I have a strong belief that music festivals are adult versions of summer camps. We go for three drunken days and nights of loud music, in which you can escape the city and simultaneously, escape your problems. And while festival wristbands are the coolest summer accessory, the first 365 days after the event are usually the hardest.
As the headliners for the next year are slowly being announced and the early-bird tickets to the major festivals have already sold out, it’s high time for a little bit of something Lana Del Rey would describe as “summertime sadness,” and what I would describe as “post-festival depression.”
Despite its tiny population of three million, do not let the size of Lithuania fool you – like any other European country it holds many music festivals; many of which are highlights of the short summer. Unfortunately, and I’ll be honest here, I have neither a time machine nor the health to visit them all.
This year, my Lithuanian festival of choice was Granatos Live, which took place at the very end of July.
Granatos Live is an annual music festival in the town of Rumšiskės – it’s just a 1,5 hour drive from our capital, Vilnius, so I decided to take a local bus to the venue.
When I got off at a bus stop in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of a field to be precise, I was left with no other choice but to follow the sound of Colours of Bubbles rocking the Granatos stage. I felt like Dorothy following the Yellow Brick Road…
As soon as I got to the area and set up my tent, all worries and grievances were left at the gates. Was the relief caused by the fact I could finally lift the heavy bags from my shoulders? Was it the cider I grabbed on my way to the festival area? Was it the powerful energy coming off the stage from Beissoul & Einius? I think it was a mixture of everything.
This was where my Granatos Live weekend had started, and it could hardly have been any better.
There is absolutely no chance to not move when the guys from Beissoul & Einius are on stage. The amount of energy coming from this charismatic duo is simply immeasurable. Little wonder, then, that they’d managed to gather a pretty impressive crowd – once you hear their energetic electronic sound and see the singer’s unique moves, you will fall in love with the band forever.
I enjoyed Beissoul & Einius, but my main artist of interest for the first evening was British diva, Jessie Ware. I didn’t really know much about her work, but I was intrigued by the stories my friends had told me about this gorgeous and passionate woman. I couldn’t not see her performance.
While the majority of the crowd seemed to converge for the only song of hers they knew, Jessie Ware and her band put on an amazing performance.
As the majority of acts I was curious to see were planned for the second day, I was satisfied with what I’d seen so far, so I went and explored the Granatos Live venue.
The festival had four stages, but I never made it to the beach one though – mainly because I’m appalling at reading maps. What’s more, the weather was far from suited to swimming, anyway…
There was plenty of stuff to do in addition to the live performances – volleyball, an Adidas tent with Polaroid pictures, food…
Food, oh food! Call me snobbish, but when it comes to festival food, I like to keep my expectations low and prove myself wrong in the end. Before going to Granatos Live, I did not expect anything particularly decent in terms of food. I’d convinced myself the best I could hope for was at least one vegetarian option to keep me alive.
I was extremely surprised with the variety of snacks on offer – numerous trucks were dotted around selling burgers, pizza, and thai food. If you wanted something more “festival-y”, there was also the option of kebabs, fries, and veggies.
I skipped some of the performances for no other reasons other than my personal music taste and love for food, but anyway, I was pretty full and ready to enjoy the Submotion Orchestra – a British seven-piece act, who create an incredible mix of soul and ambient electronica.
My last show for the day was Deeper Upper, whose performance was supposed to be at 3 a.m., but I’ve never been one to look for an easy way out.
I’ve seen these guys often enough to know how good they are, so basically I just wanted to get a good late night dance and sleep tight afterwards. I got neither.
The performance was set-up very late (or very early, depending on how you view things), it took almost an hour to tune up; it was freezing, and I only stuck around on principle.
The Deeper Upper show was good, but the weather and late start time meant I wasn’t able to enjoy it, so I went to my tent before the show was over.
After a few hours of broken sleep I pulled myself together and stepped out from the tent into a brilliantly fresh and sunny morning; the weather was reflected in the cheery mood of the festival goers.
The first band of Day Two I was curious to see was GAN. The truth behind why, is because I met a guy from this band while searching for the right entrance to the festival, he helped me and I promised him I would go and see them play.
I keep my promises (most of the time), so off I went. These guys are young and hip, and there are six of them. The girls (and boys) in the audience were ecstatic.
While I was wandering around the festival grounds watching people play volleyball and other sports, Glasshous took to the stage. I’d seen them in my Facebook News Feed a couple of times, but had never taken the time to give them a listen. What better time to do so than at Granatos Live, right? I’m so glad I did! Gorgeous and chic, they were, and please forgive the cliche, “true music to my ears”.
After spending some time at the charging area (21 century problems, come on…) Ministry of Echology took to the stage. Just as with Glasshous, I hadn’t previously listened to any of their music, but their funky, Lithuanian style Reggae and dub was the perfect soundtrack to a hot, summer festival’s day.
As the sun was slowly setting, the music’s emotion and intensity game was on point. Every festival-goer was fully prepared for a wild night, and the crowd who came to listen to GJan was huge – they danced, they sang their hearts out, and by the looks of things, didn’t want let GJan go.
While she was performing an encore, I slipped off to the other side of the stage, and waited for Estonian band, Ewert and the Two Dragons.
I could write an entire article only about this band alone, but here, I’ll limit myself to a just a couple of lines. They have a really sweet indie sound, and while they might sound and look hipstery cute, the energy they play with is really powerful and fantastic.
The same can be said for On-The-Go, who come from Togliatti in Russia. I was very happy to watch the crowd by the stage grow significantly during their incredible performance – by the end of it, there were people screaming “we love you” at the Russian five some.
The real craziness was yet to come though. Leon Somov & Jazzu attracted a capacity crowd, and the duo, as always, gave a top-class performance to their listeners.
I moved to another stage where Neteisėtai Padaryti were already throwing their party. Bras were waving in the air like flags, which could only mean their crowd was having the best time they possibly could.
To wrap up my final day at Granatos Live, I finally got to see Polish duo Rebeka perform, and I was more than thrilled I hadn’t blown yet another chance to see them, because this synthpop duo was the perfect ending for my festival experience.
Not everything was smooth, though, and I would like to ask the organisers to consider putting signs up to help first-time Granatos Live goers to find the event. Some signs at the festival area itself would also be helpful, as one map is simply not enough.
At the end of the day, though – Granatos Live 2015 can be considered a weekend well spent.