I am going to work with and to check out the venue. Whole festival looked great, very interesting designed with thousand things you could do and of course with a Black’s sea beautiful warm water to swim in.
This year’s Gem Fest music program was presented on four stages, Main Stage, Space Bar Stage, Aquapark Stage, Kimonoa Stage and Off Stage (China House). Since I’ve been really busy with my, Space Bar Stage, the rest of the stages I was visiting whenever I could but honestly that was not much. Kimono Stage I visited only once, unfortunately, for my taste he was very interesting, perhaps visually the most interesting in the whole festival.
Main Stage hosted lots of big names among some of them are not in my sphere of interest such are Paul Van Dyk, Paul Kalkbrenner and Boris Brejcha but also some acts like Stephen Bodzin live which is worth of every respect.
Also among them were for example Anja Schneider and Gus Gus live for which I was very veeeery happy to see.
During the day, beside Kimonoa Stage there was Aquapark Stage which was super exiting, of course because it was settled in aqua park Because of my night shifts I was sleeping during all days but for one day I really had to wake up earlier and visit this stage and DoP live performance. I was longing to hear them for quite some time and of course my expectations were totally filled in. This very charming trio muscly sounds great but beside that they really know how to make a show with their constant communication with a crowed.
Off Stage (China House) was an after hours stage and to be honest which I had only visited on the last morning on the closing of the festival. Venue is absolutely perfect, whole space looks like those houses from Chinese culture whith a DJ booth located on one of the terraces, just in front of the sea. There is no better feeling than after 5 nights of hard work you finally can relax and enjoy yourself in such a venue with perfect music, lots of new but already dear friends and sea view. There also, I had a chance to listen to some for me new names with really good music
I will single out special paragraph for my, Space Bar Stage on which I have left my soul during 5 festival nights :))) Line up was more than interesting on very high standards and I will highlight things that were for me the most interesting in every night.
For my job opening night as Space Bar stage manager according to the timetable there was a name which was already old school when I was on my very own rave beginnings, Mister Onur Ozer. From when I was a teenager I wanted to hear him and now finally I had a chance.
The highlight of second night was Mano Le Tough’s three and a half hours set, which as I have expected, didn’t leave me indifferent. In addition to a very interesting music selection which I really can’t classify under any particular direction and also perfect mixing ruling on 4 CD Players, the thing that I was thrilled about was his totally chilled energy and absolute commitment into the mix, for those three and a half hours he was completely immersed into his work.
Yes, Mano was a main act of that night but also a part of that night’s Mave Showcase so beside him I had a great opportunity to listen to rest of the gang from Mave label, The Drifter and Baikal. They also impressed me with their music selection which was also from various electronic music directions and this showcase is really my very warm recommendation to all the promoters.
After them DJ booth went to Nuno Dos Santos who, with also with a very specific (in highly positively meaning) music selection, drove us through next 3 hours of his set.
To be a part of this more than really great night, closing set privilege in the early morning had a local DJ Tade, to whom I became an instant fan. His set just left me speechless…
At third night I arrived on my hot spot around midnight just for the set of young DJ Julia Govor, currently based in NYC but with Georgian roots. With her three hour set, this young lady drove us with her good techno style and showed us her great 3 CD Players skills full of positive energy.
Just after her came Barac to whom I was longing to hear because here in Serbia we have a crew of DJs and clubbers which I deeply respect because of their taste in music and they deeply respect Romanian DJs and their scene, but I, until now didn’t have a chance to hear no one from that scene. First of all I have to say that Barac is absolute super cool guy , very pleasant, communicative, merry, immediate and considering all of that of course that his music is also great. Frankly, I thought that Romanian style was much more flatter… :)) I really loved his rhythmic and melodic music, perfect for the soul and dancing with a total pleasure.
After Barac, stage belonged to Tini who is well known for her highly positive energy and cheerful character. In her three hour set she blown us away with her music, mixing and positivism!
On the penultimate evening I came a bit later to Space Bar Stage because I was caught by tiredness of my 10 to 12 hours of work on my previous nights and for this evening I was needed the most for Petre Inspriescu’s performance who is also one of the old school representatives of Romanian scene. There were some complications during his travel so he was late on his timetable so I had a chance to listen to local DJs to whom I very liked and among them especially Gio Shemeglia.
Petre finally have arrived but instead of scheduled 4 hours set we had an opportunity to listen one hour and a half or maybe two hours of his music in which he for sure has showed his skills and music for which he has so many fans all around the globe.
The last night came and at the beginning of my night shift was also the time of the beginning of DJ set of Famiya Tanaka to whom I was looking forward because he was also a part of my rave beginnings. An old school name who kept his sound until today.
After him Binh continued on turntables and he was an total highlight for me, I was overwhelmed with his music which also has an old school sound in it, with very quality mix and selection of super interesting tunes.
In morning hours the honor of this year’s closing of Space Bar Stage went to one really beautiful lady who is at the same time great DJ, K.atou. Thank you K.atou for for ending this year’s Gem Fest with beautiful tunes and great vinyl mixing <3
For the end of my review I would like to sum up. All Gem Fest disadvantages are in organisational part where some parts of the team are unskilled but the good thing is that can be easily fixed and I know for sure that for the next years edition they will be much better trained. Also one more problem that I predict in spreading of the festival is timetable changing that organizers did very easily and maybe this years crowed which was mostly local crowed or from Russia or Iran, they tolerated that, but when Gem Fest attract more international festival clubbers , for them or to say for us, timetable is one of the golden statues of the festival and it can be changed only in extreme conditions or some unpredictable circumstances on which the crowed has to be informed on time.
I would also like to point out the most positive things that make a really huge impression on me and because of what this festival is going to be better in every next year and for sure if you ask me it will spread in speed of light… Whole organisation made big effort that whole festival zone is looking super interesting with a thousand things to do like all kinds of different deckchairs to chill in, swings to swing in or many other things… Everything really looked perfect visually. One of the things that made me very happy and for sure every other pure music love is the DJ set length which was between 3 and 4 hours for those really important acts. I love that because then you can really hear what is the real music and skill of a performer. Also I would like to outline some of the Gem Fest crew members who gave all their strength and devotion into the team synergy and collaboration because of which this festival is going to go make progress for sure.
And my biggest, biggest impression is a definite great quality line up because of which I have enjoyed all of 5 days of really great music.
Next year’s Gem Fest dates are 14. July – 14. August, so party time for a whole month
Georgia, I can’t wait to see you again ! <3