To attend a concert of our favorite artist or band, most of us have either travelled to another city, another state or maybe a neighboring country. Last week I found myself taking things even further and leaving the central European continent to attend a festival in a country I had only very vague ideas about: Montenegro. Following an invitation to join the crowds of the local Electronic Beats Festival, a small group of curious travel and music enthusiasts embarked on a short trip to the city of Podgorica, the captial of Montenegro.

None of us had previously set foot into the country, and none of us had any idea what to expect. After a bumpy flight we touched down at the Podgorica Aerodrom to embark on an adventurous 36 hour tour around town.

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So, what is there to know about Montenegro? The country is located in Southeastern Europe and bordered by five countries, namely Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, and Albania. Formerly a part of Yugoslavia, the country declared independence in 2006. Even though Montenegro is not a member of the European Union, they adopted the Euro to replace the German Deutsche Mark which had previously served as the national currency. Another interesting travel fact: Montenegro uses the Type C plug which is identical to the one in Germany.

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Shortly after arrival, with our legs still shaking from the turbulent flight, we found ourselves in the next challenging situation: Sandwiched in a gipsy cab, we sped through traffic and rotary intersections; gazing out of the front window and trying to anticipate the next turns and passing maneuvers as if shooting towards the city on a rollercoaster ride.

After this nerve-wracking taxi ride we continued to explore Podgorica on foot. It might have been the time of day, but there were suprisingly many empty places – not only restaurants but also parks and playgrounds lay deserted. It wasn’t that the facilities weren’t well kept; only some of the new parks and buildings seemed too big for the residents to populate them. According to our tour guide, the overall aim in the overhaul of the city was to catch up with the standards set by other European capitals. Newly constructed landmarks such as the Christ’s Resurrection Church and the all-white Millennium Bridge now form a stark contrast to their surroundings. While it is obvious change is taking place, different styles of architecture and various building stages bear witness to the country’s unsettled history.

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After dinner in a small restaurant in the city center we journeyed to our next destination: The Electronic Beats concert venue which was located in a small sports stadium in a residential neighborhood of Podgorica. Even though on this late summer day all of us were looking forward to enjoy a pleasant night out, the weather was nothing but downcast and wet: The rain kicked in upon arrival of the first band and wouldn’t stop until the very last song. Amazingly enough, no one seemed really bothered and the audience patiently braved the rain to soak in all the good vibes from the speaker boxes.

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The first band to take the stage was seven piece electropop group Retro Stefson from Iceland. Their energetic performance slowly drew spectators away from the roof in the center of the stadium to follow some warm-up dance moves. While the party in front of the stage was already in full swing, most of the audience was trying hide from the rain and huddled together in the few dry places, creating an atmosphere that felt more like a low key house party than a dynamic concert setting. Following their colleagues from the North, electronic music duo Mount Kimbie took over sound duties.

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The third band from the line-up, headliners Disclosure, were the most eagerly awaited act that night. With the rain still pouring down, the laid-back atmosphere immediately switched to energetic outbursts from the audience. And with the perfect combination of vibes and weather, spirit and sounds, the audience continued to dance along until the last beats.

All photos by Cordula Schaefer, except #8 (group picture) by Sara Chahrrour.

 
Cordula SchaeferCordula Schaefer is a photography enthusiast who loves to venture out to explore new places and hardly ever leaves the house without a camera. A New Yorker at heart, she is especially fond of city trips and has a soft spot for beautiful beachscapes. She currently bases herself in Berlin and keeps the visual documents of her travels at Cordugram.