Outlook Festival 2012 Reviews

Outlook Festival 2012

What you’ve heard is true. Outlook festival is exactly what it’s hyped to be, the biggest and best bass festival on the continent. Saying that, music is what the festival plays, but it’s not only what you’re there for. You go to have lazy days bathing in crystal clear waters, looking out at lush skies and verdant islands, just waiting for the sun to extinguish itself in to the sea and for the real party to begin.

My god, and is it a real party. Nothing like gigs or raves, nothing like other festivals, nothing like anything you’ve ever experienced. It’s just pure unadulterated madness. Half naked girls writhe, snap-backed guys skank, and beach parties take over throughout the day. Head down the wide dirt track into the festival at night to feel the bass that hits you in the face from the short walk from the beach. As you enter the fort arena you are surrounded by stages and arenas including the Dungeon, Mungo’s Arena and The Courtyard.  Each stage is unique, with crazy pyrotechnics and acoustics that reverberate your bones. Not to mention the boat parties, each sponsored by a label or crew that added their own flavour to the party, whilst speeding through the Adriatic. Surprisingly few people decided to dive into the water, and the hefty fine attached to being hauled out was undoubtedly the main deterrent. Bass was what people travelled so far for, and no one was disappointed. With the some of the world’s best sound systems coming together with some awesome talent the combination was to die for.

For me, Saturday night was dedicated to the Shogun Audio crew, who put on the heaviest ten hours I can remember. SP:MC took the stage, with Mantmast and Lingusitics hyping the crowd to another level. Dismantle, Friction and Alix Perez all killed it, but the show was stolen by Icicle, who warmed up the crowd with a purist dubstep set, later on he rocked out the big guns, with an array of minimal and liquid insanity.

Over the weekend the vibe was held together by mixing up the genres, old school names like Max Romeo, Lee Scratch Perry and Jah Shaka pulling out the stops whilst big names like Fat Freddy’s Drop and Gentleman’s Dub Club both stirred the main stage into a frenzy.

After days of what was close to nirvana, there was the comedown, which came in the shape of the dreaded journey home. Taxis to the airport were cheap and easy, but the flight brought home the fact that it was all over. Next year, new faces, same awesome festival. Maybe I’ll see you there.

– Jon Ferguson

Set just outside the stunning city of Pula, Outlook festival has to be on the calendar of any electronic music enthusiast.

Thursday night was blessed with the chilled rhythms of Mungos Hifi followed by New Zealand group Fat Freddys Drop who stunned the crowd with long periods of instrumental breakdowns, huge stage presence and a cool aura and kicked off the weekend in style. Being the opening headliner of any festival is no easy task yet they dominated that stage with their energy and cool persona. They really set the level for the rest of the festival and every act whether a band or DJ put in 110% on every stage to stun the crowds who had travelled from all over the globe to get their fix of bass music.

Personally, I don’t think any music festival that I have been to can come close to the epic setting of outlook, spread out over beaches, forts and dockyards it really is a special place to have a party and the group spirit of all the revellers can be felt throughout the whole weekend. Throughout the festival the main arena music doesn’t kick off until around 8pm, giving everyone the whole day to chill, enjoy the sun and generally enjoy the stunning setting of the festival site.

When the sun goes down, everyone in the campsite meanders towards the hills in hopes of banging tunes which is inevitability. The first stage you come to is the clearing, literally set in a clearing of a wood which the organizers have hacked away at. Here you have the choice to stay (Bonobo played one of the best sets of the weekend here). Or from here you can head to main stage or the fort (both about 5 mins walk from the clearing).

Heading to the main stage is something none of the festival goers will forget, because Croatia is so hilly the road to the main stage is about 50 meters above the site, so as your winding down the path to party you look over thousands of people skanking away, lights going crazy and tune after tune being dropped. The main stage site has 2 stages, the main stage (obviously) and the dock side stage. These are the 2 biggest stages at the festival and when both have a big act or DJ in full swing the feeling among the crowds is incredible and the energy can be felt all over the site.

