Thousands of lovers of the Făgăraș Mountains attended the third edition of Făgăraș Fest, the only itinerant festival in Romania, dedicated to nature, mountains and the local communities at their foot. Foundation Conservation Carpathia and ProPark – Foundation for Protected Areas, staged an event in the Avrig Valley with minimal impact on nature and maximum impact on the sustainable development of the local communities, an interesting mix of nature, local culture, different activities and experiences, clean and healthy food, well-being and relaxation.
Avrig, 7 August 2022. Făgăraș Fest meant three days and two nights full of activities and adventures in the heart of nature, at the foot of the highest mountains of the Romanian Carpathians. The glade of the Avrig Valley, surrounded by four peaks over 2,200m high, were the ideal setting for the organisers to stage a festival for the whole family. A celebration of nature with mountain hikes, guided animal tours, botanical tours, bird-watching sessions, trips to the local museum, a picnic with unusual stories, a special screening of the documentary film ‘Wild Romania’ or concerts under the moonlight with the Taraful de la Vărbilău and the band The Mono Jacks.
Făgăraș Fest – about Nature and People
The first evening of the festival was hosted by the makers of ‘Wild Romania’, winner of the Audience Award at the Transylvania International Film Festival TIFF 2021 and five Gopo Awards in 2022. Director Dan Dinu and co-producer Cosmin Dumitrache held a Q&A session with nature lovers at the end of the outdoor screening.
On Saturday and Sunday participants could choose from a multitude of experiences in and about nature, from hiking on the local mountain trails to guided tours about animals, plants, birds and activities for children. Small local producers brought the results of their work, such as local treats as well as beautifully crafted items.
Music completed the festival programme, bringing generations and people together. Thus, the festival featured authentic lute players grouped in Taraful de la Vărbilău, and the best Romanian alternative rock band, The Mono Jacks, had the audience singing along for several minutes. The atmosphere was maintained by DJ UFe & Bully from Vinyl Rum Tapas and Wine (VRTW).
Sunday was dedicated to local music and traditions. The folklore ensemble ‘Hora de la Rusca’, Sebeșul de Jos, coordinator Elena Mangu, the ensemble ‘Doruleț’ from Racovița, choreographer Corina Grecu, and the folklore ensemble ‘Purtata Avrigului’, with a tradition of over 50 years, choreographers Andreea and Grigore Bulz, took the stage. Folk song was present through the young singer Sara Stoișor and folklore enthusiasts George and Maria Farcaș. The folkloric programme was made possible with the support of Avrig Town Hall.
Throughout the festival, participants could send postcards with messages from the festival, thanks to the partnership with the Romanian Post Office.
The festival was also an opportunity to walk through the Făgăraș Mountains in pictures, thanks to the photo exhibition made by professional and amateur photographers within the CARPATHIA Photo Camp, as well as by specialists from Foundation Carpathia Conservation. The exhibition was curated by the photographer and director Dan Dinu.
Event photo archive HERE.
“Făgăraș Fest is above all a manifest event for the beauty and diversity of the Făgăraș Mountains,” said Victoria Donos, Communications Director of Foundation Conservation Carpathia. “We aim to bring people closer to nature, but at the same time offer them interesting experiences and information.
“We have a unique natural heritage in Europe and unlimited access to it. We celebrate it every year at Făgăraș Fest and choose a different area of the Făgăraș Mountains each time, precisely in order to involve the local communities. The first edition took place in Lerești, the second in Nucșoara, and now we are in the Avrig Valley. Each time this festival has added value to the work done by the locals to promote the area, with respect, with responsibility, in harmony with what surrounds us, adapting the tone and music to the show offered by Nature.”
Guided tour in the forest along the trail of wild animals. Foundation Conservation Carpathia is currently running two repopulation programmes with species previously wiped out from different areas (bison and beaver), as well as protection and monitoring programmes based on DNA samples for wolves, lynx, bears and other wild animals. The participants, guided by the Foundation’s rangers, learned interesting details about the work to protect and conserve biodiversity. By analysing the fresh tracks left by animals along the trails, nature lovers better understood that the mountain is first and foremost home to these animals and their protection should be a priority for humans. Moreover, reconnecting with nature was a good opportunity for tourists to understand the natural processes that need to be sustained.
Botanical tour and bird watching sessions. The Făgăraș Mountains area is home to over 70 species of wild orchids and hundreds of species of birds that nest only in the openness of these forests. In a 360 experience, shortly after dawn or in the evening before sunset, festival participants listened to and saw the concert of dozens of bird species of impressive colour. Guided by a specialist, binoculars in hand, nature lovers witnessed an interesting experience and left with new knowledge, experiences and photos for their personal albums.
Reinventing traditions in the communities at the foot of the mountains – was made possible thanks to the kindness of the locals who came with interesting stories and organised a real camp, a place where festival participants could listen to the stories of the place and the people. There were also workshops where visitors experienced different crafts preserved as a legacy of the authentic spirit (sewing, weaving, etc.).
The journey into the history, culture and identity of Avrig was hosted by Maria Grancea, known as Mrs Uca of Avrig, librarian and museographer, keeper of the cultural heritage of Gheorghe Lazăr and Baron Samuel von Bruckenthal, two personalities who marked the history of this place. In the museum in the centre of the town, Mrs Uca has collected important testimonies, historical documents, objects of folk costume, weaving looms and other evidence of the activity of the craftsmen. In fact, in the small museum she runs, visitors can admire glass objects and yellow crystal produced until recently in the local glass factory, a tradition that dates back to 1830.
Experiences for the whole family – a love of nature is formed in the family, which is why the little ones and their parents had access to dedicated workshops for exploration and play. Hundreds of children didn’t lack the opportunity to observe different plant and insect species under the microscope. In the quiz with information about the world of plants and animals, prizes were quickly won by the little ones.
50 hours of adventure and endurance sports competition – Făgăras Fest also hosted the most complex adventure competition in Romania. This was an epic 230 km adventure competition that ran for 50 hours through the wilderness. Running, mountain walking, mountain biking, canoeing, abseiling, archery, orienteering and a few other surprise elements were completed by dozens of participants.
“We are happy to see every year this appetite of participants for adventure and at the same time their enjoyment of spending quality time in nature, despite the challenges that the teams entering the trail are subjected to,” said Tiberiu Chiricheș, Executive Director, Propark Foundation for Protected Areas. “This competition tests their limits but also brings them great satisfaction. It attracts participants from all over the country, which gives us reason to say that protected areas can be tools for sustainable development in local communities.”
The local products fair brought together 24 producers who provided taste and flavour to the festival, through simple recipes prepared with local, natural ingredients, but also through the crafts of local people.
The event took place with the support of Avrig Town Hall and the Avrig Valley Association, the Romanian Post Office, CPNT and volunteers, as well as media partners Radio Guerrilla, Tribuna, Mesagerul de Sibiu and all those who spread the word about this green festival.
Făgăraș Fest would not have been possible without funding from the European Commission through the LIFE Nature programme, the Arcadia Foundation through the Endangered Landscapes Programme, the OAK Foundation and eMAG.