Smida Jazz Festival
Smida Jazz festival is dedicated to bringing together various genres and encourages cultural dialogue among countries, as its hosted artists are both Romanian and international. The festival is a truly unique cultural project in Romania and it focuses on promoting avant-garde and innovative approaches in jazz, with a truly international dimension.
Smida Jazz Festival is organized by the Transylvanian Cultural Development Association, whose main goal is to actively contribute to the development of the Transylvania province through promoting the festival's location, as well as local products and traditions. Also, the association is working to support both Romanian and international contemporary jazz, by trying to fuse together several music genres. These avant-garde sounds are often lacking in the Romanian and Eastern-european music landscape, as most events focus on traditional jazz.
Smida is located right in the heart of Apuseni Natural Park, one of Europe's last great size remaining carts regions (76.000 ha). The Natural Park is also home to more than 1.500 caves, the closest of which being the Big Cave in the Valley of Firii. The Apuseni National Park is also home to underground glaciers, Scarisoara and Focul Viu being two of the most important ones (roughly 40km and 24km, respectively, away from Smida).
The little hamlet of Smida is located at an altitude of 1.100 meters and according to the 2007 census, hosts only 22 souls. The wooden houses seem to be able to magically freeze time, and their appearance and the landscape will make you feel like you travelled back in time 100 years. So we would advise you that, on your way to the festival, you set your clock according to this dilated, slowed-down life rhythm. It's really the perfect place to forget about your worries and unwind.
We love nature and we are absolutely in love with Smida, which is why we take the task of organizing this festival very seriously. Every aspect of planning and set-up is meant to mitigate any negative impact it might have on the environment. We have a very clear social and environmental policy, aimed at keeping the area as clean as possible and preserving its natural resources. Apuseni Natural Park is a huge protected area, one of the last such wild areas in Europe, and it is extremely important to us to support sustainable tourism in Țara Moților.
Smida Jazz is an environmental and local community-friendly festival, as well as being a sustainable cultural project, whose life will exceed the time span during which the festival actually takes place. Our purpose is not only to offer the public a unique event in Eastern Europe, but also to increase awareness about the Apuseni National Park and to help the local community.
The first edition of the Smida Jazz Festival, the so-called pilot-edition, took place between August 19th and 20th 2016, drawing a crowd of roughly 3.000 people. During those two days, people enjoyed day-time activities such as yoga, meditation, guided mushroom-picking tours, even a workshop that taught production of essential oils from cold-pressed plants and people were able to engage in conversations with authors. Night-time concerts featured eight bands: Ilhan Ersahin’s Istanbul Sessions - Turkey-Sweden, Studnitzky Quartett - Germany, Loop Doctors - Hungary, Uptake Quartet - France, Arcuș Trio - Romania, Sebastian Spanache Trio - Romania, Exit Oz - Romania and Essential Notes - Romania.
“Yesterday was magical. We feel sorry for not being able to stay this second night, too. The crowd felt free, a lot of people danced, it was really nice to see people get closer to the stage and dance. This is a young festival and I had a great time.” - Ilhan Ersahin, Istanbul Sessions
“Long story short, Smida was great. Honestly, for me, the best this summer, in terms of the vibe, place, music and people. I don't really know how, why and when this festival was organized, I only know it must go on. I wish them many more editions!” - Diana, Bulevard Magazine
“Morning! I just wanted to congratulate you again for everything you have done at Smida Jazz. Really cool! I am very glad you made it. It's pretty obvious you have invested time, knowledge and a lot of energy. Everything was wonderful: the artists, the activities, the weather, food and drinks, the location, the landscape, the people, the vibe. Everything! Time is passing slowly till next year.” - Marius
See how the first edition was
The second edition of the Smida Jazz Festival spanned over three days in 2017 - from august 25th to 27th. This time the festival drew a crowd of roughly 8.000 people. Day-time fun included educative and recreational activities, such as guided tours ("Charge yourself with the local energy" and "In search of magical places"), public reading sessions and conversations with authors Marius Chivu and Marin Malaicu-Hondrari, electric bike trips, painting, ceramic and jewelry handcrafting workshops, jam-sessions.
Bands from various countries performed on the festival stage: GoGo Penguin - UK, Bugge Wesseltoft’s New Conception of Jazz - Norway, Tingvall Trio - Germany, The Kandinsky Effect - France, Eric Vloeimans’ Gatecrash - Holland, Sickpicnic - Hungary, Iordache, JazzyBIT și Trompetre - Romania. After the concerts, DJs, Puiu and Electroclown, spreaded good vibes around camp fire.
“The Smida Jazz Festival was really a wonderful experience for us! It was our first time playing in Romania and it couldn’t have been better. Amazing audience, vibe and a gorgeous location!” - Warren Walker, The Kandinsky Effect
“It can't get any better than this, taking into account this is a jazz festival organized by young people with young people, especially for young people. One might think this is the only such festival in the country where the promoters have done a great job of fusing together 2 music genres, supposedly diametrically opposite - electronic music and jazz. The three days were an audio-video feast. Smida Jazz 2017 went all the way and offered three splendid nights.” - gazetadecluj.ro
“One of the best festivals I have ever attended, in a superb location, good music and cool people! Highly recommended! I have already been at both editions so far! And it is getting better!” - Cristian, participant
See how the second edition was
The third edition of the Smida Jazz Festival took place between 17th and 19th of August 2018 and gathered approximately 10,000 people across three days. Various educational and recreational activities were held during the day, such as public readings and open discussions with authors Ana Maria Sandu and Augustin Cupșa, guided tours ("In search of herbs" and "Recharge yourself with the spirit of the place"), "The Drift Sessions ", wood painting workshops, ceramics and DIY, kayak and boat tours on Lake Fântânele,"Caving Adventure" etc. In the evenings at #smidajazz2018 stage one could see and listen to: Muntet, Paperjam and Krisper (Romania), Immortal Onion (Poland), Barabás Lőrinc Quartet (Hungary), Sons of Kemet (United Kingdom), Portico Quartet (United Kingdom), Kimmo Pohjonen (Finland) and the super-group Spirit Cave ( Norway-Denmark). After the concerts, the atmosphere didn’t vanished thanks to DJs Dubase, Puiu and Electroclown.
“I walked through the audience today, very relaxing and realy nice, lots of dogs, children, people - a very nice neighbourhood feeling. A really great festival, after a long time I saw there are really great bands and they are playing here, like Sons of Kemet, tomorrow.” - Kimmo Pohjonen, artist
"Probably the best combination of music (artists), place (forest, river) and people in the Romanian world of live jazz!" - George Durbălău, participant
"We were in the Apuseni Mountains Natural Park in the middle of August, letting ourselves be carried away by music and nature at Smida Jazz Festival. If you come from the mad Bucharest and you resisted the tangle of traffic around all the cities & villages, now it's time to recalibrate your patience. Change the speed at which you process what's around... Slowly, a settlement of tents and huts emerges among the last houses of this village, where, for three days, several thousand people come to listen to quietness during the day and jazz at night." - Andra Matzal, Scena9