Crack magazine writes, “Following the fall of its communist structure [in 1990], Albania – a country rich in history and natural beauty – is in flux.” From an isolating authoritarian dictatorship under Enver Hoxha to a problematic transitional government that has held court since 2013, there are currently violent protests in the capital, Tirana, from both left and right-wing supporters demanding a government reformation, namely the demission of Edi Rama.
Edi Rama’s attendance of the festival last year says something about to what extent this political leader wishes to integrate into the European Union as well as perhaps make some good press, albeit strangely glorifying accusations of corruption. “Albania has always been beautiful, but people think of it as a place where you get robbed or killed. But the stigma has helped us. When someone visits and gets out alive, they realise it’s paradise!”, he recounted at last year’s edition. He later dropped off crates of free Albanian beer for, the mostly English, attendees.
Kala is a small capacity festival composed of open-air venues, including the coveted, only accessible by boat, Gijpe Island. Here, festivalgoers are left alone in a forested, red-stone cove. The island has a waterfall and plunge pool to be discovered in the mountainous surroundings of the intimate DJ booth. Catch unmissable sets by ‘Gijpe residents’ London-via-Belfast Brian Not Brian and Sydney-born Lauren Hansom.