Outlook and Dimensions Festival 2013

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Outlook Festival 

Outlook always goes in hard, with sounds to crush a high rise into dice, and this year was no exception. The Rubadub soundsystem (a unique experiment in exactly what a stage can be) was back for it’s second year, blasting out its roots vibe though a Garden transformed from a rocky mass into a stretch of total chill.

Not only did the Fort Area develop, for along the sunset strip of coastline the developed Beach Party stage kept us entertained from

10am until the music started in the evening. But as every festival goer knows, the bigger the hype, the bigger the crowd, the bigger the bunch of lightweights who just cant enjoy the music and insist on getting themselves into a state. In four days I have never seen so many K-Holes and semi detached jaws lurching to the banging bassline. But I digress. Outlook, faithful to it’s name, has moved away from it’s dub roots and ventured into the world of old-skool hip hop, the likes of Mos Def and The Pharcyde, reeling in the fresh ravers, yet the faithful keep on coming back.

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Heavy DnB still rules the roost however, with full takeovers from the Swamp 81 Crew and let me tell you; the Audio Doughnuts Boat Party went off big time. One of the best things about the festival is that at any time, wherever you are on site, whether it be Campsite, Beach or Fort there is always somewhere to be in terms of brilliant music. There has been a noticeable progression in terms of the Art and decoration around the site; professional artists worked with the festival décor teams to create an environment not just to enjoy; but really to appreciate, especially when you’re in the ‘festival mood’ and in full swing. The House of Dub was a highlight, projecting trippy patterns, working essentially a repetitive television for all us revellers.

On the topic of entertaining projections, the Fort itself was lit up by stain glass analogue projections, in contrast to the digital art at the bottom of the hill, breathtaking in its handmade complexity, brilliantly different every single night. Six years in, Outlook has upgraded to the extent that stages reached full capacity; Mungo’s Arena had to shut the gates for a full two hours on the second night as people flooded in to catch a bit of Mala in Cuba.

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There has been talk of moving the festival elsewhere, away from Fort Punta Christo to somewhere in Montenegro, but this reviewer hopes that’s just talk. Pula is the place to party.

Dimensions Festival 

You’ve heard of Dimensions; right? No? You should have. The idea among those ‘in the know’ is that Dimensions is far cooler than other festivals, and I’m inclined to agree. The Festival itself is really rather small, so not only do you have extra room to throw some serious shapes, but you know that all those around you have the same excellent taste in music as you do. So surrounded by the slightly more mature, totally nonchalant, ever so tastefully pissed punters, you blend into the chill vibes and bliss out. Deep House? Electronica?  You love it man. That is, until the dutty German Techno starts blasting and suddenly you have the crem della of the European glitch scene jabbing you in the ribs.

Dimensions caters for a wide range of those on the scene, dependant on personal taste. That said, there was plenty of delicious variety, ranging from the excellent Floating Points straight to Kode 9, from Portico Quartet to Blawan. The stage Noah’s Ballroom had a queue trailing round corners, for people were willing to wait in order to spend time in the round room open to the stars. Outlook

Walking through the complex, your eye eats up everything, yet you can never see enough, nor will you be able to; the visual and optical effects at the fest were outstanding. There was a bit of controversy regarding the opening concert, (a costly addition to the festival itself,) but all was forgiven as the fabled Bonobo showed the crowed exactly why he holds the title in many minds of ‘best live artist’. Those who dismissed the opening night missed the venue of a lifetime; seeing excellent live artists in an ACTUAL Roman ampethetrer was a breathtaking experience.

All artists pulled off sick sets, the third night only marred by a stage fire at Outside the Fort; quickly under control, the place was evacuated, showing the efficiency of The Safety Control Team at Dimensions. Aside from the festival itself, a real highlight of the long weekend was Mr Scruff’s eight-hour takeover of the Beach Party stage during the day, I awoke to the gentle throb of a bootlegged Jai Paul pre-release with the biggest grin on my face; never have I felt so content. Undoubtedly the festival was a success, having grown since last year, still keeping it’s underground status as one of the best fests of the summer season. If you missed out; fuck it. I’ll see you next year.

Review by Jon Ferguson – Jon@againstmemusic.com

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