Outlook Festival, how you always pleasantly surprise us. The artists, the DJs, the stages and the location never cease to amaze. The festival continues to push the envelope in terms of an overall European festival experience.
This year Rhyme On Beat returned to the ever-growing festival situated in Fort Punta Christa, Croatia. Rhyme On Beat itself has become quite a regular attendant here enjoying the music, atmosphere, characters, views of the festival and the beautiful country of Croatia. Fort Punta Christa is situated a short ride from the city of Pula, the area is surrounded with a large amount of trees and an easily accessible beach. The stages are as amazing as last year with a few name changes and more paths to get around faster and safer. The festival paths and stages are littered with small rocks and pebbles making it less muddy for when it rained and rain it did on our first day into the country. The festival as last year held a no open toe shoe policy at night to avoid careless injuries. There was a good amount of paramedics on site to take care of any injuries, all very friendly and reassuring. Note: the weirdest injury was from a guy I had met on the camp site who had dislocated his shoulder rolling out his sleeping bag… yeah, no words.
Last year we opted for basic camping this year we went one step up and as they say went “glamping”. Our huge six person tent was situated in the pod pads area on a small hill overlooking the rest of the campsite. We were welcomed with open arms by the staff members and the reassurance that there would be a 24/7 security for our sectioned off area. The area was provided with our own charge ports both English and European plugs for those of us that came unprepared. Also we were given the option of tea, coffee and biscuits throughout each day we were staying which went down a treat, especially curing the previous nights drinking.
From our own experience from last year, the amount of people attending seems to have increased but also the cultural demographics have also diversified, clearly the love for the festival is spreading. As usual there were many characters around the festival site especially the campsite, where plenty of bonding sessions were created under the Croatian night sky. Walking around the festival site and speaking to many of the people we came across or whose feet we stood on, we realised the people travelling to enjoy the festivities of Outlook seem to travel from further away each year. The reach of the festival is increasing yearly with people travelling from places as far of as Australia.
The weather over the days of the festival were as expected the information provided the Outlook website came in very handy, the days were nice and sunny temperatures ranging from 22-26 degrees celsius. Nights were slightly chilly but as advised by the website I and many others brought jumpers or hoodies. The beach on site was a pebble beach but that did not stop the sunbathers or those who chose to partake in the water activities and floats provided.
Let us get down to the important bit of the festival the music, the festival official started on Thursday the 4th. Although the beach party ran from the 1st providing early arrivals with music to entertain them before it all started. Outlook Festival 2014 opened up on the 3rd with a short comfy boat ride over to the town center of Pula to their beautiful Amphitheater. Again this did not disappoint as we were one of the first arrivals to the venue, we took a quick look around before the crowds arrived. There was an obvious change to the venue from the year before there had been more repair work done and the whole area felt safer and much more relaxing. Once the evening started and the artists came out to delight us we took our seats and of course enjoyed the experience of the walking bars and spirit dispensers. I have to say that this new idea brought in by the genius of the organisers made our experience that much more enjoyable. Opening ceremony vibes were provided firstly by Submotion Orchestra followed up by Fatima, Andrew Ashong and closed out by the legend that is Ms. Lauryn Hill. It was a great night and a worthy opener; there were great performances from each artist although Ms. Hill did arrive to the ball over an hour late. In terms of the music she played, it consisted some of her old tracks but not enough to satisfy the crowd looking to hear her tracks from The Fugees or Miseducation era.
The official first day of the festival started on the 4th the party started with the beach party opening up from midday and the main stages opening from 8pm local time. The day started with news of Busta Rhymes not being able to attend the event due to court conflicts but this brought the news of Action Bronson coming in as a worthy replacement. The first stop of the day for us was The Clearing to see/listen to some drum and bass from Calibre followed by D-Bridge and SP:MC and DJ Marky with Stamina MC assisting on the microphone. Stay tuned to Rhyme On Beat as were blessed to do a short interview with DJ Marky. We didn’t finish the night off at The Clearing however, we proceeded to go towards the Harbour to catch The Heatwave, Buraka Som Sistema and DJ EZ. Upon getting to the stage we were informed of the illness of DJ EZ and so he would not be performing, this was covered by an extension of the other artists set times. As usual The Heatwave did a great job of hyping the crowds up having everyone dancing to soca, hip-hop and dance-hall tunes. The night was ended with the sounds of Kaytranada whose set was the highlight of my first night he is definitely one to watch for in the near future. Other artists included Youngsta, Bondax, DJ Zinc an Iration Steppas.
Day two was no different from day one in that the schedule was packed with a huge amount of artists and DJs, more than we actually had time to view. The difficult choice of planning the day around set times opened up the days activities. We spent most of our time in The Garden stage for the grime set which had Newham Generals, Big Narstie, Donaeo and True Tiger rocking the crowd. The Garden was a smaller stage but was one of the more visually engaging; the stage was covered in vines and leaves and was on a small hillside. There was spots to chill out all around and everything was easily accessible. The Harbour stage was the next destination for Action Bronson. The energy he came onto the stage with sent a thrust of energy through the crowd. The beats, the raps and the energy just set off all the vodka red bulls in everyone’s stomachs to create an intense euphoria in the crowd. Unfortunately due to set times conflicts we had to proceed to another stage so we missed the end of his set and regrettably missed him reprimanding a stage invader. Onwards, we went on to catch the most of the set in the Fort Arena of High Focus Records. Big shout out to all the High Focus crew as they always put on a mesmerizing show, the crowd was lively, rapping along to each verse it was a British hip hop lovers paradise. The far-reaching appeal of High Focus Records also showed in the crowd they drew to the arena White, Black, Asian, boys, girls, men, women; everybody was represented in the crowd.
Notable highlights of the festival include the veteran, the living legend that is DJ Premier. It goes without say the Harbour stage was jam-packed with people and he did not disappoint the hits rolled out, from fan favourites to lesser known tracks but all equally well received by the audience. Every nights of the festival you will find yourself floating from stage to stage as there is so much to see each night, it was an exhausting time each night but the festival site has so many hidden gems along its paths. This ranges from small DJ booths to shot and wine bars, chilling out areas etc. The staff around the site, both the English and the Croatian, are very polite and helpful; this is one thing we really like about the festival, the top-notch customer care. The festival runs into the early hours each night with the last DJs sets finishing at 6am, both at each arena and on the beach. The food stalls were open throughout this time or those like us fancied a munch before escaping back to our beds. The festival continued its token system which was much easier than carrying around copious amounts of cash, but it is wise to change these as you go along and not all at the same time.
There were many highlights this year with the huge balance and variation of music, our group are already talking about the plans to return next year. We would like to take some time to thank the staff and management of the festival for welcoming us back for another year, the huge amount of help you provided us aided us to have an amazing time. We will be returning next year and are hugely excited to see what artists you will bring to the table. Congratulations to you all on an amazing festival.