Outlook 2012 – Sunday

Deserted festival stages have something melancholic, yet promising about them. At daytime, without people, they look like resting giants, awaiting the night and the lights and the audience. All silent, about to be filled with life. I like that view. Here are most of the Outlook stages at daytime.

This is the main one (quite a standard festival stage).

The following are all the stages in and between the old fort. Fort1 and Mungo’s are the biggest and connected by a path on top of them. Inside the fort, there is the Courtyard, the Dungeon (inside, very small) and my favorite: Noah’s ballroom. Only a small circle, surrounded by big walls.

I did not get a good picture of the ballroom by day, so here’s one by night.

The most impressive is certainly the Moat. Situated in the old water moat around the heavy walls of the fort it is almost 100 meters long and forms an infamous tunnel of bass.

Back to the beach to enjoy the last sun beams.

All I needed now, was to get on a boat. I walked down to the harbor to try my luck. Only to see the last of four ships float away in front of me.

But no worries, I managed to convince the boat organizers that it would be extremely necessary to also report from a boat to make the festival experience complete.

I was superthankful for the courtesy to put me on a boat in the last minute, because it is actually very difficult to get on these. Apparently the official tickets sold out within 10 minutes. And many people would have loved to get on the boat I finally came on.

Take a look at the Reggae boat. It’s not the one I was on, but it’s a good impression of the steamy atmosphere there.

Boat parties in general are great. Not only because floating is nice and sun and nature and all that but from the view of the social dynamics also. You really have the chance to get to know people. Obviously, nobody can leave for several hours and the music also builds up a very intimate atmosphere.

Talking about the music: As said, I was lucky to get on the DMZ boat with Mala. Very deep and crystal sound, relaxed and intense, like made for this kind of cruise. A perfect start into a night where I should get much more of my desired style of music. On display was also Skream’s “booze cruise” but that would have been too much for me for sure.

So I danced smoothly and talked to some Swiss people, a bunch from the Netherlands, an engineering woman who designs oil platforms and last but not least the Croatian sailor who gave me his flirting advice: “You have to let the girl know that you want her!” Ok, thanks!

My next stop was the Dockside stage with the Chestplate vs Osiris night. I stayed for almost three hours and watched Kryptic Minds, Distance and Youngsta together with thousands of people and with such a clear and powerful sound that made the music literally appear in the air. Impressive. Also the amount and the excitement of the audience for musicians who probably would gather no more than 300 people or so in Berlin!

The rest of the night went on like most festival nights, strolling around, bumping into people, like the owner of the hostel I stayed in and also other people I had met the day before. It is this kind of familial feeling that makes you sad when the event is over. And despite the size of the area and about 20 000 people being there, Outlook is small enough to allow for this encounters.

I wish the organizers all the best for keeping that spirit. But I am quite confident that they will. These people know what they do and they did a really good job. The sound is superb, the light was good, although there is certainly more room for unusual ideas like this projection surface out of styrofoam which makes the stage look like a socialist building.

The securities were professional and friendly and certainly did a good job in managing the crowd in the very little floors. The only security issue were some dodgy black taxi drivers who tried to get people in their cars and apparently also attacked someone directly outside the area. So be careful there!

I also liked the food, especially the fruit salad revived my spirits friday at night! And suprisingly there was no big brand sponsoring to see, only the usual drink branding. And that’s quite cool because it makes the festival more unique and less standardized.

To put in a nutshell: Even if I missed my flight home because the boat came in too late to Venice and I am on a train to Milan to catch the last Easyjet flight to Berlin which makes about 160 EUR extra including the train ticket and even if it was an Odyssee to get there, I had a great time. I had inspiring musical moments, many conversations with new people, some sun, some rain, some meditarrenean water around my feet and the perfect little getaway I needed from Berlin.

Thank you Outlook, hvala Pula and Croatia for this weekend!

Outlook 2012 – Saturday

Wow. This place is amazing. And worth every minute of the odyssey it took me to get here. Remember: I wanted to visit Outlook Festival 2012 and figured out a cool way to travel from Berlin: To Venice by plane and to Pula, Croatia, by boat. Here’s what happened.

