Summer in Croatia

A promoters view

Author: Dovla
Date: Jun 10, 2004
Views: 3646

Date: June 10, 2004

Last year was a very interesting one here in Croatia. There were two big festivals that for the first time had big foreign artist names play their live acts and DJ sets for the local and foreign crowd. Unfortunately neither of them went exactly as planned. I guess as with any other country it‚s probably impossible for someone to organize a trance festival for the first time and make a smashing success. I know many people were disappointed with some issues that happened on last years Solar Tribe festival that took place here. I will try not to bash the organization because some of their problems could have happened to any other organizer outside Croatia. The problems we face are very simple. Around two thirds of our population lives in the nation‚s capitol, Zagreb. And Zagreb is nowhere near the beautiful beaches and islands we have to offer. In order for someone to throw a festival on one island it means to try and enter a town with only the bare essentials, a weak infrastructure, with very few people. And most of them have very harsh opinions about foreign people trying to make „some crazy festival with people on drugs‰ in their territory. After seeing and hearing about all the failures its natural for me to think that people should only organize festivals in their own country. Trying to make a festival in a place you don‚t know really well is just like taking a boat to sea with no map in your pocket.

My advice to everyone is, if you want to make a festival here, contact some of our crew and not local people from small towns and villages who just want to make money on you. They will not care for it to go as planned; they will only care to get their money. I‚m sure that with a little bit more conversation and planning everything can work out ok.

As for the scene in Zagreb it‚s a very simple one. Around 50-100 people would gather around 2 times a month in the only small underground basement club called Attack. The parties were called Tribalizer and the organization is mostly made up of hippies. We had our own little haven there and it‚s needless to say that there were no chances in building a bigger scene on that. The club was just too small, with many problems because of its location near the Sava River, because of the moisture in the air most of the equipment would get damaged over a longer period of time and unfortunately the sanitation department closed down the club before the end of the last year. Negotiations are in progress to find a better location but they started only after we made a public protest in a big park near the centre of the city. We took our sound system and threw a free party for everyone. There was a petition signing and hopefully things will look up soon. The place we lost was in terrible shape with no toilets, no wardrobe, no proper sound isolation or heating. Yet despite that we always had a great time there. The entrance fee was always very cheap, there was a really nice chill out floor and for 2 years I never managed to stay till the end of the party. Even now I can‚t really tell for how long they lasted sometimes.

Apart from the hippie crew some other younger people tried their luck with making a trance party called Terra Electronica in one smaller club a couple of months ago. Unfortunately after 3-4 parties it also came to an end because of the low amount of people gathering there. The problem with the general electronic scene here is that it‚s not balanced. The techno and house scenes are very strong and it‚s impossible for us to make a trance party on a weekend without a big techno name in town playing in a big club for 2000-3000 people. Needles to say that club owners want their clubs full every weekend and trance just can‚t do that right now.

There is one more trance party going on from time to time in Zagreb which is called Astralis. I will try to cast my personal opinions about them aside and just say that it‚s a relatively commercial party and its concept is to promote only the resident DJs who play there. In 6 years of their activity on the scene we haven‚t heard much foreign DJ or live acts on their parties, yet they manage to draw as much people to their overnight parties as we manage with a festival.

Of course the entire situation gets a lot brighter when summer draws near. In Zagreb there is a well known spot in the mountains called Ponikve where we throw smaller open air parties although there haven‚t been any parties for some time due to debts by one of our organizers. But after 2 years of silence in that place, one of our organizers threw a party there to celebrate his recently opened shop called Super Heroes. The shop is a new one so there is not much to offer yet but right now it is the only shop where you can buy some good trance releases.

But let me get back on the festival issue again. Last year was our first try at making a bigger one and even though there were some problems the festival managed to come out ok in the end. The festival is called Underwater Overground and we decided to make it a tradition every year. Last year all foreign artists came and we had the pleasure of hearing names like Tristan, Mino, Dimitri, Peter Didjital, Emok, Chris Organic & Neerav play their respective live acts and DJ sets for us. Apart from them there was a large local support of DJs and some of our very own live acts as well. Most people liked last year‚s location but it had some big flaws and for this year we have found a much better spot right near a beach and behind the mountains on the island of Hvar. Since the economic situation here isn‚t really great you can expect a really cheap entry price of 35 euro. The price of the festival won‚t change during the entire presale period, and the price at the door will also be 35 euro. The dates are 5-8 of August and the festival homepage is and you can check all the information there.

Apart from Underwater Overground there will be some smaller festivals in August as well but with local DJs only. In any case I want everyone to know that we have a huge potential for festivals with hundreds of small islands and dozens of big ones. There is just the problem of the bureaucracy and mentality of some people here which makes things a bit more difficult. You just have to know the locals if you want to do something.

I would like to apologize to anyone who had a harsh time at any festival here in Croatia. My position as the webmaster of our trance site makes me feel like I have that responsibility. After almost 2 years of its existence and hours and hours spent on it, I guess it‚s only natural to find myself in a sort of spokesman position since promotion usually is my job. In the end if any of you have doubts about our country and this scene we will prove to you that we are capable of making a good party. After all, Croatia is a relatively cheap country for tourists and so are our parties. So if some things do go bad, at least you can say you got your money‚s worth. If you want to get in contact with some of us I suggest you visit and enter our forum. Also almost all of our DJs have their biography on the site and you can get their mails from there. Hopefully we will make an English version of the site by the end of this year but it‚s not a promise.

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