The Khetane Festival, the first of it’s kind held in the Pata Rât area of Cluj-Napoca, was considered a success by organisers, who said that the festival performed way above their expectations.
The festival Khetane, which means “together” in Romani, along with the slogal “comunități împreună”, which translates to “communities together”, was aimed to bridging some of the gaps between the Roma community, of which around 2,000 live in the Pata Rât, according to Alex Fechete Petru, a prominent figure within the community, and also starred in and narrated the UK’s controversial documentary series, “The Romanians Are Coming“.
The festival organisers paid for and arranged for free transport to the site, as there are not currently any bus routes connecting Pata Rât to the rest of the city. Around 1,600 colourfully dressed, open-minded people visited the festival, and experienced live music events, a fashion show and also important talks and debates, which were held on the third and final day of the festival.
Some highlights of the event were performances from IMPEX, DJ Plastic, Alex de la Cluj, and singer Prințesa de Aur, one of the most memorable contestants of the 2016 X Factor Romania show, having received a “4-yes” response from judges.
Loredana Anghelache aka Prințesa de Aur (The Golden Princess), who performs at venues, typically quite different than that of where the Khetane festival was held, told Cluj XYZ, “The Ketane festival was different from the events we had previously, the situation there in the square is not a pleasant one, first of all for them … Seeing their situation for an hour, I forgot what is there because their joy gave me a. Well-being and positivity … In my vision, it was a stadium with clean air and that moment with the people of the square”.
She was already informed of the conditions before she had arrived, but said that she…
Andrei Dinescu, soloist of IMPEX told Actual de Cluj, “I know about Pata Rât from stories and articles. We saw the place a month ago when we first came to work out the details for Khetane. It’s all the more shocking because it’s in contrast to the richest city in Romania, which is Cluj”
Politics but No Politicians
The Pata Rât site, rarely enters news for good reasons. Typically it’s following a fire at the landfill, or someone’s house burning down due to the unsafe conditions, however, this festival presented an opportunity for the public authority, politicians and to have an open-dialog in front of attendees.
However, despite invitations, Cluj-Napoca Mayor, Emil Boc, failed to attend, as any other official representatives of the municipality.
Adrian Dohotar, an activist from Cluj, posted on his facebook page, “Because the festival is truly multicultural, not only Romanian and Hungarian hipsters who ended up in the ghetto alongside Roma from three communities of Pata Rat, but also African workers enjoying the music. Because you see surrealistically thousands of crows in the sky feeding from the garbage ramp, which reminds me of that strange image with several horses galloping through the ramp at night, when I slept in the ramp to feel, a little, as much as I can, what it’s like to live and work in Pata Rât. Because by coming here you compensate for the shame of not having representatives of the authorities present besides the gendarmerie and the police and a representative of the Roma minority from the prefecture”.
The debates held on the final day, were attended by Director of Social Benefits Department, Aurel Mocanu, Pata 2.0 Project Manager, Alexandrina Kiss, three members of the USR political party, as well as lawyers and local activists.
A fashion show was also held on the final day, where Zita Moldovan, one of the most-known Roma actresses in Romania and who has been actively involved in the Roma feminist and anti-racist movement, presented her “Loly” clothing line.
What / Where is Pata Rât?
If you Google “Pata Rât”, the only location which will be returned, is the landfill site “Depozit de Gunoi Pata Rît”. However, this is also the home for a large population from the Roma community, after residents, previously living in more well-known areas of Cluj-Napoca were evicted and their properties were demolished.
Confirmed for 2023
According to Khetane organisers, during the weekend of August 11-13, 2023, for three days, Khetane will bring concerts, film screenings, debates, children’s activities, and more to Pata Rât.