“You’re finally awake!.”
“2020? A global pandemic? No music events?.”
“I don’t know what you are talking about. You slipped over on your way down to The Moat, must have hit your head pretty hard...”
I’ve chosen to focus my edition of Rave Memories around my time at Dimensions Festival in 2016 for a multitude of personal and external reasons. If you’ve attended either Outlook or Dimensions, I’m sure you can profess to the level of love and attention that goes into curating these events and will understand why I chose this particular festival.
Dimensions has great production value, unique stage design, world class sound installations, meticulously planned artist lineups and incredible location choices. The level of detail and planning all work together to create lasting memories.
I applied to volunteer at Dimensions which was a relatively last minute decision, I hadn’t planned to go to any festivals that summer but had felt that sudden need to push myself into doing something new.
I was assigned to the site setup team, which couldn’t have worked out better as we got to go out 10 days before the festival to help the creative and production teams build the festival from the ground up. This not only meant we got the time during the festival free to enjoy, but it also provided an experience that in some senses outweighs the festival itself.
This wasn’t the first time I managed to make it out to Pula for one of these festivals. When I first found out about Outlook at the tender age of 16, in the midst of a Dubstep craze and fresh out of secondary school, I managed to convince my parents into doing a road trip around Europe, ultimately ending up in Croatia for Outlook 2011.
Myself, a couple of friends, 3 dogs, my Mum and her partner. All crammed into a 1980s Winnebago- esque camper van, looking like something straight out of a Vince Gilligan TV series as we made our way around central Europe.
It’s safe to say we made quite a stir at the festival. From the countless number of young women walking over to our camp in a combination of ecstasy fuelled marvel and understandable bafflement at the fact that there were some cute dogs on site that they could cuddle. To my parents having a cult following for being the oldest couple in attendance, with people wanting to reverse adopt them (unsurprisingly, they’re fucking awesome people!)
The location is massively what makes these events so special, offering some of the most incredible and unique spaces. Unfortunately the original site used by these festivals has now changed.
Fort Punta Cristo and the Pula amphitheatre were some of the most breathtaking palaces I have ever had the privilege of seeing, let alone partying in! So although I greatly look forward to when festivals can safely return, these years will be forever cemented in mind through the great memories they have left, as this is sadly something that will not be happening again.
Coming up to 5 years on, the memories from this festival feel like a lifetime ago. 2016 was a year that seemed like a massive turning point in many peoples lives, and without trying to make this feature too political, I feel it saw a huge rise in segregation and division between cultures and communities.
Through mediums such as Brexit, Trump, normalisation of far-right movements and rampant social media post-truth campaigns, it was starting to become apparent that big changes were beginning to take place around us.
These difficult times enforce the ever-growing need and necessity for Art in all it’s forms. Music, dance and rave culture have always worked to create spaces and communities in which people are able to connect, express themselves and feel accepted without prejudice. And ultimately, it well be these moments that make us stronger and closer as people.