This quite simply is my favourite festival of all time. If I could live here permanently, lazing away the heat of the day on a dusty white pebbled beach listening to ska, reggae, drum and bass while gaining some serious tan… Trust me, I fucking would. I have been to Pula, Croatia three times now to experience this legendary example of paradise and every time I leave, a piece of my soul stays with it. If you are a a fan of DnB, Grime, Ska, Reggae and Hip-Hop then you MUST, by any means necessary come to Outlook Festival. The Best Drum&Bass Festival. Ever.
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Location & Planning
The festival is situated in Stinjan, Croatia and the surrounding areas house all accommodation for apartments, villas and camping. The venue itself is based in a Roman fort ruin called Punta Christo and for me is undoubtedly the best festival venue I have ever been to. – I have yet to see a better off shores venue, but I haven’t been to Burning Man Festival in Vegas which is supposed to be quite remarkable. –
There are a few choices here:
The nearest city and airport to the festival is Pula but I will tell you now this is NOT the quickest route.
I would recommend flying to Venice. From there you can:
- Get a bus
- Rent a car and drive (our choice) all the way to Croatia. Which isn’t really that long, especially if you are driving at night, about 3h max, 4 to be safe.
- Hitchhike – Which is what a friend of ours did (from Vienna, Austria all the way through Ptuj, Ljubljana, Portoroz, Novingrad, Pula, Fort Punta Christo & finally arriving at Outlook Festival 2016.)
There are several options for accommodation at Outlook:
- Camp at the venue campsite
- Camp just outside at Puntizella Open Beach the “Unofficial Campsite” at no extra cost as you will not be paying a camping fee like those in the venue – they have just recently built showers and toilets too so it’s pretty cushty! –
- Rent an apartment from one of the locals in the surrounding areas which is what we did every year.
If you can round a group of you together and need a tidy, easy to manage apartment merely a 15 minute drive from the festival venue then Slaven is your guy. He rents out an apartment to sleep 6, check it out. We have stayed with him 2 years consecutively and have had no problems what-so-ever.
** NOTE: All I ask is that you respect the dude’s home, tidy up, no loud noise or music after 11 (they live upstairs) and if you use the BBQ to clean it after. Sometimes festival goers leave a bad taste in the local people’s mouths because they disrespect the neighbours around them. We know you are on holiday but have some regard for others and the holiday makers that aren’t there for a party. Yeah?
Opening Amphitheatre Concert
Pula arena is one of the largest Roman amphitheatres in existence that is still in tact and is nearly 2000 years old! It is the perfect place for Outlookers to kickstart the festival in one of the most surreal and unlikely concert venues in the world. An experience not to be missed, seriously.
In previous years we have seen the likes of Gentlemen’s Dub Club, SBTRKT and this year (2016) we were blessed by the presence of the legend himself Damien ‘Jr Gong’ Marley. So make sure you buy yourself a ticket if you plan on going to Outlook, even if it’s just to experience it for one time only.
The Beach Party
This is what makes the festival for me. The days spent on the beach listening/watching and dancing to live music and DJ sets, drinking, sun-worshiping and making friends. The beach party is based on the beach between the campsite and the main arena and is equipped with several bars including Beach Bar Pacino at the far left end if you are looking at the sea, water activities like an inflatable obstacle course and pedalos to take out to the water.
This short clip filmed by a drone will sum it up for you.
The various food stands are all delicious but I spent most of my money at the Mexican stall (located on the far right at the end by the entrance to the campsite. There’s a tree in front of it you can’t miss it) getting Chilli Con Carne – who also have amazing shots of golden tequila with cinnamon and orange slices btw *winks* – and the Vegan stand (located on the right also as you walk towards the beach party, next to the smoothie place which is also BANGING!) getting their Daily Soup. Nutritious.
