The number of amazing quality events means that Croatia is proving to be the festival destination in mainland Europe. There’s also something for everyone, whether you want a pop & rock event; a huge stadium festival with big name DJs; EDM; a boutique and laid-back festival by the sea; partying day and night in some of the best clubs in Europe…the list goes on! Festivals in Croatia get many repeat visitors year after year – but if you’ve never been to an event, why not give it a go in 2017?
Why Croatia? Well it’s guaranteed sunshine and cheap. What are the things you hate about festivals in the UK? Probably being hunched in your tent in the pouring rain wondering why you paid £200 for the pleasure I would imagine. Most of the festivals in Croatia are under £100 and accommodation in and around the site is cheap as chips. More importantly everybody is HAPPY! It’s a glittery, sunshine filled oasis of shiny happy people that all share a mutual love.
The Adriatic coast is a great base for partying, great food; amazing wine and activities such as sailing and hiking so start looking towards Croatia for your 2017 festival/holiday combo. There are two main sites of festivals in Croatia – Tisno garden site and Zrce Beach.
The Garden site Tisno is set in a magnificent natural amphitheatre with gently rolling hills leading down to our own private bay, a shimmering sandy beach and crystal clear waters. An undiscovered, secluded paradise just a short walk from the beautiful town of Tisno the site has a truly festival feel whilst retaining the intimacy so special to all our visitors. Tisno is conveniently located on the beautiful Adriatic coast halfway between Zadar (45mins) and Split (60 mins) airports. The old town is charming and picture-perfect with a host of restaurants, cafes, apartments and is connected to the island of Murter by bridge.
Novella beach on the island of Pag is up there as one of Europe’s most beautiful locations, making it a perfect spot to sit back, relax and catch some rays. The festivals actually takes place mostly on the beach giving it a real summer feel where as night time events tend to be held at some of the neighbouring clubs.
All of the festivals I recommend offer cheap and easy transfers from the local airports (see shuttletours.net also) as well as accommodation on site. However if you prefer to take a cheaper option and experience more of the island, airbnb.co.uk or booking.com offer an incredible variety of apartments. I always take this option and the island is so small that walking to and from the festival site is easy.
With early bird tickets for next year about to be released, here’s my top ten of the Croatian festivals to stick in next years diary:
Love International – Tisno
29th June to 6th July
£120 for five days
The Garden Tisno is the location for this glittering event– entirely open air and making full use of its stages, areas and facilities – not to mention the legendary onsite nightclub, Barbarella’s – the first Love International of 2016 was amazing and clearly the start of great things.
It’s Team Love that brings this new festival to Croatia’s shores – they’re also behind the Love Saves The Day festival in Bristol and the Futureboogie record label. Dave Harvey and Tom Paine, who have many years of experience working with The Garden Festival’s crew, are curating this festival in Croatia. International DJs such as Craig Richards, Dixon and Eats Everything will play the site and some of the twice daily boat parties, giving you the perfect soundtrack to your holiday.
Hideout – Novalja, on the island of Pag
26th to 30th June
£150 for five days
Hideout made its debut in 2011 in a big way and has attracted a loyal following ever since from a young twenties crowd compared to the slightly older crowd in Love.
The last few years have seen some fantastic acts perform, with sets from top names from the dance music world such as Chase and Status, Pendulum, Erol Alkan, Seth Troxler, DJ Hype, Andy C, Simian Mobile Disco, Erol Alkan, 2ManyDjs, Pendulum, Ricardo Villalobos, Annie Mac, Skrillex, Skream, Sigma, Seth Troxler and more.
Electric Elephant – Tisno
7th to the 11th July
£100 for five days (or buy a Love International and EE double ticket for £150)
Organised by UK DJs and promoters Unabombers, the Festival promotes a wide mix of music from its live acts and DJs – reggae, electronica, soul, house and techno. The festival also hosts the (in)famous daytime boat parties; where revelers can enjoy partying it up on the high seas, whilst there’s plenty of other fun activities on site to take part in.
The Elephant crowd is slightly older than both Hideout and Love – 30s but generally there is a mix and everyone is there to party so who cares! This year saw Auntie Flo, Boo Williams, Bicep, Craig Charles, Maribou State, Todd Terry, Secretsundaze, Nightmares on Wax and many more perform.
