Romania’s SAGA Festival faced several setbacks over the weekend, with a major headliner calling-off their appearance and another DJ headliner slamming organizers on stage.

SAGA Festival ran from Friday, July 5 through Sunday, July 7 at Romaero Airport in Bucharest. On Friday, Hardwell was set to perform as the DJ headliner, however, roughly five minutes into his set, he told the crowd he would no longer be playing. Several videos of the incident began to circulate online, where Hardwell can be heard saying: “They didn’t pay me any f**king money to be here tonight, but I’m still here. I’m still here. I’m f**king here. And everything is f**king shit. Nothing is f**king working.”

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“Listen SAGA, if I’m here for you guys, I want to perform for you guys,” Hardwell told the crowd. “The whole equipment, everything is letting me down. I can’t perform. It’s impossible for me to perform. The whole DJ booth is shit, it’s f**king shit. I’m so sorry, I have to cancel this show. And f**k SAGA Festival.”

SAGA organizers took to social media to share an “apology” for Hardwell’s departure, and also addressed the DJ directly.

“Well, Hardwell, we’re sorry that Rita Ora, Sickick, Loreen, and all the DJs on five other stages got to play the first day of SAGA and you didn’t,” organizers wrote in a statement. “The equipment traveled all the way from the Netherlands, just like you. The same set seems to be working perfectly fine for Will Sparks right now.”

The statement went on to note that organizers “worked so hard to build this year’s SAGA for our artists and ravers.”

“We would’ve solved any technical issues effortlessly and fast, if you would’ve let us and not stopped your set so soon,” organizers continued. “We’ve done all we could to accommodate your requests, including agreed payments.”

The festival said they’re “sorry to (y)our fans,” writing that “they would have loved to finally watch you perform in Bucharest.”

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This isn’t the only downfall the festival faced over the weekend; ahead of Nicki Minaj’s performance on Sunday, the “Barbie Dangerous” rapper called-off her performance, writing that she was advised by her security detail not to travel to Romania due to “safety concerns regarding protests in the area.”

On Sunday, the festival announced that all unscanned tickets and “Choose Your Day” tickets would be fully refunded. Additionally, organizers revealed that Armin Van Buuren would be performing an extended set.

Despite its setbacks, SAGA Festival assured fans on Monday that they would be returning next year. Organizers also addressed rumours regarding artists never receiving payments.


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“We are aware of our shortcomings, but as far as artists go, you need to know we’ve done everything humanely possible to ensure they show up, perform, and show you the respect you deserve,” organizers said. “And to answer the rumors, yes, they all received the agreed payments. It’s always easy to point fingers and place blame, it’s more difficult to seek out facts and show empathy.”

“SAGA is hurting just as much as you are. The People behind the festival are humans too. We were all affected and we’ve suffered as much as any of you. We want you to know we are here to stay. And we will fight for Bucharest. See you all in 2025.”

Fans weren’t too pleased with the apology and called on the festival to take accountability.

No dates have been confirmed for the 2025 edition of the festival at this time.