In September 2012 BNTL traveled to Croatia to cover the very first Dimension Festival. The best underground electronic music experienced amongst the stunning setting of the old fort in Pula. We Decided to document our trip to give you an indication of what our experience was like.
Check out our in-depth review of the festival.
The line-up for 2013 has recently been announced and with many of the acts from last year making an appearance we highly recommend the trip.
What to say? And after running without sleep for 3 days it was difficult to get a single word out, let alone full-blown sentences with all types of superlatives and commas in appropriate places. It got to the stage when you felt like a sick horse wandering in circles around the stable or perhaps a rhino in a safari park being hunted down by the keepers for its own good while it attempts to eat its offspring. But then what would you expect?
Now we love a good festival as much as the next guys. The usual things; camping in the rain and then waking up at midday in full blazing sun, your tongue sore with blisters and sweating blood, queuing for over subscribed porta-loos to find them lacking in any form of wiping utensils and seeing that infinite swamp of faeces and tampons staring up at you glimmering in the generated light. Crowds of gluttonous women bathed in day-glow paint and tutus on acid, hundreds of unleashed/screaming teenagers, eyes popping out of their sunken skulls moving to their own self induced inner vibrations and leaving a snail trail general human debris wherever they go.
And our premonitions were not un-learned. We had been to Outlook last year so knew that just getting away from our soggy island did not guarantee any lack of these things. Our decision to go to Dimensions came about due to the fact that it was smaller; the music of a more niched bass variety and the location is still the most fucking incredible festival environment we’ve ever been to.
Our 7am E&J loutishness on the Stansted Express aroused much suspicion among early morning commuters, be-friending the unsuspecting trolley man, exchanging 6 of his finest plastic cups for a photo and the promise of emailing said picture on our return..
After unpacking half our communal suitcase and splitting the contents between everyone’s hand luggage, we conformed with Ryannair’s Draconican weight restrictions. After a few hours of consecutive stress, running for buses, running for trains, running for planes – it’s understandable to award yourself. A bottle of Hennessey was our chosen poison. Disclaimer: Be careful and sip slowly, maybe even splash out for a mixer, or else you might end up going to the toilet forgetting where you are, perching on the closest chair you can find rows away from your companions and later barely make it through customs.
Having learnt from the pitfalls of previous years – cross country expeditions to and from Milan by way of Venice – we advise next years crowd to aim as close as possible to the actual country in which you wish to visit – Zagreb or Pula for the early birds – failing that, Trieste allows for a fairly smooth 2 hour amble across picturesque Italian/Slovenian/No Mans Land/Croatian territories. Roughly £150 by cab if you’re equipped with the correct bargaining facilities.
Carry on camping!?
Hell no!… If you prefer the smaller creature comforts in life then I would highly recommend opting out of the camping option and checking yourself into a luxury Croatian hotel complex. It works out as about £10- £15 a night which may sound like pushing the boat out if you’re on a strict budget but a few hours on a bed with actual sheets and an actual private shower with hot water after you’ve been up for two days and nights trawling the quaint Croatian coastline, bumbling through family picnics and children’s playgrounds alike – these home comforts become truly priceless.
Not to mention the other mod cons you can enjoy. We woke up to a swimming pool, nice restaurant and our own private collection of rocks – great for basking at 6am as the sun absorbs the exertions of the previous night. The only slight compromise you might have to make while staying at such a complex, is sharing oxygen with a group of donk happy Northerners, remnants of Outlook, still loitering around the vicinity – audibly reliving every moment of their hellish/heavenly week (depending on your preference) – Our advice for interaction with such oikish human lifeforms is to avoid at all costs, however if you do find yourself in their conversational death grip, remember the age old rule, ‘the harder you struggle the more stuck you get’, much better to be amicable, take the green pill and drift apart with compliments to the laws of physics.
Another blessing in disguise about staying in an apartment is that you’re able to concoct your own food (and drink). Let us begin by stating Croatian food isn’t the best. It’s a sort of bastardisation between Italian favourites spliced with Eastern European bready/meatyness. We all had varying degrees of success with local cuisine – in the town of Pula there is a few very nice eateries – serving steak, seafood and humble portions of lasagna. At our resort we were less fortunate with the culinary offerings – miniature slices of cartilage and/or meat in cumbersome chunks of bread were passing for burgers, a cruel fact much bemoaned (by some more than others!).