Carrying on further down the road from the main stage you get even closer to the place everyone wants to be – THE FORT. Personally, the fort is the place to party, it is seriously good. As you walk up the hill to it you are confronted by a trippy, crazy artwork building with seats all around it and crazy lights hanging off trees. Then you go a bit further towards the castle and you’re confronted by the Moat. Literally set in the old moat of the fort its about 100 meters long and 20 meters wide, and as the walls are stupidly high the music has literally no were to go other than in the faces of everyone in its perimeter. If you come to Outlook in 2013 I guarantee this stage will not disappoint. The Swamp 81 crew played a huge set in the Moat and the levels of bass those guys were smashing out is something I will never ever forget.

Entering the fort there are many incredible stages, Mungos Hifi, The Dungeon…..The courtyard and The Ballroom to name just a few. The organizers really put in an effort to make the fort look amazing, all of the walls had projections over them and the art work really elevated the setting from a cool place to party to an epic place to party. In terms of space, there is enough room for everyone to dance at each stage and queuing times were relatively quick even for the Moat which is one of the most popular stages. There were so many musical highlights of the whole festival that they couldn’t all be typed here. However for me the jungle battle on the Saturday night was seriously good. Nicky Blackmarket and Congo Natty played two of the best sets I’ve ever heard, thousands of us were skanking for hours in mud up to our ankles, it really was something special. Other highlights include Max Romeo who thrilled the crowd with his reggae classics; Lee Scratch Perry blessed the crowd with even more reggae classics. Souls of Mischief were fantastic and it was so good to have the opportunity to see them as they don’t tour often these days. Loefah and Digital Mystikz killed it on the main stage with Sgt Pokes who never disappoints.

Another highlight of the festival is the Boat Parties; I couldn’t recommend them anymore, sailing around the Adriatic with hundreds of other like minded people amazing weather and music, what more do you need?

In sum, Outlook truly is a fantastic festival. The music is amazing and gets better year by year, the setting is incredible, the weather is awesome (apart from the thunder storms), most of the people there are friendly and because there’s no Euro is Croatia your money goes a lot further than at any UK festival. Save up some money and make the trip for yourselves and I promise you will have a good time.

See you on the beach!

– Tom Tebbatt

From the moment I arrived in sunny Croatia I knew I was in for an experience, the smell of the sea on the breeze and the sound of water gently lapping against the rocky beaches reminded me that i was in for no ordinary festival experience.

Arriving on site with a grin, I prepared myself for what ever the Thursday night could throw at me, I was not disappointed to find Fat Freddie’s Drop seducing the harbor stage with their own particular brand of reggae and soul. Easily the highlight of the night, The kiwis performed with impeccable musicianship to a more than excited crowd, a large group of New Zealanders representing front row and center.

Friday meant it was time to try and find a ticket for a boat party, this was done with ease and soon i was on board listening to the sounds of The Engine Earz Experiment warming up the Harbor stage. Boasting a line-up of SPY, Octane, DLR and Klute our moonlit booze cruise was in full effect. Boat 23 gained momentum and we danced for hours out on the Adriatic Sea while the Pro’s dropped the rollers that reminded us why we were all there. Before we knew it it was time to go back to land to wait for Max Romeo and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. From the moment Max Romeo walked out on the stage the crowd was amped. He had the harbor stage hanging on his every word with his renditions of ‘Selassie I Forever’ and ‘One step forward’ Much to our surprise, his two sons joined him on stage for the second half of the performance, which included a cover of his classic track ‘Chase the Devil’. You would have been hard pressed to find a single person in the crowd who didn’t have goosebumps.

Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry was up next sporting bright red beard and trade mark hat, the pioneer leaving the crowd in a state of bliss with his set list spanning multiple decades, it was almost like taking a step back in time.

The highlights of Saturday include a splitting hang over but more so i was impressed to see a live performance by Congo Natty and the legendary DJ Marky who played an eclectic mix, showcasing his skill as a turntablist and at one point even holding the turntable upside down while scratching over drum and bass!

Held in what is the best site for a festival that i have ever seen, the abandoned fort on the beach in Pula will easily be a memory that i will never forget.

From the perfectly tuned sound systems to the hand painted decor, Outlook 2012 truly surpassed any Australian festival i have ever been to and after spending 6 days there, it’s really no surprise to me that they picked up “Best International Festival” at the UK Festival Awards.

– Joel Raiti