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Festival Review: Outlook & Dimensions

A full week has gone past since I returned from sunny Croatia, where I spent 11 days in the seaside city of Pula for two of the summer’s most exciting music festivals: Outlook and Dimensions. Returning with the worst chesty cough I’ve ever had, (it can get very dusty in an old abandoned fort) the infamous ‘Outlook lung’ and a persistent batch of tonsillitis, I can easily say that both festivals quite literally took every ounce of energy out of me, and it was 100% worth it!
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This year was my third time returning to Croatia for Outlook Festival, but my first time experiencing their smaller sister festival Dimensions, which only launched last year. Getting the chance to experience both festivals was an amazing opportunity and I could not recommend them more enthusiastically to anyone interested in house, dance, dub, reggae and bass music.

Read on to find out more about my time at Outlook and Dimensions festivals below, and be prepared to start saving your money already for next year!

Outlook Festival

Arriving to the campsite at the very rock n’ roll hour of 4am on Thursday 29th August was knackering but also very exciting, and setting up our tents while being able to hear the blaring, bass pumping music from the nearby beach bar party made me even more impatient to get out there and get dancing. Thursday night I managed to catch sets by Biome, Author (sadly only with Ruckspin present but he was accompanied by a wicked trumpeter who stole the show), Phaeleh, Kryptic Minds and Mungo’s Hi Fi vs. Firehouse Sound. Pumped with adrenaline and excitement for the first night made every set sound amazing, and the perfect dry and sunny weather (which luckily lasted throughout my entire trip) made the first day perfect.

On Friday daytime I caught the sold out Eton Messy boat party, with sets from Blonde, Sly One, AZ & Tor, Maribou State and the Eton Messy DJ’s themselves, who cranked up the volume and got the crowd going crazy. From speaking to a lot of other festival goers over the weekend it seemed that this boat party was the best one there, and I felt proud to have been able to get a place on it. That evening I made it down to the harbour to see Taskforce and the infamous Mos Def (Yasiin Bey), both of which gave incredible performances and interacted passionately with the crowd.

On Saturday night I was most excited to catch Submotion Orchestra’s soulful and soothing live set at the Harbour stage, followed by a stellar performance from The Pharcyde and then a trip over to The Clearing to catch Digital Mystikz vs. Loefah, who’s energetic set literally got the crowd jumping up and down to the beat.

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Sunday night came far too quickly, where I watched the incredible Bonobo at The Clearing, who captured the attention of the crowd with a mixture of new and old material. Gentleman’s Dub Club lit up the Harbour stage afterwards, and I rounded off the night by catching some of Mr Scruff & MC Kwasi’s lively set before falling into an exhausted yet extremely satisfied sleep.

Outlook passed by incredibly fast (as it always seems to for me) and with around 12,000 attendees the whole weekend seemed consistently lively and fast-paced. Unfortunately this amount of people meant I was unable to catch sets by some artists due to the long waiting periods to get into some areas, particularly The Moat and Mungo’s Arena, and I hope the organisers of Outlook will take this into consideration for next year as I believe previous years have been less busy. Other than this small disadvantage I really enjoyed my third year at Outlook, and encourage anyone who hasn’t been before to give it a go; you won’t be disappointed!

Dimensions Festival

After a quiet three days rest between the two festivals I was ready to get partying again when Dimensions rolled around the following Thursday. With just over 5,000 people attending the festival there was a visible difference in the mood throughout the campsite; everyone was a lot more relaxed and chilled out and I was happy to see a dramatic decrease in the amount of queues for the music stages at night.

On Thursday I caught sets from Trevino in The Clearing, Pangaea and Pearson Sound in The Moat (who both played a lot of stomping techno beats), Zed Bias and Paleman over in Mungo’s Arena and Blonde and Sly One in The Dungeon. The mixture of different genres created a great start to the festival and gave me a chance to catch a lot of people’s sets that I hadn’t seen before.

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On Friday night I caught Eliphino’s set in The Courtyard, Midland in Fort Arena 1, then headed over to The Clearing for Gilles Peterson and Mala in Cuba’s live set, which was incredible and easily one of my highlights for the festival.

Saturday however was the best night for me, and I started off the evening watching Mount Kimbie’s live set. Although they had a minor technical error at the start of their show they didn’t stop it from ruining their performance, and they captured the crowd’s attention with their live versions of old and new tracks. Afterwards I made my way down to Mungo’s Arena to catch King Midas Sound followed by a live performance from Tikiman with Scion, then Mala.

On the last night I made a point of visiting all the stages to make sure I hadn’t missed out on anything, and caught sets from The Invisible, Lawrence, Demdike Stare, Ilija Rudman, Theo Parrish and South London Ordnance. I got back to my tent just before it started to tip down with rain, the first and only spell of bad weather I saw while staying in Croatia. Partied out is an understatement (one reason why it’s taken me a week to sit down and write this article) and I’m not sure if I’ll ever dare to tackle two festivals in a row again, but I loved every minute of it. Thank you Outlook and Dimensions; you were incredible.

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