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Callatis Festival is the largest music and culture festival held in Romania.
Every year the location is the same - a barge that is docked into the touristic harbor of Mangalia. This barge consists of a huge stage and a very large backstage area, enough to hold over 200 people. The spectators sit on stairs across the harbor, about 20 meters away from the stage.
The Callatis Festival began in 1999 and has expanded ever since.
The Callatis Festival is held every summer between 8 and 15 August. The main part of the festival (the concerts on the stage) take place beginning at 21:00 and end after midnight. This part of the festival is aired live on TVR 2 and TVR International. In 2006 the festival's start date was 9 August, and on that day the show was not aired on TVR 2, just on TVR International. Allegedly, the show's budget was severely reduced, and the producers had to deal with that fact. For 2007, the producers are thinking of moving the festival to the month of June.
From 1999 to 2003 the hosts of the Callatis Festival changed each year. Since 2004 the organizers have opted for continuity, so the permanent festival hosts are Gabriel Cotabiţă and Sorana Belciu. Callatis Club, the after-show of the festival, was hosted in 2006 by Cătălin Măruţă, a young, talented presenter with lots of new ideas. In 2006 Sorana Belciu did not co-host the show, being replaced by two young presenters selected in the Miss Diaspora contest. After a year's break, Callatis Club returned to Romanian Television in 2008, presented by Leonard Miron.
Every year the Callatis Festival has a few themed nights. There is Europa Top Hit night, where all the major Romanian music stars gather, the folk music night, the Miss Diaspora night, where Romanian girls living in foreign countries compete with each other in a beauty contest. 15 August is the Dormition of the Theotokos in the Orthodox church; in Romania it is also related to Sailors' Day. On this last day huge fireworks are used to light up the sky above Mangalia. In 2006, Europa FM decided not to be the festival's sponsors anymore. The main reason for this was the 2005 Callatis Club dopo-festival show, where the host bashed the radio station and insulted it.
In 2003 Al Bano came to the festival, in 2004 Panjabi MC, and in 2005 the big foreign star at the festival was In-Grid, the Italian chanteuse. 2006 was the year when Vaya con Dios performed at the festival. Their show was viewed by about 40,000 people on location, and more than a million live on TV. The band brought 600 pounds of equipment for the 20 songs they performed on stage.
In 2005 Europa FM was criticised by Callatis Club show host Cătălin Măruţă because of the radio station's motto: "A radio for millions of people". He stated that this motto does not actually reflect the station's target.
In 2006, singer Cream started an argument with the host Gabriel Cotabiţă because she was on the festival's program but did not actually appear on stage. Maria Dragomiroiu, Mihai Trăistariu, Simplu and Morandi have publicly expressed their disgust regarding the fact that they performed live on stage but their show was not aired on TV due to a mid-show commercial break. Allegedly, they had not been told that their performance would not be aired on TV.
- The Callatis Festival on mangalia.ro (in Romanian)