Over 6,000 nature lovers connected with the energy of the mountains and nature at the 4th edition of Făgăraș Fest. The only festival in Romania dedicated to the Făgăraș Mountains and its people took place this time in Porumbacu de Sus, at the foot of Vârful Negoiu, and was organised by Foundation Conservation Carpathia and ProPark – Foundation for Protected Areas. ‘Connection’ was the watchword of the biggest edition of the Făgăraș Fest so far, whether we are talking about the mountain, the forest, the village or the local people, they all played an important role and offered those present a unique festival experience.
Porumbacu de Sus, 7th – 9th July 2023. This year, the Făgăraș Mountains were celebrated at Porumbacu de Sus, in a fairy tale setting, on a plateau with a spectacular view of Vârful Negoiu, 2,535 m high, the second highest peak in Romania. We had three days and two nights of nature activities, hiking along the forest paths at the foot of the mountain, discovering the secrets of the animals, birds and pollinating insects of the area. The participants were charged with the energy of the village, learned the stories of the locals, the crafts that were practiced here, experienced the wagon ride and discovered the joy of sitting in the shade of the vine in the courtyard of a traditional house in Porumbacu.
Throughout the festival, participants were able to send postcards and messages from the festival, thanks to a partnership with the Romanian Post Office. The evenings were spent relaxing, dancing and having a good time. The screening of the documentary LYNX on the first night of the festival brought people together, and on Saturday and Sunday evenings the atmosphere was electrified by concerts by Zdob și Zdub, Nico de Transilvania and Ovidiu Lipan Țăndărică and Fanfara 10 Prăjini. The festival supports local communities, so children and young people from the Porumbacu area took to the stage with a special artistic programme.
Făgăraș Fest – the Făgăraș Mountains and its people
Făgăraș Fest is a family experience, so the little ones as well as the older ones could participate in many interesting workshops. They searched for hidden words in crossword puzzles, tested their memory in special games, discovered bats with the help of educational robots and ‘saved the planet’ in an escape room.
At the same time, the grown-ups joined the little ones in the Făgăraș Mountains Exploration Race, and for one hour they were challenged to pass various tests.
On Saturday and Sunday, guided tours on the flora and fauna of the Făgăraș Mountains attracted hundreds of inquisitive people to the shaded forest trails. The guides, specialists from Foundation Conservation Carpathia, captured the attention of the participants with information on the recognition of plant and animal tracks, as well as on the behaviour of the most interesting species in the Făgăraș Mountains. The experience was completed by a surprise artistic moment, an open-air concert performed by the Brașov panflutist Georgia Gulea.
And those who chose to join the guided birdwatching tours at dawn or before sunset were treated to a special recital by the birds. Even the smallest forest creatures, the insects, had their own tour, which was an unmissable attraction for children and adults alike, who learned how important insects are for pollination.
This year the festival introduced a new concept, the Carpathia Talks, open debates on environmental, wildlife and green business issues led by experts from Foundation Conservation Carpathia. The tent dedicated to this activity was full, the public was welcomed with information and then invited to participate in the discussions in a relaxed atmosphere.
The good taste of local products and the secrets of old crafts were brought to the festival by 30 producers. Simple recipes, prepared by local people with local ingredients, were appreciated by the visitors. People discovered the beauty of village life during the ‘Șezătoare’ (harvest festival entertainments) organised by the Avrig cultural tradition keepers. Time passed differently for those who weaved, sewed cloth and wove wicker baskets with their own hands.
Lovers of adrenaline and nature also found their place at the festival, with the adventure competition ‘Făgăraș Adventure’, which this year tested the endurance of 13 teams. The participants of the competition were informed about the route only 12 hours before the start, but before that they read the bibliography about the Făgăraș Mountains, the fauna and the flora, in order to be able to face the challenges along the route. After 50 hours of adventure, challenges such as mountain biking and running, canoeing, caving, rope climbing and species identification, they reached the finish line richer in experience and more united. The winning team of this edition was ‘Team Cheile Turzii’.
An additional opportunity to get to know the nature of the Făgăraș Mountains was the photo exhibition during the festival. The pictures taken by professional and amateur photographers during the CARPATHIA Photo Camp, as well as by specialists from Foundation Carpathia Conservation, show the less known and less seen side of the universe of these mountains.
The Făgăraș Fest also enjoyed a visit by the Minister of Culture, Mrs Raluca Turcan, who was pleasantly surprised by the concept of the event, by the richness of the values it brings together, but also by its uniqueness.
Făgăraș Fest 2023 was organised with the support of the Porumbacu de Jos Municipality, the Romanian Post Office, Majorel, Serviciului Public Județean Salvamont Brașov, Asociației Națională a Salvatorilor Montani din România, the Brașov Volunteer Platform and Radio Guerrilla.
The event is organised within the framework of the project “Creation of a Wilderness Area in the Southern Carpathians, Romania’, LIFE18 NAT/RO/00108. The main objective of the project is the restoration of degraded habitats and the application of conservation measures that will allow the restoration of natural processes and create benefits for local communities in the Făgăraș Mountains area. The project will be implemented by Foundation Conservation Carpathia with its partners between 2019-2024, with financial support from Arcadia Foundation through the Endangered Landscapes Programme and from the European Commission through the LIFE Program.