To be honest dunno where to begin…My brain is still trying to figure out whether that what just happened was just my waking dream ? If it was only a dream please let me sleep and wake me up only next summer. It was too good to be true, and with no fear of contradiction I can say I had a time of my life. And yes, I always say that when I come back home from Tisno but it simply is like that. I feel blessed to know so many inspiring people in my life and for being part of this family all of those years and the last two weeks had just confirmed that. So many special Adriatic moments were shared this year in Tisno.
Although, last year I was very sad when the last 10 years long edition of much-adored Garden festival ended. New Croatian festival Love International by Dave Harvey and Tom Paine from Team Love and guys behind Futureboogie Records label honestly blow my mind and brought joy into my life again. Amazing gigs, people and atmosphere that seem to have created indelible memories for me. Year after year Garden delivered one of the highlights of my year and it was hard to see how Love International and Electric Elephant festivals could top that but they somehow did. Beautiful faces, spaces, music and vibe. Thank you Love International for filling me with positive energy and feeding my soul for this year.
Dave Harvey previously a booker for the Garden and now a co-founder of Love International with his partner Tom Pain did a great line up for this year , bringing the festival forward into the new era.
An old and tried and tested crew of DJs strength with new and young artists made this festival 24/7 hours literary in every corner, nothing but the good music. Although, if you transmit the whole place in the context of a fairytale you will understand that piece of paradise is not hard to reach any more.
Since I have written about it before but for those who still do not know Tisno has stunning beauty of a location in Europe, and one of the best festival spots for sure. Located on the Dalmatian coast, on the peaceful bay of Adriatic shore. Across Murter island to which it is connected by a small bridge. Surrounded by green hills and 3 side sun-bathed crystal clear water, the smell of lavender and the colors of the sky culminating at dawn. In shades of red, orange, green and purple before the sun completely sinks behind the hills and billions of stars and the moon begin to shine in the beautiful blue sea.
The festival is located a mile from the centre of village Tisno, accessible by road or water cab and for those more experienced adventurers through the forest shortcut path. The festival space includes three music stages, several bars, food corners and beautiful terrace where visitors can take a break , eat and enjoy in Balearic and down tempo sounds. Behind the bars Olive Grove stage is situated on the most picturesque stage of all, with many disco balls, ornaments and strips. Maybe it is the merriest stage of them all , but my favorite was Beach bar because the view from the DJ boot that looks like shown in the postcards.
The festival takes place in this location from 6 am until 2 am and after several off- site after-party venues that are several kilometers away from kick off in Barbarella’s which is one of the best open air clubs in Europe with great sound system. Check out videos made by Kerri Chandler on his FB page about this club. The party lasts until the 6 AM and offers loads of opportunities to dance under the stars till the crack of dawn.
It’s difficult to describe my regular daily experience in the course of two weeks of festivals (because it seemed to have been a long day) both Love International and Electric Elephant which are in the same location, which have perfectly matched their music selection when it comes to music genres and styles. For me it was a never ending experience since I attended a bunch of parties listening to DJ sets and live acts and I find it difficult to describe it in a single review. So in this article I tend to briefly touch upon my experience from both festivals and point out my highlights in more detail. The emphasis was on disco and house music, a blend of an old school and new music but…let me put in a nutshell, it can be anything but whatever it happens to be, it just has to have a soul.
Mixture of DJs and live acts lasting from lunch time through to the breakfast, the music always seems to be perfectly matched with the moment. From slow-mo, lounge, chill out, new jazz in early mornings and afternoons through Ibiza like sunset moments to headliners and club night beyond with a handful of options. But, it never felt like there wasn’t something to do or hear but stare in the night.
If you just happen to be a crazy music freak or not, especially if you are music aficionado like me and you don’t want to miss out on anything, it’s physically not possible to be in the three places at the same time. If you are on the boat you are bound to miss sets on Olive, Beach or Main stage or vice versa. But, I did my best to hear my fav performers and I sacrificed two weeks of having no sleep at all but I didn’t regret it for a minute. I will try and impress you in the shortest lines of my most glorious moments there but you just have to experience it, that you can understand me.
