I don’t know how I formed the opinion that Outlook was solely a week-long Drum & Bass festival in Pula, Croatia, which wasn’t a big selling point for me; but I was ready to “go hard,” and try something new. My cousin decided that turning the big Three-O had to be celebrated in style, so as a party of 10, we were ready.
Outlook isn’t just about Drum and Bass, it’s a mixture of everything that has bass. You’ll find the DnB/Metalheadz, in between the Garage-heads, Grime-heads, Jungle-Heads, Bashment-Heads, Dubplate-Heads to the Soul-heads and Chill-out heads. So there is guaranteed to be enough variety to get you hyped a for a night, or two (or four)!
The festival kicked off with an incredible opening performance headlined by Ms. Lauryn Hill, at the Amphitheater in the town center of Pula, a 20 minute bus ride from the site. Superb performances from the talented Andrew Ashong and Fatima and Eglo Band did a great job at warming up the crowd. The sound and lighting were amazing, and emphasized the epic Roman setting for these acts (great for photos too)!
Already an impressive start, I was looking forward to the line-up of over 100 live performers and DJ’s, which included international names such as DJ Premier, Goldie, Jah Shaka, Wookie, Big Narstie, Hot Wuk, MJ Cole, Action Bronson, Solo Banton, Sticky, DJ Q and Bushkin, and these are just the names of the artists that I knew beforehand.
It was a surprisingly mixed crowd. I would definitely say the majority of the festival-goers were English, with noticeable crowds from Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia and France. The average age was about early to mid-twenties, younger than I was expecting. The general vibe was respectful, friendly and a bit nuts, but overall everyone was there to soak up the Outlook vibes.
Fancy the option of raving it up in a fort? How about an Amphitheater? Clearing in the forest? Begging the DJ to play one last tune on a boat anchored out over the Adriatic? All this in the same week? This is the variety Outlook brings to the table.
The Beach Stage is definitely one of my recommended hangouts. There was something about partying while watching the sun go down that was a bit magical. Mungo’s Hi-Fi, another prime location, was located at a high-walled castle ruin and the Harbour Stage featured a boat party towards the end of the night, where you could jump ship and continue the party right into a live show or DJ set.
The stage, spaces and lighting designs gave a different feel to the various areas throughout the venue. Getting from A to B was pretty straightforward and easy. We covered a lot of miles over the course of that week, but we didn’t mind since there were lots of space to just chill and take it all in.
The staff were a mix of Croatian and English, and the security was cool and pretty easy-going, but strict on bag searches and wristband checks gaining entry to the site.
Now that you have a feel for the place, here are a few tips on how to get through the festival:
Do: Lose your friends
Yes, it is okay to lose your friends during your Outlook experience. You are guaranteed to lose them at least once and it’s likely you will find them by the end of the night. If not, just make new friends! Hang out and enjoy the experience. If you are in a big group, break off. There is so much to see and the days go by extremely fast, make the most of it!
Do: Book at least one Boat Party
There were 50 boat parties this year and tickets with popular DJ’s seemed to have evaporated offline as soon as they were released, so you have to be quick. We ended up on back-to-back party boats (Livin’ Proof and SBTV), which was one of our best day out.
Do: Try the falafel
The food and drinks were your typical festivals foods. Most dishes were baked, grilled or fried then served. By day three, you might feel like you need something that’s actually healthy. Luckily there were also salad, vegan and juice bar stands, for all your healthy food needs.
I highly recommend getting a falafel from this guy, he was awesome, and for around 55 kuna’s ($9.00) it was very filling! Also for the British breakfast experience, check out the stall serving English Tea and Bacon Butties, perfect recovery breakfast to enjoy on the beach after a full-on night before.
Do: Think about apartments vs. camping
To be honest I’m not really into camping, in fact, I HATE camping. Therefore, I was happy to settle at a really nice, modern apartment 15-minutes away. Apartments are plentiful in the area if you book in advance. The prices based on 10 people in two apartments was roughly, £95 ($152) for one week. Keep in mind that prices will vary. Also keep in mind that a deposit may be required; one of the companies we found, Unline.hr, is an example, they required a 30% deposit upfront.
If you want to stay in the heart of things, the camping on-site looked pretty spacious. For the road trippers, parking facilities are also on-site and in nearby areas outside of the festival. I spotted purpose-built washing facilities, individual shower cubicles for men and women, fitted toilets and sinks.
Don’t: Forget to change Tokens
Your money is no good here.
Well, okay, it is but on-site you will need to exchange your Kunas to Outlook currency, which are plastic discs denominations of 5, 10, 25 or 50 Kunas. This will be your currency for everything on-site, including drinks, food and merchandise. None of the vendors accept cash so keep an eye out for exchange desks dotted around the main entrances. Importantly, tokens are not refunded back as cash at any time so only change what you need each day.
Don’t: Wear opened-toed shoes
Kicking large rocks with your bare toes will dramatically reduce your dancing experience!
Due to the location of the festival site, some of the areas can get very rocky and you will literally stumble across rocks of various heights, widths and aggressions. Hard-soled bottoms might actually save you on this occasion, there are even signs on-site in certain areas for safety. You could get away with flip flops by the Beach Stage, but if you are out for the night, exchange the flip-flops for sneakers after sunset. Ladies, if you are like me you really need to wear some sort of height, go for chunky platforms or jellies, anything with a thick rubber sole and a closed toe.
2014 Tickets including opening night at the Amphitheater, headlined by Ms. Lauryn Hill combined ticket (entry + opening night) were around £180 ($290), Super early bird and early bird tickets for 2015 are now on sale from the official site.
The Outlook organizers make this very easy, but if you’re like me and like a more D.I.Y approach to finding your way, international bus companies from just outside Venice are an option.
If you are heading directly to the festival, Pula or Trieste are the closest airports and direct flights can be expensive. Coach transfers from Venice/Trieste and Zagreb airports work out cheaper, and both Croatian bus direct companies and Outlook festival transfer coaches run from Venice, Trieste and Zagreb airports.
The Outlook coaches take you directly into the festival site for around £35 ($56) from the airports. If you are making your own way after getting to the Pula bus station like I did from Venice £27 ($43), dedicated local buses will drop you to the site which is in Stinjan (pronounced. Schtin-yan), single fare is around 11 Kunas (£.10/$.80) The stop is just around the corner from the bus station in Pula.
Overall I would have to give Outlook two big thumbs up. There was more than enough on the line up for an unforgettable few days. It is a fun festival in the sunshine with some good people and great music. It seems to grow each year and I can only imagine it will continue to get bigger and better.
Take some thick soles and enjoy.