Last year was definitely one that cemented Croatia as an essential summer destination for music-lovers. Especially those tired of the cliche and expense of the self parody that has become of Ibiza.
Real electronic music fans had quite a selection depending on their tastes; Hideout, Soundwave, Outlook, Dimensions and more ensured there was a reason for everyone to get a ‘HRVATSKA’ stamp in their passport.
I was lucky enough to make a couple of trips their, the first one was for Hideout 2012. A huge festival of varied dance music, ranging from the deepest house through to full on drum & bass, on a beach littered with outstanding open air venues and state of the art soundsystems. I was shooting for the organisers and had one of the best weeks I can remember. I’d recommend Hideout for anyone, but mainly for the people into the big brash side of dance music, think more Radio 1 than pirate radio. Unfortunately this year’s has already sold out! I did this review for Example Magazine if you’d like to see what you’re missing!
Following on from there my next trip to the Adriatic was on the other side of summer, where the Northern coastline of Croatia hosted Outlook and Dimensions festivals over consecutive weekends. Literally more off-the-beaten-track than Hideout; Outlook takes place in and around an abandoned sea fort, which leads to some of the most unique festival arenas you are ever likely to see and the organiser’s attention to detail ensures the sound quality is top notch across all the stages. I can truly say there is nowhere on Earth quite like it. Outlook’s musical direction takes it slightly more underground than Hideout, concentrating on the bassier side of things with the cream of the dubstep, D&B and reggae worlds all featuring heavily. Unfortuately, for all it’s plus sides it has gotten quite large in the past years and has lost some of the intimacy for which it was so famous. Last year there was increasing queueing and bottlenecking of crowds and, as a personal aside, access for photographers was shockingly bad, with most security unable of unwilling to help out. I did a full rambling review here!
After the weekend of Outlook my wish for fewer crowds was granted by the first ever Dimensions Festival. Taking place on the same site but losing the two huge ‘main stages’ and keeping all the entertainment up at the fort led to a much more intimate feel, although there were still the inevitable queues for the popular acts due to the limited capacities of each arena. The acts here were even further underground, drawing from the deepest corners of bass music, techno and house. The crowd was a lot friendlier and more mature and altogether it was a massive success. There’s a review with more thoughts here!
As for 2013, there’s still plenty of reasons to head to Croatia, the latest lineups for Outlook and Dimensions have just been released and look mighty tasty, there’s also the matter of Soundwave Festival – one for the more hip-hop / downtempo orientated amongst you – and a new festival from the organisers of Hideout, Unknown!
A selection of shots from Hideout Festival 2012 by Manchester Photographer Gary Brown