Fresh Island Festival – Novalja
£69 for three days
I can honestly say that this is Europe’s #1 Hip Hop Beach Festival, held in the clubs of Zrce Beach in the town of Novalja.
The first few years of the event have seen some pretty big names from the world of hip hop perform – Snoop Dogg (aka Snoop Lion), Eve, Iggy Azalea, Nas, A$AP Rocky, Rick Ross, Pusha T, Skepta and Method Man and Redman have all got the party going on Zrce Beach.
The island is a short transfer from Zadar airport and there are plenty of gorgeous apartments to rent nearby. Click here for package details (link)
Suncebeat – Tisno
20th to 27th July
£100 for five days
SunceBeat returns to Tisno for it’s eighth year in 2016 bringing together like-minded music fans to this small yet beautiful setting on the Croatian coast.
Organised by the people behind the successful Southport Weekender, the setting of The Garden Tisno sees this intimate festival take place near a private sandy cove – a perfect location for relaxing during the daytime to some chilled out tunes on the onsite beach, and nights full of partying.
SunceBeat have given us Black Coffee, Louie Vega, Derrick Carter, Detroit Swindle, Joey Negro, Osunlade in the past and will not disappoint.
Soundwave – Tisno
4th to 8th August 2016
£125 for four days
Organised by one of London’s top promoters, Rob Waller/Soundcrash, along with one of the managing directors and curators of Outlook & Dimensions Festivals, Noah Ball, the event is a wonderful opportunity to experience a music festival on the beautiful coast. This unique European boutique festival has a very loyal following. It’s now in it’s eighth year and sells out really quickly so look sharp!
The festival combines music and art with lots of street artists ‘decorating’ the site during the festival. There is also a big push towards cinema with Croatian movies being shown all through the day.
If you’re more into the music then all good as with names like Craig Charles, Calibre, Mala, Gentleman’s Dub Club, So Fresh So Clean, Taste The Difference and Mala, no worries as you’ll be sorted.
Defected – Tisno
£99 for five days
How excited was I when I heard Defected were coming to Croatia? Extremely that’s how.
Defected have run legendary nights in the UK and Ibiza for years so to bring their particular brand to Croatia really puts it on the dance music map with Basement Jaxx (DJ set), Roger Sanchez, Kenny Dope, Dennis Ferrer and Julio Bashmore on the bill this year.
A mix of main stage house superstars, disco icons and underground heroes play to partygoers day and night in the awesome Garden Resort, making full use of everything the site has to offer – including daytime beach sessions and the (in)famous boat parties, great stages and the onsite nightclub, Barbarella’s, for some top notch after parties.
Sonus – Novalja
21 to 25 August
£155 for five days
Brought to you by promoters Cosmopop and Sonus, the festival will be a magical five days of partying in Croatia’s party central location – Zrce Beach in Novalja, on the island of Pag.
A huge techno event that celebrates it’s third birthday next year, Sonus has boasted names like Apollonia, Dixon, Seth Troxler, Riccardo Villalobos, Jackmaster and Loco Dice bringing an Ibiza vibe home to Croatia.
Dekmental – Tisno
1 to 5 September
£100 for five days
This boutique festival at the garden site is for dance music enthusiasts, focusing on the art of Djing. Only 1500 tickets means that this festival likes to keep itself small and exclusive so make sure you’re quick.
Unlike most of the other festivals, Dekmental offers on site camping however be warned it’s still HOT in September so I’d recommend staying off site.
Jon K, Mattik and Invisible Sound System are some of the many names taking over the site.
Movement – Tisno
28 Jul to 1 August
£100 for one week
Movement is another great choice for dance music fans attracting some big mainstream names such as Sven Vath, David Morales and Seth Troxler. With firm links with Circo Loco you’ll get the best in dirty house music to dance away the night to.
All of the festival sites mentioned have Facebook groups and forums attached to their sites so sign up to get early bird ticket information and to talk to previous attendees so you get all your questions answered. Otherwise, drop me a note; I’ve been out to Croatia four years in a row now and like think I know the best tips and hints to get the best out of my time there and I’m happy to help.