I would be lying if I said that we caught all there was to offer from the aural side of the festival. However, as with all festivals you don’t want to be one of those people that goes there, nose buried deep in a miniature guide, blindly bumping into people as you pass and stepping in puddles and soaking your fresh new pair of sandals. Intrepid explorers that we are, we knew the line up, had a rough idea of who was on and where but not, crucially, the timings.
Our musical explorations, came about more through chance than anything else, Zed Bias, Joy Orbison and Todd Terje were obvious highlights – not to mention a monumental disco revival set on the beach on the first night – scarred and bloodied from our non-legit entry to the festival site (due to the premature closure of the press office) – we stumbled upon the beach party as weary revelers and were embraced with the perfect vibes – a set which had certain extended family members phoning home to gush drug-induced rhetoric to their mothers about the musical retrospective which had been laid before them.
Another guy we consciously planed to see was Theo Parish. However, as we approached the Outside stage, the queue to get in was formidable to say the least. Luckily the Moat and Ballroom were popping off and we even made it over in time to hear the end of Moodymann’s epic set as it got light.
The morning after the night before….
When the sun comes up, you have a number of options. The weak may decide to call it a night and crawl back to their polyester caves. Brave Hearts will generally venture down to the nearest beach to continue the wave while appreciating the scenery. Make sure you save the essential elements for this late part of the night. It means pacing yourself and perhaps erring to the frugal side but good things come to those who wait. Strip down to your underwear and lie on your back, face to the rising sun as you feel the whole world drift away. Preferably do this in a mixed group of people otherwise it could be akin to a cooking pot full of hot dogs, awkward and quite unappealing. If you really want to turn the volume up to 11 you can commandeer a boat. With far less prowess than a Somali pirate you can swim out to one, one handed of course while clutching a beer, and pull yourself up. Generally the alpha male should lead this expedition followed by a harem of mermaids. Be careful when climbing up though. Boats can be deceivingly sharp and you may end up looking like you fought a shark (which is what you should definitely tell people when they ask). Needless to say when your standing on a roof performing the winning dance with about 10 perky nipples wobbling on the deck below, it is worth it.
Dimensions was a festival full of self indulgent highs, and self inflicted lows. Highly recommended as Outlook’s more refined older (younger) sibling. Some obvious kinks to solve in the coming years, but a massively successful inaugural voyage all the same. The Croatian security still present a minor obstacle to the smooth running of this event, but they’ve got better as each year goes by, slowly conforming to the imperialisation of their country.. Taking out minor forms of revenge like “breaking the foot*” of one of our crew members and banning him for life. (*hyperbole!)
Getting to and from the festival site from the surrounding resorts couldn’t have been simpler. Easier if you read signs indicating there is free artist transfers every hour, but even without that – it’s easily do-able.
Foresight isn’t essential with these things but it is advised, as we woke up on Monday to the realisation there were no buses to Trieste and our neighboring apartments had been rendered in-hospitable and missing most of the kitchen itinerary with which we had been provided, we had numerous reasons to make our hasty escape. Passport misplacement restricted one member of the party from a smooth departure, opting instead to do battle with the Zagreb police force and dusty hostels in the capital with a gaggle of German females.
Words: Gwilym Lewis-Brooke, Matthew Benson, Jayden Ali
Photography: Jayden Ali, Sam Harrington
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Worth checking out the video below, still sounding hard especially with the sun blazing and the bass turned up…
We could do it all again! But, keeping it moving this year we’re taking a team to Dimensions Festival!!
Dimensions Festival, as I’m sure you know, is the smaller capacity sister festival of outlook but with, arguably, a larger line-up. Large as in legendary. The first, last, and only time I saw Theo Parrish – At The Big Chill Festival a couple of years back – he blew my mind, and I’ve heard great things about his recent 6 hour set at Plastic People. The guy is a genius with a mixer and anyone that can step in for ODB gets props…
Check out the Dimensions preview video below…
Shouts to those going Bestival, I’ll think of you’re inevitable muddy selves when coasting on the beach!
Dimensions is gonna be so large and runs between the 6th – 9th September.
Here is a little warm up set for a hot summer’s day…
There are a few Dimensions tickets left. Get them HERE, before they’re gone.