James Went To Croatia – Last Year

All this extra time I have thanks to my new job and getting home at the more human hour of around 6pm (or so) has led me to think that maybe I should try to catch up with things on my to-do list.
Some things have been on there for nearly a year, such as writing a blog post about my holiday to Croatia last year.

I’m not sure that I would have been able to remember much in the way of details had I written the blog when I got back home, let alone nearly a year later.  It was one of those kind of trips – and as a stag do, very much a what goes on tour, stays on tour kind of thing.

Yeah, I went on a stag do.  I was pretty apprehensive before as stag groups of 30+ guys are not exactly my kind of thing, but I was expecting (correctly) everyone to be sound, and that as we were going to Dekmantel Selectors – a festival in the little resort of Tisno in Croatia, that we’d have a pretty cool larger audience too.
Believe it or not, in large groups of drunk people that I don’t really know, I can be a bit overwhelmed.  This was the case at times.  Whereas you might know me as someone who is quite large of life, quite vocal in conversation and often willing to cause some eye-bulging when in small groups…in large groups I often just let others take over and do the entertaining.  And boy, was the holiday entertaining.

The festival is held on the same site as many other small “boutique” festivals in Croatia, in what looks like an old communist Butlins, replete with faded mini-golf course and of course, chalets.  We were staying off-site, a short taxi journey away in the only place that would allow such a large stag group.  Basic, but good enough apartments.

Part of the reason that I am choosing to write the post is because I have spent some time recently listening to the DJ sets that have been posted on line (I recommend trying I-F, Raphaël Top-Secret and A Good Christian if you want to get a feel), and they have brought back such good feelings.  I don’t think everyone appreciated the music as much as I did – and I also struggled at times, I have memories of some particularly nasty EBM played at red-lining levels on the first night that just utterly frayed me mentally.

The festival site was split into different stages, with the main area next to the beach being the main attraction for me, playing mostly disco and 80’s, some house and then a wide range of other rhythmic music, be it samba, latin or well, anything else vaguely danceable.  This is where I most felt at home, at least once I settled into the festival.

Some other person’s video

Then there was a techno stage hidden away – but not normal techno, a mix of broken beats, offbeat techno and EBM – basically anything other than your straight-up, boring plodding 4/4 techno.  But styled as techno.  On the last night it held a closing party with…oooh…erm…was it Object?  Or Call Super?  Or both?  Or neither?  Yeah, it was a long time ago, but was probably the most interesting DJ set.
Also there was a little hideaway dancefloor up the hill, which wasn’t that interesting, then a little shack on stilts on the sea, which was open until around 4pm…I never made use of it.  Nor could I be bothered with the boat parties which were apparently lots of fun (they sold out within 10 minutes of tickets being released), or trips to the nearby open-air nightclub, Barbarellas…way too old…I need my sleep, or my attempted sleep anyway, at my age.

As a festival, it was a cool concept, mostly pulled off very well.

I didn’t see a lot of Croatia, but I did rather like the place.  The people were friendly – they seem to actively want tourists which is refreshing when compared to places like Ibiza that seem tired of us.  Taxi drivers were always willing to engage in conversation (though this meant the most sober had to sit in the front on the way back from the festival site…yikes).

On the last day, I had a few hours to spare between arriving at Split airport and getting the flight back, so had a little wander around Split old town and a few beers.  Alas, I couldn’t get a bus back to the airport as they were fully-booked so had to tap up the services of Uber and a bloody expensive trip to the airport, along with my driver’s Trump-ish thoughts on Asian people, and on his passion for Hajduk Split (football team) – I just nodded in agreement as that wasn’t a time to go all liberal.

I’m currently missing that festival site.  Dancing, or chilling to music that I wouldn’t normally encounter, on the edge of the bay, watching the sea and just enjoying the good vibes of the place.  Maybe I wouldn’t go back to that festival, but I’m definitely open to going to that site again, if I don’t totally retire from partying before the next opportunity.

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