Three Weeks Later & I'm still Dreaming about Dimensions Festival

dimensions23082013 copy

There are some experiences in life that once experienced, we know we’ll try our hardest to recreate again and again, whenever possible......

dimensions6

Picture by Marc Sethi 
www.marcsethi.com 

I’m sure I speak for most who’ve been lucky enough to attend, that venturing to one of the many music festivals dotted along the Adriatic coast is definitely one of these experiences. For me, there is something justifiably addictive about the following scene (if you can picture it): a writhing, sweaty mass of beautifully tanned bodies, thousands of pairs of feet gently stomping from side to side on a grand stage of pebbles, necks and shoulders glazed by the Croatian sun, limbs pulsating to the vibrations of looming sound systems, and smiling faces as far as the eye can see. It is an image that will burn the back of my retinas throughout the winter months, basically until I’m back on that beach and can witness it once again. The beautiful thing about Croatian festivals? There’s no need for dance workshops, thousands of metres of bunting, or towering Block 9-esque installations. People survive happily on three basic things: music, sun, and some inhibition removers (if you catch my drift). It’s just perfect.

 dimensions2

Picture by Marc Sethi 
www.marcsethi.com 

Dimensions Festival has all of these features in abundance, and for the second year in the row it is proving to be one of the most, if not THE most, perfect settings for experiencing them. I have tried with all my might to write a balanced account of the various pros and cons of my four days at Dimensions, to outline as objectively as one can, the musical highlights and the organisational successes. But, truthfully, all I want to write is just how utterly magical the whole festival was, how my expectations from its first year were not only met but exceeded, and how I will definitely be returning next year, and the year after that, and the year after that.

In my opinion, there are three key reasons behind the beauty of Dimensions Festival: the insanely picturesque Istrian location (beach front during the day and abandoned 19th century fort at night), the fun-loving, not too posey, and musically-educated crowd, and the superbly-curated lineup. It’s these elements that informed the countless moments, on all four days, where I would stand and look out in amazement and think how lucky I was to be in such a beautiful setting, listening to such mind-blowingly good music, and surrounded by such beautiful people. I remember vividly walking out on to the beach party on the very first day and leaping with excitement, seeing the sprawls of happy people dancing and swimming, hearing chilled lo-fi soundwaves travel over the water, and exclaiming to my friends “ISN’T IT JUST BEAUTIFUL?!”. We all knew from the start that we had made the right decision to return to Pula this year, but throughout the weekend it we were continuously astonished at just how much fun we were having.

dimensions7

Photo by Dan Medhurst Photography 

dimensions8

Photo by Dan Medhurst Photography

Despite relatively large success after their debut event last summer, the organizers still pulled out the stops this year making clear efforts to place Dimensions as one of the best electronic events in Croatia. Noticeably more thought was put into the production on many of the stages especially the Beach Party and the addition of The Clearing stage was, I think, relatively successful in limiting some of the human traffic in the main part of the arena. Obviously, one of the biggest additions to the fesival was the Opening Ceremony party on the Wednesday night, that invited some massive headliners down to party in, undoubtedly, one of the best concert venues I’ve ever been to: The Pula Arena, a Roman amphitheatre in the centre of town. The only remaining amphitheatre of its kind with four remaining walls, this Colloseum-esque construction is naturally acoustic and was consequently an incredible arena in which to see the likes of Portico Quartet, Mount Kimbie, and, of course, Bonobo with a full live band. It was pretty cool, to say the least.

dimensions3

Photo by Dan Medhurst Photography

But the real musical treats came over the following four days; so many in fact, that I couldn’t even possibly outline them without going into full blown essay-mode. From the educating Giles Peterson to the sublimely soulful Eglo Records showcase, the sun-kissed beach party led by Romare to The Analogue Cops’ brain-melting techno fest in the Moat, the predictably life-affirming hours of disco and old school cuts from 3 Chairs to the out-of-nowhere set from Moxie that blasted her Deviation colleagues completely out of the water – the variation and the quality was consistently astounding (if you can imagine such an oxymoron!) Plus, we need to take a moment to give praise to the brains and brawn behind The Outside the Fort arena, whoever they may be, for providing the most intense and crisp sound on site and for basically being THE SPOT four nights in a row - never stop what you’re doing, team, you da bestest!

dimensions4

Photo by Marc Sethi
www.marcsethi.com 

dimensions10

Photo by Marc Sethi
www.marcsethi.com 

Interestingly, many of this year’s acts were invited to return from their performances last year, resulting in a strong sense of continuity and progression, a feeling that some labels and collectives have deservedly become part of the Dimensions fabric. Having spent almost six hours watching the Eglo family feed their delicious soup of soul, disco, and hip hop to the Outside the Fort Stage, and then again for another three hours on the Eglo Records boat party – the team headed up by Alexander Nut definitely felt like a little slice of home at the festival. There was something beautifully cyclical about returning to the same site at the same time a year later, watching some of the same artists embodying the Dimensions’ musical ethos. Certainly, it was an extraordinary moment when, once again, I was handed a glass of straight liquor by the one and only Kenny G (Moodymann) on Sunday night, just as he had handed me one in exactly the same place the year before. I was even standing in the same place with my front right speaker crew, the exact same friends who I had stood next to last year, who were photographed in the exact same place by the same photographer. It was a kind of serendipitous perfection that blew my poor little mind, as I stood lapping up the beautiful, light rain that came and blessed us on the Monday morning, and continues to do so as I sit at my laptop watching this evil, miserable rain pour down my window back home in the UK.

dimensions15

Photo by Dan Medhurst Photography 

All I can say is that I hope with all my heart in 49 weeks I will be standing in that exact same spot, having danced for hours on end, drinking the sweet nectar given to me by Moodymann himself just as the sun starts to slowly rise on Dimensions Festival 2014...because I know that at that moment I will be blissfully happy.

By Becky Young 

www.dimensionsfestival.com

Dimensions Festival on Facebook