As stated previously, the festival venue is held in an abandoned Roman Fort called Punta Christo in Stinjan, Croatia. The venue is masterfully put together by the festival organisers turning a derelict piece of history into an experience of a lifetime. Each separate stage has it’s own quirk and character distinguishing each from the other. The years before this one the Main Stage used to be ‘The Harbour’ but it would seem that it is no longer part of the festival and is only used for the Boat Parties in the day. – Do any Outlookers actually know the reason for this? –
Here is a walkthrough of the venue untouched, check it out:
Now if that hasn’t got you going, you don’t deserve to be there!
This is the first stage you come upon when shinnying up the hill into the main part of the festival. This glade in the Croatian forest sits between the campsite, the fort and the harbour and comes equipped with a mammoth soundsystem and a capacity of 3000. It seems as though The Clearing has adopted the position as the Main Stage hosting headline artists like Andy c, Stormy, Kano, Noisia and more. And it is no surprise, with such a great atmosphere and all round sound, it attracts the masses as a favourite stage to go to.
This is now the second stage you come across before entering the Main Arena where the rest of the stages reside in a much closer proximity. It does not appear on the video above because this stage is brand new! It’s one of the smaller stages but was welcomed with raving arms and dancing bodies from all of us.
This stage is to your left as you enter the Main Arena hidden in the trees and away from the rush of the migrating festival-goers. It is also right next to a couple of bars, so It’s a good place to get some drinks in before heading deeper into the fort. The only comment I would have about this stage is that it is on a bit of a slope and can be a bit bothersome when you are trying get your skank on and find yourself tumbling over due to juts in the ground beneath you.
This is another one of the smaller stages that is located directly ahead and to the right as you enter the Main Arena. It has a small dome stage for Djs and Live bands alike and is slightly more alternative than the other stages.
This stage is visually one of my favourites due to it’s location in the fort/festival. As you finally get into the Main Arena you will pass the other two stages The Garden and Arija before reaching The Moat on your right, looking down into this jaw dropping stage location. Musically it is also a stage I have spent most of my time in. – It’s just my cuppa tea! – Upon entering you scale down 7m of solid wall, diving into a 100m long strip of pure bass booming bliss. The queues can be colossal but trust me it’s worth it, just to experience the sounds of the bass in your chest and the atmosphere. – And to be honest the queues don’t actually last that long, unless it’s an extremely popular artist and people don’t wanna leave. In which case you best organise your time properly and get there early huh?! –
The sound system that has been set up behind these 20m walls neighbour The Moat. What distinguishes this stage from the rest of them are the awesome projected images all over the walls creating a trip for the senses.
The next stage you see on the video is The Courtyard, but it actually isn’t running anymore. I think perhaps due to sound and queue logistics but we were lucky to experience it back in 2013.
This turret encloses a booth and a sound system. That’s it, and it’s all you need. It’s the smallest of all the stages but leaves a big impression. You get completely consumed by the moment, being that it is such an intimate venue. Those of you that are sharing the experience will walk out remembering every vibration in your bones. – make sure you look up into the sky while you’re in there. It’s something else! –
With a capacity of 1000 ravers, this is another popular stage within the festival for it’s wide range of artists and also new breakthroughs. It is located opposite the fort, going left and down instead of up the hill to your right towards the infamous Ballroom and what was once The Courtyard in a small clearing in the forest. This stage tends to be where you end up just as the sun starts to peek through the trees.
This stage receives it’s name because of the treasure it hold inside, it’s soundsystem. Mungo’s Hifi Soundsystem is taken every year from Scotland to Croatia for the duration of the festival and damn, does it sound juicy. This awesome two story stadium can hold a capacity of 1200 bodies and is famous for it’s choice of music. If you want reggae, dub, ska and the more chilled out bass… This is your domain.
Annoyingly for us, we have booked a boat party every year and the last two times we missed them! But I would say 100% you MUST book and actually get there to experience this epic party on the Adriatic Sea. It is a 4 hour long rave on a boat in the middle of the day to get you going for the rest of the night.
