For a while now Croatia has been building a reputation as the new party destination du-jour, alluring clubbers with its scorching summers, stunning open-air clubs, and continuingly high-profile guests – all accessible at a more than reasonable price; a combination that has made it the new hotspot for British promoters and clubbers alike.
Therefore, it is not surprising that Manchester giant The Warehouse Project and Leeds based Electronic Music Group chose it as its next event venue, combining Croatia’s fresh appeal and natural beauty their own aptitude for putting on a great party – and so Hideout festival is born!
We arrive in Novalja on party-island Pag on Thursday afternoon, and are immediately greeted with a distinct feel in the air which can only be described as a 'buzz'; as 10,000 or so Brits swarm the little seaside town radiating excitement from every pore. The setting could not be more perfect, with a marina lined with boats and a backdrop of beautiful little hillside houses that could easily be mistaken for a scene from Italy.
The festival itself is at charming Zrce beach, a short bus ride away from the town. The white pebble beach boasts crystal clear waters and picturesque hillsides that sit in front of the two main clubs that host the festival. Aquarius and Papaya have 24 hour licenses, pool bars, and Jacuzzis, and provide an open air setting that not even Ibiza can offer nowadays. Further down the beach is Kalypso the designated pre/after party venue - a relaxing beach bar by day and energetic club by night. Together they provide a unique and exciting setting for the crème de la crème of electronic music acts.
On Friday the festival is kicked off by a number of boat parties, including Manchester’s finest the Zutekh DJ’s and Leicester regular Sonido. There’s something about dancing at sea that makes a party magical, and from start to finish energies were sky-high with not one person flagging for 3 or so hours. Zutekh and Sonido brought their vivacity that has made them so successful in their hometowns to the sea, dropping little gems such as “Hall & Oates – I can’t go for that”, making the boat go well and truly “off!” The icing on the cake was when we stopped for a swim in the Adriatic - topping off an already special day.
That night the festival gets into full swing with impressive super club Papaya hosting all things techno, with the likes of Marco Corola and Sven Vath headlining. The "Napoleon Dynamite" that is Marco Corola brought his usual futuristic blend of driving bass lines to the eager crowd, which had them bouncing around with ample enthusiasm. By the time Sven Vath arrived at 3am, the club had filled up to the brim ready for the "dark lord" himself. Unfortunately Vath was a complete letdown, appearing uninterested and presenting a track selection that was completely uninspiring. To top it off he left the stage for 10 minutes mid-set (presumably for a toilet break) - something that we are still baffled by!
- Date: Friday 1st July 2011
- Event: Hideout Festival at Zrce Beach
- Venue: Zrce Beach
- Artists: Annie Mac, Jamie Jones, Andy C, Erol Alkan, Chase and Status, Fake Blood, Simian Mobile Disco, Sub Focus, Toddla T, Riva Starr, Damian Lazarus, Shy FX, Nero, Julio Bashmore, Seth Troxler, Caspa, Breakage, Danny Byrd, Jack Beats, Sven Vath
Over in Aquarius Dixon was waxing out his usual blend of deep and pumping house which seemed to be hitting the spot with the crowd, followed shortly by the weird and wonderful sounds of Jamie XX. However, it was the Drum & Bass arena that was full to the rafters and lively all night long, filled with masses of clubbers skanking from corner-to-corner to the sounds of Friction and Prophecy.
Saturday offered a whole new menu of dance music, and we started off by checking out Aeroplane over in Papaya. The Belgium brought a superb blend of cosmic disco to the night (however with stronger bass lines than usual), working the crowd superbly. The atmosphere was brought to the next level when he dropped the Aeroplane remix of “Friendly Fires’ – Paris”; securing his place as one of the sets of the weekend.
Over in Aquarius DC10 residents Circoloco had arrived with a bang - namely Tania Vulcano, Dan Ghenacia, Cassy and Andrew Grant. The highlights definitely being the latter two, who brought a little taste of the ‘White Isle’ to Dalmatia. Warm, percussive house and techno hypnotized the crowd until sunrise, which cast an awe-inspiring silhouette over Aquarius and Zrce beach; only adding to the enchantment of the evening.
After the incredible events of Saturday night we weren’t sure it could get any better - and then along came Sunday! First up was the Metropolis room to see Breakage do his thing, and we were treated to a lesson in wonky and sinister dubstep that gave the sound system a thorough workout. Breakage did a grand job and the MC was working hard to get the crowd fired up, however it seemed they lacked energy from the previous two nights of parties.
From then on it was over to the Crosstown Rebels who proved why they are the ‘men of the moment’. Jamie Jones graced the turntables after Art Department playing his more traditional blend of underground tech house infused with elements of disco; crowned by his own remix of "Azari & 111 -Hungry for the power" which really lifted the roof off. However, set of the weekend goes to Seth Troxler who played a superb blend of driving deep house which had the crowd completely encapsulated. It was undoubtedly the best set we have heard from Troxler in recent years.
Finally, it was left down to Damian Lazarus to round off the weekend’s events in style. His sound is one of true rarity; an amazing blend of dark and almost gothic techno, contradicted with a beautiful melodic ambiance and warm feel. He played a set full of truly amazing records including "Whomadewho - Every minute alone" and Ricardo Villalobas' remix of "Depeche Mode - Sinner in me", perfectly timed as the sun rose over Zrce beach - a memory that will stay with us for some time to come. It is such a pleasure to watch a DJ that clearly loves his job, and as a result the crowd hangs off his every beat in awe.
The pièce de résistance of the weekend has to be the after party at Kalypso, which finished off Hideout festival impeccably. Hundreds or so likeminded clubbers gathered on tables, beds, podiums and even DJ booths to dance away the final hours of Monday morning in the Croatian sunshine. Music was provided by the Zutekh DJ’s and Mono_cult. As the beach bar was bouncing from wall-to-wall Art Department were impelled to take to the decks to round up proceedings, proving how lucky we are to have such talent in our local midst.
We are sure we are not alone when we say that some parts of the festival felt magical, almost surreal – aided by the stunning setting of Zrce beach, Papaya and Aquarius, and polished off with the finest artists, Djs, and of course friends. Hideout festival has definitely succeeded in putting on a showstopper of a festival, injecting some fresh air into the International festival scene and making it accessible to the British public.
Don’t get us wrong, this isn’t a festival for music connoisseurs (many types of music/crowds meant that people were not always on the same wavelength); nor did it run seamlessly (bus transportation was a nightmare at times, and some of the festival staff were less than courteous). However, it has certainly accomplished what it set out to achieve - an exciting and original electronic music festival for the masses.
Without a doubt memories were most definitely made… and we look forward to seeing what next year brings!
Katie Grange and Ben Plant
Tickets are no longer available for this event
You can find these artists/djs playing at the following events:
Originally published: 13th Jul 2011