Raving is not easy, it’s hell of a job to do.
My welcome party was Argonauty boat with Gerd Janson and two fantastic boys Solar and Galen from San Francisco who confirmed why one year of patiently waiting for these festivals was worth my while. This is what exactly what I needed, a friendly crowd, a great atmosphere and excellent San Francisco sound including many genres from classic disco to modern house sounds pulling out Gerd Janson’s acid records but always well adapted to the time and the location. In that way my almost 15 days long party couldn’t start any better.
After my welcome boat party until long expected night in Barbarella’s with residents of Sub club Harry and Dominic and the rest of Glasgow crew Midland and Lord of Isle my open air party session in Tisno officially started. What can I say about the guys from Glasgow apart from a big resounding WOW, this is what I was yearning for, even if some say it was a bit harder sound for men it simply was perfect. I was thinking “Barbarella’s I will see you again”, so it happened every night and I don’t know how I survived so much dancing. When it comes to this club, I can honestly say every night was different and extraordinary, but great atmosphere, vibe and music never seem to have been lacking. Maybe the craziest night in Barbarella’s was Horse Meat Disco- four guys from London who were rockin’ crowd with underground disco, italo and rarities. Typical of them, but that is the reason why I am loving them.
When it comes to music, my highlights are FutureBoogie night with one of my fav DJ Felix Dickinson, Dave Harvey and Christophe. I have yet to mention awesome music sets from Craig Richards and Ben UFO and rest of Just Jack crew. But, I have to admit that there can be no great party without old school, deep house master proved Kerry Chandler who performed during Electric Elephant. His live set included keyboards, percussions, synths, guitars and his own brilliant soulful voice. His soulful roots come from New Jersey , him having mastered the vocals and the instruments and keeping his well-known bass lines all in perfect harmony.
Another highlight for Electric Elephant in Barbarella’s was sequel to Alfos boat party with well-respected pioneers Sean Jonson and Andrew Weatherall, Optimo and Justin Robertson. Making a crowd a bit loco with their recognizable techno, acid, Balearic and super freaky down tempo. It was a master class of its sort on how to blend and mix all these genres with no flaw whatsoever which was for sure another wonderful night in my life.
Highlights on the beach stage was the same as last year, Dashran Jesrani Dj set with his unmistakable tracks selection mixed in a perfect flow old and new disco records with a few of his famous tracks, made that night memorable. “Disco daddy” proved once more why I have so much respect for him. Other great sets on the same stage were by Eric Duncan and Mark Seven who played various flavors of party-tinged house, techno and disco. They kept crowd glued to the dance floor from start to finish. I must mention the remarkably daily sets on this stage by Alex Boman, Johny Rock, Jex Opolis, Steve Cobby, Craig Christon, Prosumer..thank you all for pouring such amazing tunes and sounds into my hungry ears.
I seemed to have missed Jacques Renault’s set because of Stop making sense boat party with Chicago house producer Boo Williams and Madera Verde, but I returned him a favour with one dance during the Another fav DJ set from Electric Elephant on the Beach stage by a great producer and DJ, the Revenge, who was playing his own perfectly produced remixes and tunes. His truly remarkable performance was neither particularly trendy nor retro, it was difficult to define if it was old or brand new but you simply could not stop dancing till the very end.
Since the welcome boat party was amazing, I couldn’t imagine a better closure of the Beach stage featuring Danny from Psychemagic, Pete Herbert and Dicky Trisco. That night was truly “Disco deviant”, collective madness and ecstasy. They rocked the dance floor with their own well known brilliant music style so this was pure disco pleasure.
In order not to forget the Main stage, where I actually spent less time this year than last year, but I managed to catch Live gig of Khruabgbin trio from Houston, and great as always Crazy P- fabulous singer and always best stylish lady Danielle Moore and Chris Todd who played mixture of live and DJ set and whipped the crowd into a frenzy. I would also point out DJ set of Red Axis and Katze and Asaf from Multiculti label playing strong beats with smooth, acid tinged melodies, traditional and ethnic with modern and tribal sounds that I enjoyed very much.
