Croatia, the little country that could, and did, become one of Europe’s leading festival destinations this year. 2012 marked the year when I first realized the potential Croatia had in becoming such a festival powerhouse, due in large part to my attendance at the inaugural Dimensions festival, INmusic festival, and the second iteration of Terraneo festival. All three offered a drastically different musical atmosphere however the locations were always sublime. Slotting into the lifestyle of a festivalgoer was the easiest it had ever been for me at these Croatian festivals. Each one of them boasted sublime weather, a beach (or swimmable lake in the case of INmusic) to nurse your hangover, magnificent (and incredibly affordable, compared to other European festivals) food to get you reenergized, and scintillating acts and forms of entertainment to let your night turn into morning in front of your eyes. This year sees Croatia rocking up to the festival season with one of the most attractive event lists ever. What makes all of them lucrative isn’t just the music on offer; it’s the incredibly beautiful vistas they are situated in and the very affordable prices of them all. Without further ado, here are a selection of this years Croatian music festivals, do yourself a favour and attend at least one of them.
INMUSIC festival: 23rd -25th June 2014 – Zagreb – Lake Jarun
Possibly Croatia’s most concise and densely packed festival is the one that kicks off the festival season almost every year, taking place before July. It’s been compared to Woodstock, been rated in the top 50 world’s best music festivals by CNN International, and I’d compare it to the Croatian capital’s version of London’s Field Day. This year sees the various stages graced by Pixies, The Black Keys (with a review of their fresh new album found here), MGMT, Foals, The Fratellis, Flogging Molly, Wolfmother, Bombay Bicycle Club, Digitalism, Crystal Fighters, the amazing Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba, and many more. Festival tickets are around 40 pounds for the three days and camping tickets can be bought for an additional 17 pounds, it is also possible and easily organized to find a hostel in Zagreb and get a cab to and from the festival. More information can be found here.
The Garden Festival: 2nd – 9th July 2014 – The Garden, Tisno
The country’s founding electronic music festival enters its 9th season this year, returning to the idyllic coast of Tisno. This years live offering includes Andre Bratten, Genius of Time, Kink, Paqua, Theo Parrish, and many more. In addition to live acts The Garden Festival holds host to a plethora of DJ sets from various crews including Resident Advisor. Accommodation is plentiful and varied, boutique accommodation and villas are available spread around the local area of Tisno in addition to glamorous and regular camping options (details can be found here). Week passes to the festival cost 120 pounds but various offers for discounts exist and tickets can be bought in conjunction with Electric Elephant festival for a further discount. With boat parties, beach parties, and discotheques on offer to dance the night away, you can’t go wrong with The Garden Festival. More information can be found here.
Electric Elephant: 10th – 14th July 2014 – The Garden, Tisno
Hosted in the same beautiful locale as The Garden Festival, Electric Elephant is a fantastic alternative, unless you possess the stamina to take on both The Garden Festival and Electric Elephant, in which case I commend you, furthermore, the festival organisers strongly encourage this sort of behaviour. The set list for this festival remains electronic music focused with the likes of Tom Findlay, Simian Mobile Disco, Derrick May, Francois K, Prosumer, Munk, and many more playing across the Main Stage and Beach Bar. After the acts revelers can engage in some after party fun at the (no capacity might I add) Barbarellas nightclub. The day, as always, can be spent by the beautiful beaches; salt-water dips do miracles for a hangover. Various ticket options are available and can be found here. More general information can be found here.
Dimensions Festival: 27th – 31st August 2014 – Fort Punta Christo, Pula
At the heart of this season’s Croatian festivals is Dimensions festival. Managing to balance location, quality of sound, experience, and breadth of astonishingly good acts perfectly. The festival is only two years old yet has managed to acquire an exceedingly high status amongst audiophiles, electronic music aficionados, and ravers alike. This is hardly surprising given the festivals meticulous organization and myriad of must see acts, including Caribou, Darkside, Nils Frahm, Kwabs, Jon Hopkins, Warpaint, Ben Klock, Moodymann, and a whole 191 more artists. In addition to the primary festival which spans 11 stages (all of them set in a simply awesome fort), Dimensions offers 30 boat parties to choose from. Ticket prices can be found here. Similar to The Garden Festival and Electric Elephant, Dimensions and Outlook festival have collaborated to offer a discounted bundle ticket as well, just remember to consume plenty of vitamins if you intend to enjoy the both of them back to back. More general information can be found here. Be sure to check The Edge’s full preview of Dimensions Festival 2014 here.
Outlook Festival: 3rd – 7th September 2014 – Fort Punta Christo, Pula
Outlook festival is approaching its seventh season and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. It claims to be the largest bass music and soundsystem culture festival in Europe, the claim isn’t as quixotic as it sounds and the festival more than lives up to its own high standards. House, techno, dubstep, reggae, dub, hiphop, garage, grime, electronic, you name it and Outlook will have something for you to sink your ears into. Set in the same salubrious setting as Dimensions, Outlook has 300 artists spread across 12 arenas and stages (sharing many with Dimensions festival), and a whopping 40 boat parties to choose from. This years line up consists (there is no way I can do it justice, there’s just too much on offer, so here are a few to grab your attention) of Ms. Lauryn Hill, Busta Rhymes, Barrington Levy, Moodymann, Bondax, Boddika, Gramatik, Funkineven, Gentleman’s Dub Club, Snakehips, Onra, Strategy, and an absolute ton more. Ticket prices and Dimensions/Outlook bundle tickets can be found here. More general information can be found here.
Unknown Festival: 8th – 12th September 2014 – Rovinj
Rounding out the season is Unknown Festival situated in the dazzling enclave that is Rovinj. At this point I cannot stress how much the setting of Rovinj is enchanting, all of these Croatian festivals have a beach to offer and Rovinj is no different. The acts that will perform at this year’s Unknown festival are extremely well varied and even rare to find anywhere else occasionally. The disco/funk/soul band Chic makes an appearance with Nile Rodgers at the helm as well as CHVRCHES, Clean Bandit, Forest Swords, James Holden, London Grammar, Moderat, Mount Kimbie, Wild Beasts, Disclosure, DJ Koze, Jamie XX, John Talabot, The 2 Bears, Simian Mobile Disco, and more. Camping, boutique camping, camper van accommodation, forest lodges, 3 star apartments, and more are available for you to rest and rejuvenate during this festival. General information can be found here.
You are a rather strange cookie if you aren’t already booking flights to any one of these fantastic summer shin digs.