Outlook Festival 2015 Review
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Outlook is a celebration of bass, and by bass I mean kidney shifting, head thumping, subwoofing BASS. The deepest of deep vibrations follow and beckon you all over the picturesque festival site, from the beach by crystal clear sea to a crumbling moat from the remains of the 19th Century Austrian Fort, which was used to guard this land from foreign invaders (presumably with multi-metre high speaker systems shooting out waves of fear inducing, deep subsonic soundscapes).
Outlook’s Opening Party kicks off the festival in the impressive surroundings of a Roman Amphitheatre, out of the main festival site in nearby Pula city. This fabulously well organised event houses a very drunken mix of English ravers, who’ve just arrived in Croatia. Needless to say, the crowd is rather loose, but the acts don’t disappoint. Jurassic 5, complete with DJ Numark and Cut Chemist put on a whale of a show, blasting through their Hip-Hop set and drawing the crowd to the stage. Subtrkt follows with an eclectic mix of electronica that merges into a rather magical psychedelic end. Gentleman’s Dub Club are on super form tonight starting coolly and slowly and building into something completely rebel raising, ploughing through High Grade and Gentlemen’s Sleng before working the crowd into such a frenzy that for a time a self-organised mosh pit emerges (surely the most Heavy Metal moment of the normally super relaxed bass festival!). Roni Size Reprazent finishes off the night with an extended set of Drum and Bass, setting up the ravers for a boat ride back to the festival grounds for a night dancing amongst their newly erected tents by a moonlit beach.
Outlook Festival proper starts Thursday and lasts until Sunday, a full four days of music. Music starts from noon on one stage, The Beach and last until 8pm. Every other stage opens at 8pm and lasts until at least 6am, or later. Boat Parties take place pretty much constantly from lunchtime to late evening from Thursday to Sunday (with a couple still going on Monday too) and are well recommend. Hot Wok and The Heatwave lead the ravers on our own sailing experience into a wonderful afternoon of sun, drinking and dancing, even if at times the boat seemed to be tilting very precariously depending on what side of the deck the crowd were dancing on! Amongst many others Norman Jay, Congo Natty and Artful Dodger were, we heard, all very awesome.
The Harbour Arena is the ‘main stage’ of Outlook and despite being a little bit dusty (sadly the lack of rain in Croatia leads to this, what a disappointment!) plays host to some of our favourite acts of the festival. On Friday Beanie Man smashes out tunes starting with Who Am I which set a high energy precedent to this Dancehall heavy set. On Saturday Kate Tempest doesn’t disappoint with her fresh and inspiring lyrics followed by The Bug, Flowdan, Manga and Miss Red who change the tempo of the evening with a darker, electronic, mysterious and quite hypnotic mix of music.
At The Clearing, a stage that marks the daytime area of the festival with the stages area that opens at 8pm, there seems to be a lot of electronic, mosquito sounds. On Friday, Kode 9 seem to literally rip apart the material that connects space and time to deliver a mix of super short snippets of intense computer music. Wow!
Of all the stages at Outlook (and there are a fair few for this fairly small sized festival) our favourite were The Moat, a 100 metre long strip with 7 metre high walls that used to be a moat, Noah’s Ballroom, a circular pit with a Soundsystem in it, and Mungo’s Arena, an enclosed stage with a bar overlooking the stage, the crowd and the deep vibrations!
Overall Outlook doesn’t disappoint. It sells itself as a festival organised by festival-goers and that’s true, it’s fun, it doesn’t suffer from loveless sponsorship and the acts, the Soundsystems and the stages are brilliant. This 8th year of the festival was a wild success and as we leave we meet many revellers who are already planning to return next year, having already been to Outlook once, twice or many times before.