Terrace is a venue where you can take a break, sit and enjoy beautiful food, old school Balearic, lounge, down tempo records and rarities from exceptional experienced record diggers Phil Cooper, Pete Leung, Sanky, Michael Cook, Siba and Troy…
The most exciting nights on Olive stage were Animal dancing night with Tornado Valace, Susane Craft and Otologic and the second one featured Not an Animal label. Every time I passed through this stage I decided to stay and dance whether it were Belfast music club, Multiculty, Wolf music, Shape X with Rug Dug. Simply on this dj stage, there wasn’t a simple bad music day nor night.
Morning sessions with Lexx, Phil Mison, Apiento, Moonboots, Jason Bordman, Jonny Nash, Telephones, Dr Rob and unforgettable live gig with Khruabgbin were something very special and magical for me. Big thanks and kudos to organizers of Love International who didn’t gave me a chance to get a wink of sleep. Sunbeds, lazy hammocks, sunrise, a view onto the open sea, the sound of crickets, woods and blue sky and a bunch of smiling faces and good friends around me, hugs, kisses and jokes and overall music of Balearic masters seem to have announced only one message that life is a such a beautiful thing.
The biggest excitement at those festivals are boat parties. Actually the only worries or stress that you can have there is how to catch a boat party on time. But don’t let spoil the fun. Once you manage to do that , you’re treated to a four hour sail around a Croatian coastline that cuts through azzuro blue water and past lush island undergrowth and the most beautiful sunset. and on top of it you get the chance to enjoy the sets of classes top DJs. Uber-cool booze cruises, where the Djs played in an even more intimate setting rocking the boat in more ways than one.
This time I was on more than 10 boat parties, pretty incredible isn’t?
A personal favourites were ‘wowness’ which one can but feel and be at a loss for words. Disco Knight boat party with Anthony Mansfield, Jackmaster, M3 and Shine Object; two proper Balearic boats Claremont-Mark Seven, Phil Mison, Mudd and Down to the sea and back- Balearic Mike and Kelvin Andrews; A Love From Outer Space -Andrew Weatherall and Sean Johnson and Optimo my B-day boat party.
Perhaps the craziest experience every year is the last day of Love International with Secret island party supported by astonishing Salon zur Renate crew from Berlin. where two big boats take you to the hidden island and where you party all day in the wood with the perfect view. This year whichever the boat you were in, be it Argonaught with Berliners Peak and Swift, Moscoman, Paramida and Michael Ziatera or The Martina boat with Team Love Allstars you couldn’t make a mistake. Ah… that forest dancing with Moscoman’s sound which takes in elements of Techno, New Wave, House, and the sounds of his native Middle East and Berlin’s lady Paramida with her fantastic set will live long in my memory.
Our headquarters and meeting place where everything began and ended was Restaurant Carmen perfect spot for drinking a few glasses of very good homemade rakia or wine and eat always fresh and delicious sea food. And here you can check out on your friends and get to hear how they spent the night before, and If there were any survivors from Barbarrela’s and Vortex ( officially after parties place) and whether they lost or just watched European Football Championship…
Both festival crowds were always up for some fun but always laid-back and very friendly. It was easy to meet people and almost impossible to lose them. There were no crowds to elbow your way through. I was lucky enough to spend 2 weeks listening to wicked music in a gorgeous location with splendid weather and most of all that I got to share it with the best people, friends old and new is what made those festivals truly unforgettable.
It’s difficult to imagine if those festivals can run any deeper, but I’m pretty sure we will all have to go next year too, so keep rolling in 2017 and let the family grow.
Hopefully next year the organizers will remember to ban plastic cups and we will all have a small ashtray so as not to litter the environment because we want many years and many generations to enjoy the beauty of the Adriatic coast.
Thanks to everyone for everything and I can’t wait to see you next year on the dance floor because WE LOVE THE GOOD MUSIC!!!
Dragana Kostica is the Belgrade-based editor in chief and founder of Still in Belgrade art, culture and club scene magazine. She holds a Master of Arts in Cultural Policy and Management in Arts (MA of Arts) and a Bachelor degree in Archaeology.