The boat ride was not at all as glamorous as I had imagined it. Instead of elegantly floating in at the harbor with a glass of Martini at hand, the boat jumped over 5 meter tall waves for three hours constantly. Almost everybody got sick on the boat including the dog. Finally in Pula, the storm and rain was immense, streets drowning in water, flashes and thunder all around. Yay, welcome to the summer festival experience!

So no more festival for me on Friday. I had checked in at a nice hostel, the Riva hostel which is directly down at the harbor and very friendly and cosy, went out to eat and fell asleep almost instantly. Saturday consisted of looking at some sites in Pula like an old Franciscan monastery, skillfully explained by a girl I had met on the boat and who happened to be a archaeologist. Great! That is the thing about travelling alone: You get to know so many people and interesting stories because you’re so open and flexible.

The hostel hosted mainly “Outlookers”. With very very dirty shoes. So I decided to get some new ones to avoid ruining mine. I chose cheap white trainers to get the most out of the upcoming dirt experience.

With a bunch of English girls, a Canadian and a Finnish guy from the hostel we took a bus and after a long walk ended up at the beach with a bar, a little reggae stage and people playing around in the water.

Wow. And here it was, the magical festival moment. I had lost my faith almost with all the rain and the hassle, but wow. I could feel the good vibes and sense a bass from far away.

To explore the site, I had some experts on my side again. Kleinski and Sesner from the Riddim Box took me under their wings and showed me around. And there was much to see. The area is huge and the festival has more than 10 stages.

During the day, there’s music by the beach and boats float around in the Mediterranean with soundsystems organized by different labels. At night there are two big stages down by the harbor, one middle sized stage in between the beach, the harbor and the fort. The fort is from the 19th century and in and around are 6 more stages. Some of them only with a capacity of 120 people which brings in a true club atmosphere. In total I would assume Outlook festival has about 20 000 visitors.

So, totally overwhelming. Great sound, great lights and crowd consisting mainly of young British bass music lovers mixed with enthusiasts from Croatia and the rest of Europe. It took a while until I started to figure out what each stage was like. I basically ran around in between floors bumping into people I had met before and just enjoyed the music. With no particular highlights I have to say. I must have seen Ben UFO, Mensah, Hyetal, Fantastic Mr Fox and Kode9 and everything was good but maybe a bit too much to digest at once. And also the constant rain got on the nerves after some hours outside. Still, I was so happy to finally being there and having made the decision for this little trip.

Getting home was another lucky encounter. I met a girl who works at the hostel I stay in and two of her friends and we were going share a taxi. But the drivers wanted to charge five times the usual price. “Bastards, that’s too expensive, I call my dad!” said one of the girls. Dad came, drove us home and I had a funny conversation about football on top. Great day, great finish. With the bass still in my head, I fell asleep.

On my way to Outlook festival

Before I boarded the plane this morning, I took a look at the weather forecast for Pula, Croatia: rain until monday. Well, quite disappointing. But maybe the right thing to lower my expectations a bit. Which are dangerously high since I have seen and heard such great things about the “worlds best bass music festival” on a beautiful peninsula in Croatia next to the old coast town of Pula.

Now I am sitting in Venice, looking over the adriatic coast, in the sun with an espresso and it is hard to imagine that on the other side the weather could be any less good. But wait, Venice, why Venice? Well, the roads to Outlook are not really straightforward.

All flights there cost a fortune. And they already did 4 weeks ago. Some of them take longer than a day. I tried for hours to find a good combination, also to fly to Ljubiljana, Zagreb or Triest. But no. Until I took a look at the actual map and saw an intersting dotted line from the harbour of Pula: A ferry to Venice!

And that´s why I am here now, I am waiting for a ship which will take me to the other side, almost directly to the festival site. Finally, this idea of flying to Venice with Easyjet and then smoothly getting in on a boat like a sailor was tempting and also affordable enough for me to spontaneously make this decision to go and cover the Outlook festival.

So stay tuned and read more about my trip during the upcoming days.