Running events has never been an occupation for the faint of heart, even before the pandemic started wrecking havoc across our beloved scene. One man who knows all this too well is Vukelić Drago, the mastermind behind Croatia’s BSH parties. Originally a DJ, Drago has since become a promoter of some repute, often throwing some of the most raucous parties across his country of Croatia. The latest offering we’re really excited about is BSH Island. Located in Noa Beach Club from 1st-5th July, the parties boast a world class line-up of talent, featuring the likes of ARTBAT, Mathame, Paco Osuna, Sidney Charles and more. What’s more, BSH has also combined with none other than Ibiza club Amnesia for a very special show at a nearby fortress on 2nd July. After a year of upheaval, if that isn’t enough to get you excited then I don’t know what is. Anyway, we caught up with Drago recently to chat about running parties in 2021, the history of BSH and much more besides….
How has the last year been for you? What’s been good and bad?
It has been a challenging year I must say, like for everyone in the industry. The good thing has been that life has slowed down in the last year, and we had time to focus on other things and also take better care of ourselves. The bad thing, of course, has been all the uncertainty that covid-19 caused.
When will the events start happening again, will they even start at all and should I change my field of work, they were all everyday questions.
Announce the event, then cancel it a few days before because the situation with covid has changed.
Through all that mess it was important to stay focused and keep believing that getting back to normal is around the corner. Thankfully I managed to focus on training, and that kept me sane through all this mess.
How has it been putting this party together in so much uncertainty?
It’s stressful, especially in 2020 when we first had a short lockdown. When 2021 started I was happy to be organising anything even though I knew it might not happen. After the winter lockdown, only planning the events made me happy.
Can you tell us a bit about your history in events and how you got started?
I started organising events 7 years ago in our hometown Zagreb, Croatia.
Since I’m a DJ, the idea came from a wish to be able to play different music that wasn’t so common those days in Zagreb. From this event the idea was to throw events at “unusual” and extraordinary venues like museums, fortresses, castles, spectacular venues in nature with breathtaking views.
Soon after I had an idea of introducing sunset events and we started a programme named Zagreb Sunset Sessions by BSH events. The special thing we did is that we limited hours of being able to enter the show, and by that way we ensured being full at 6 pm and being able to provide our guests with the idea of sunset sessions. From there it all started and since then we took over some amazing and unique venues around Croatia which is known for its natural beauty, uniqueness and historical importance.
What measures are in place to make it secure for attendees?
The event is currently working with limited capacity which we set at the beginning to be sure the event will go ahead. Now it seems we won’t need to limit the capacity but people will have to show a negative test, proof that you overcame the virus, or proof of vaccination, but it’s not confirmed yet.
At the moment none of it is needed for entering the event, but capacity is limited depending on the square meters, so for now it’s definitely good that we limited it in the first place.
Why did you extend the event for the first time this year?
The idea was to have Fortress the 1st year also, but since last year we organised it in literally one month from announcement to the 1st day, we came to a conclusion that we will leave it for next year.
How helpful have the government and tourist board been in making this festival possible? have they been understanding and supportive?
Tourist board has really been helpful and they provided us with the same extra amenities covered by their side to show their support for the event.
How did you come to have the special party with amnesia? Was it hard to pull off?
Well actually it all somehow came naturally. I was 1st considering doing only the Do Not Sleep Ibiza showcase, at the moment I wouldn’t dare to think that we might have collaboration with one of the biggest electronic music brands, but we started talking, came to some propositions, welcomed them in Croatia, found the same language and I am thankful that we are here in this moment and looking forward for the future.
Tell us about the location – was it hard to get permission to party in the fortress? And what do you think makes it such a special location for a party?
It wasn’t so hard to get the location because the Tourist board recognised us from the 1st moment we presented the idea. We already had quite a few events at similar unique locations around Croatia such as Zagreb’s 13th century Fortress Medvedgrad, Zagreb Airport, Pula Castle….
I believe that by combining unique venues and great artists we are able to provide our guests a different and unique experience they will remember for a long time and talk about.
Warehouses and clubs are where the scene has started, and they will always be our shelter and home, but I think house music should be everywhere and I think we by bringing house to unique venues, it’s just another dimension and those shows are monumental.
What else is new and different this year?
Besides a special off-location showcase with Amnesia, we will host Yacht parties that are yet to be announced, secret pop up parties and villa events also.
Tell us about the after hours parties this year – where are they and what can people expect?
Well, we have 2 official afterhours at Kalypso, but we will also have both Yacht and Villa afterparties.
Expect the essence of the Ibiza lifestyle, expect unannounced guest DJs, special b2b, secret parties…
Are there any artists you are looking forward to seeing above all others? And what are you most looking forward to about the event this year?
I couldn’t pick one artist from all of them, they were all picked by the love for their music.
Maybe I could say that I’m looking forward to seeing some yet unannounced artists that will play.
BSH Island 2021 runs from 1st – 5th July 2021. For further information and tickets, check here: https://www.festicket.com/festivals/bsh-island-festival/