If you are someone who get’s bored easily or claustraphobic, then I would not recommend buying a ticket because:
- It is just that, claustrophobic. An over crowded boat with lots of sweaty moving bodies.
- It’s loud. There’s no way to get away from the music, so if you are someone that enjoys a break from the noise, this isn’t for you.
- You are stuck. You can’t go anywhere for 4 hours. You are NOT allowed to jump off the boat or you WILL lose your wrist band if you do.
but if none of the above bothers you, then seriously do it. You won’t regret it! The first and only year we managed to go there we went on the Digital Sound Boy party boat. And me, being the Shy FX fan that I am, I politely asked for a pic after his set. tee hee.
The After Parties
Sometimes when the party is over. You just aren’t ready to head home and go to sleep. So what do you do? Go to the after party of course! Once the festival closes down (usually at about sunrise 6-7am) and they shoo you out of the venue and back down the hill towards the campsite, you can leave the actual festival venue and head towards Fazana on the beach front. Here you will come across the Unofficial Campsite – Puntizella Open Beach (which I mentioned right at the beginning of the post) and a beach hut with music and lots of still raving people. So make sure you don’t miss it, even just for a bit.
When the festival weekend is over you can still party for another two days at Beach Bar Pacino, so don’t fret.
And that’s it. That is all you need to know about one of my top festival experiences. What to do, where to go and what not to miss! But if you did it the right way, you know that you should NEVER go home and start work straight after a party like this one. So stay a while, make the most of it and you might discover some pretty awesome treats just around the corner.
Cliff Jumping in Croatia
One of our highlights in 2015 – aside from the fact it was our honeymoon, I know right? – was finding a cliff diving location about a 30 minute drive from the festival itself. Galebove Stijene or “Seagull’s Rock” is such a beautiful location. You have to drive to an unusual location up a mountain and through a forest to get to a cliff and an awesome jumping/diving site. You can check out a few more here (courtesy of fitfabforeign.com).
The Secret Lighthouse
I thought I would save the best for last, and let you all in on a little secret. This location is really something worth looking for. It is on the cliffs of the fort Punta Christo, and you can get to it through the festival but security will block it off, but if you are an adrenaline junkie and want to risk it by all means guve it a go! If you don’t wanna do the confidence test then the only way to get there is around and through the forest.
How To Get There:
The quickest way to get there is through the festival. There are some toilets in between The Void and Mungo’s Arena. Sneak theough the fence and you are on the road to victory!
If you wanna get therethe long way, you need to make your way around the beach where Beach Bar Pacino is and scale some cliffs, once you get to some flat you will find a path leading into the forest. It’s a bit of a maze and I haven’t taken pictures of how to get there exactly, cos that’s half the fun *winks*.
If you go the wrong way you will come across an abandoned camp that was built by outlookers and left for others to utilise in the years to come. So turn back and go down a different route.
A man who was squatting the fort was living quite merrily in the location which is now the festival venue. After festival organisers discovered the fort he was forced to move his site of residence and he moved a bit further down onto the cliffs and for the last 7 years he has been slowly evolving his little camp.
It started off as a rumour and then as people began to discover it, join him for a few drinks and admire his little haven, contributions would be made which allowed him to expand a little more. Now it is a legend and a hidden gem that needs to be visited when you are there.
** Note: Help a hippie out and make a donation for using the handmade rope bride or using the slide into the water, buying some of the goods that are made like the bottled up essential oils or even by buying a drink and just stopping to have a chat.
It is one hell of a place and seriously left me reflecting on how I wish to live my life. Don’t leave Croatia without visiting.
Have you been to Outlook? How was your experience? Do you know why The Harbour is no longer the Main Stage or have any theories why?
What about the Secret Lighthouse, have you been there?
Let me know your thoughts below, I would love to hear from you.
Peace, Love and Outlook,