Music followers flock to Albania’s seashore pageant regardless of virus

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RANA E HEDHUN, Albania (AP) — The Albanian seashore website had all the things in a single place: pine bushes, sand, sea, close by mountains and days of nonstop music.

“It’s very uncommon that you just bought all of these issues collectively at one time,” mentioned the director of the open-air Unum music pageant, Grego O’Halloran. As an Englishman residing in Ibiza, Spain — one other magical seashore music scene — he is aware of what he’s speaking about.

“Albania is the hidden gem of Europe,” he added. “(It is) an hour, two hours, from virtually all of Europe and it’s so lovely and undiscovered.”

Organizers offered all 10,000 tickets for the June 3-7 pageant that includes 50 worldwide and native musicians, as folks jumped on the likelihood to listen to nonstop music for 5 days at Thrown Sand seashore, 75 kilometers (45 miles) northwest of the capital, Tirana.

Organizers claimed that everybody on the pageant was freed from COVID-19 however provided no proof for these claims and no virus checks had been obvious.

The principle stage close to the seashore was on prime of a sailboat, whereas one other was underneath the pine bushes near the seashore. Tattoos weren’t required for followers however many sported a number of. Followers got here from all throughout Europe, at the same time as far-off as Uruguay.

Final 12 months the pageant was cancelled as a result of pandemic. This 12 months organizers discovered it troublesome to get musicians from across the Europe as a consequence of virus restrictions, however they prevailed.

“(It is) superior … loopy … insane to see so many individuals in a single place … (after) sitting in a single room in your condo alone in lockdown,” mentioned German fan Katia Mueller.

The occasion was doable due to Albania’s low contagion charge. It recorded solely two new infections on Saturday. The International Ministry famous there have been no pandemic restrictions for anybody wanting to come back to Albania.

Albania has many pristine seashores on its 480-kilometer (300-mile) shoreline alongside the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, and through the previous couple of years tourism has became a key trade for one in all Europe’s poorest nations.

Neighboring Albanians from Kosovo stay the principle supply of vacationers up to now, usually accompanied by Polish and Czech teams, Serbs and Belarussians.

Franco Rodrigues of Uruguay follows a whole lot of music and knew most of the musicians on the pageant, which he hoped was the start of a worldwide return to reside occasions.

“It’s nice that lastly we will come again and play once more,” he mentioned.

The motto of the pageant was for folks to turn into “One” and unite over music. Some mentioned music was extra necessary than most individuals realized.

“It was needed for our psychological well being,” mentioned Ron Kurtolli, a DJ from Kosovo. “Individuals don’t pay a lot consideration to psychological well being, however it’s actually necessary for the well-being of all the things.”

Samela, a Serb residing in Belgrade however born in Prizren, Kosovo, had no time to present her surname however loudly defined how the pageant related folks throughout borders. Albanians and Serbs have been history-long foes.

“I actually had this real intention to interrupt the unfairness, to interrupt the stigma, to attempt to join us about music … I can not do it the way in which the music is doing it. However OK, I’m making an attempt now,” she mentioned.

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Semini reported from Tirana, Albania.

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Observe all AP tales on the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.

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Observe Llazar Semini at https://twitter.com/lsemini

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