Music Editor Issy Campbell previews SUBMiSSiON, a night promising to bring the best of funk, soul and disco to The Night OwlWritten by Issy Campbell on 23rd November 2017
Festival Review: Dimensions 2017
Hannah Brierley spends a weekend soaking up the sun in Croatia amidst the lush disco-house vibes of Dimensions Festival 2017
Dimensions Festival really is an experience unlike any other. If, like me, you know people who’ve previously attended the festival, you’ll be familiar with the obsessive hysteria with which they describe the event. Now we’ve seen it for ourselves, the hype can be confirmed. Dimensions is a little slice of paradise in Pula, Croatia, a city that has a wealth of history to share with those lucky enough to make the trip, which is another bonus for festival attendees. It has a simplistic elegance, and with its ancient architecture and enviable climate, it’s unsurprisingly become an increasingly popular tourist destination - and we’d recommend setting aside a day either before or after the festival to really explore the town.
“Croatia has become quite famous for its links with Game of Thrones, and it's difficult not to make comparisons as the different arenas do heavily resemble castle ruins and ancient buildings
The typical components of a British festival are nowhere to be seen when you enter the festival site: there's no extensive muddy fields that swarms of arriving attendees have to trek through to find their perfect pitch. Instead there is plenty of room for campers to set up along the beach, shaded amongst the trees. Or, for a reasonable price, choose to stay in some of the other accommodation on offer within the campsite including hostel rooms (which is what we opted for). They're a comfortable alternative and meant you get to experience campsite life with the bonus of a bed and a private bathroom.
Instead of a traditional festival site with various tents dotted around where the acts would play, the site is spread out across the beach, up into the hills and the trees. One such stage was the beach party venue, which looks as though it has been stolen straight out of Ibiza. It faces the festival’s own private strip of beach with pearly pebbles and the glittering Adriatic Sea. This was the only stage open on the initial Tuesday, and the jazzy rhythms were the perfect accompaniment to the sunbathing groups languidly strewn across the beach, conserving their energy for the endless nights of partying ahead.
Wednesday night brought with it the buzz of the opening ceremony, as those with tickets got a boat taxi across to Pula. Their breathtaking 2000 year old amphitheatre was the setting for this incredible party, which hosted an array of talented acts including the infamous diva Grace Jones and trippy electronic trio Moderat as a celebration of the festival commencing. Musical icon Jones kept the crowd waiting, but made up for it with an incredibly theatrical performance that included an array of outfit changes, multiple oversized headpieces and a mostly naked male pole-dancer with enviable buttocks. Her brilliant 'Slave to the Rhythm' was met with deafening applause as the thousands in the amphitheatre expressed their adoration for her unapologetic work.
To be able to witness live music in the only remaining Roman amphitheatre to have all four sides was really unbeatable. Moderat really played to their environment as well, utilising an experimental light show along with their impressive live electronic sounds to build into a euphoric climax. The perfect way to start this undeniably special festival.
Over the next few days you begin to settle into the festival life style; visiting the onsite shops, restaurants and bars - you can even get your hair cut or have a massage. Everything you require for the week is provided, creating this lovely little community by the sea. The days are spent in the sun preparing for the long night ahead, with the main acts not starting till the early hours of the morning.
The Thursday night boasted an incredible line up with Ben UFO, Helena Hauff, Horse Meat Disco and Joy Orbison to name a few, providing both stripped down instrumental techno and groovy upbeat soulful tunes to cater to everyone’s tastes. The Mungo’s Arena is also open every night for those that itch for a bit of thumping drum and bass or grime later on in the evening.
Croatia has become quite famous for its links with Game of Thrones, and it's difficult not to make comparisons as the different arenas (such as The Stables or The Moat) do heavily resemble castle ruins and ancient buildings. The latter is a submersive tunnel where the sound system feels borderline illegal as it causes your entire body to vibrate. Ben UFO’s Thursday night set in here was one to remember. He even deviated from his signature minimal sounds, layering undulating beats to create a heavenly concoction of music that matched the enclosed space perfectly. Later on we took a breather from the dusty tunnel and venture into the clearing where talented DJ Dam-Funk was blasting classics such as Luther Van Dross' 'Never Too Much' as the crowds pranced around, arms outstretched. There’s nothing like a bit of disco at the end of a night to bring crowds together.
If you’re a fan of disco, and let’s be honest who doesn’t love to boogie to golden oldies every once in a while, then the Horse Meat Disco boat party the following day was the place to be. Sadly a storm had been brewing and even Croatia isn’t invincible when it comes to the wrath of bad weather. At one point it seemed as though the boat parties may have to be cancelled but people persevered, defiantly throwing rain macs over their swim suits and glitter in their hair ready to have a good time. Sure enough the clouds broke about half way through the journey, and the sun shone down on the dancing crowd as party scene guru’s Horse Meat Disco played obscure funky tunes, like a joyous remix of the Fantastic Four’s 'Got To Have Your Love', as well as crowd-pleasing classics like a bouncy take on Dolly Parton’s 'Jolene' which had the whole boat gloriously shouting along to the lyrics.
Friday night's acts finally commenced after slight delays following the rain, within which time our hostel made its own entertainment demonstrating the prevailing positivity of festival goers. Marcel Dettmann played a trippy set in The Garden, accompanied with a surreal lights show, the German DJ and Producer expertly demonstrating his capabilities as he worked one of the largest crowds seen at the festival. Mechanical noises merged to create funky techno drops that enticed his spectators for hours.
The highlight of the night though, and arguably of the whole festival, came from Dan Shakes closing set in The Clearing. His immaculate mixture of powerful bass underlined with ridiculously groovy rhythms, jazzy trumpets and disco lyrics made for an exceptional combination and injected the crowd with so much energy it was easy to forget it was nearly 5:30am. One stand out selection was Debbie Jacobs' 'Don’t You Want My Love', which blared out from the speakers begging to be danced to.
“Dimensions Festival really is an experience unlike any other
The rest of the weekend was much of the same impeccable standard, with the likes of Daphni, Nina Kraviz, Giles Peterson, Goldie and many more making their mark and keeping up the crazy party spirit despite the unpredictable weather. During the early hours of Sunday when the crowds slowly made their way back to the camp site for the last time the mood was slightly tarnished with disappointment that tomorrow wouldn’t bring the same weird and wonderful experiences as the past few days had done. We would undoubtedly miss living our life with the set times as our bible and not a care in the world.
Dimensions is an adventure we will cherish and urge everyone to experience for themselves.
Register for tickets to Dimensions Festival 2018 here.