Upon touching down at Croatia’s Split Airport for 2017’s, seventh edition of, Hideout Festival, I truly didn’t know what to expect from it, the location or the crowd.

I can admit here that, contrary to (I’m sure) many out there, I’m not necessarily a person drawn to the tropics, an over amount of sunshine, or beach culture in general. In fact, my previous week’s Iceland excursion was, at first, much more up my alley with its constant overcast, rain, and sub 10 degree temperatures. So, going from cold Reykjavik pretty much immediately to the sunny shores of the Adriatic seemed a bit too drastic a weather change for me, and one I wasn’t sure how I’d react to.

Well, to my pleasant surprise, the massive happening that is Hideout Festival turned into one of the most pleasant and comfortable festival experiences I have recently experienced, with some 20,000 fans flying in from around the world for a week’s worth of proper dance music hedonism. Aside, there were also some 150 artists on hand to man the festivities. These artists spanned the musical spectrum from Grime (Stormzy, AJ Tracey, Wiley, Kurupt FM) to Drum n Bass (DJ Hype, Shy FX, My Nu Leng) to House (Heidi, Jamie Jones, Steve Lawler) to Techno (Marco Carola, Paco Osuna, Alan Fitzpatrick), and everything in between.

To go in depth into everything that went down at Hideout would simply be an impossible feat. The event, which spanned seven proper days, included its primary hub of world renowned festival locations scattered across Zrce Beach (Papaya, Aquarius, Kalypso, Euphoria, Noa), each pseudo open air venues, featuring state of the art production elements, as well as all the frills that come with tropical clubbing (pools, bikinis, cabanas, bottles, etc). These venues programmes included all day soirees, while also occurring around the area were a host of boat parties, secret events, and scattered does for the curious and the (more importantly) awake. For example, the seminal house act Basement Jaxx were on hand for a hidden beach party, while BBC Radio 1 broadcasted live from the event on its Friday, bringing sets from the likes Danny Howard, Dusky, Skream, B.Traits and Eats Everything to their devoted fanbase. As for the boat party’s, well, barring the unfortunate rain out of Wednesday’s events, other boats featuring the likes of Solardo and Denis Sulta were a natural jump off (not overboard, thank god…but as a kick start to the rest of the night). Of course, however, it was our own collaboration with Detroit’s MK and his Area10 brand, which featured Doorlyand the man himself, setting sale on the SS Champagne (I made up the SS part…not sure if they use that nautical term in Europe, t be honest), which was a high point event for us, and for the festival. 3 hours of sold out funk, house, and soul from MK and Doorly really set the vibes right from the sea to the shore…and the crystal clear waters and picturesque sunset weren’t too shabby either!

Musically, and again it is difficult to be everywhere, highlights came from a variety of locations and artists. Aside from the funk of our aforementioned boat party, several appearances and sets stood out to me…some that I knew who and what was going on and some that I didn’t. I can tell you for sure that the sunrise sets at each of these venues will always be a site to behold…I attended two…Alan Fitpatrick (Noa) and Heidi (Papaya). Heidi is something of a Hideout favorite, who also hosted her Jackathon Pool Party that same day, while Alan Fitzpatrick is simply a crowd favorite. Each of these artists, though different in sound, possesses a similarly dynamic stage presence, which exudes fun and energy…clearly on display for the faithful who made it to the end of each respective night’s musical programs.

Additional musical highlights came from the always reliable The Martinez Brothers, who took to Noa on the event’s Thursday alongside a heavyweight crew of Marco Carola and Amsterdam’s own Joey Daniel. My travel mates to the event, The Martinez Brothers once again showed their chops for selection and party starting (not to mention, maintenance), before Music On‘s main man closed things down in typical dramatic fashion. Finally, I will also give a shout out to a great b2b set, which also came on Thursday, in the form of Steve Lawler b2b Darius Syrossian (Aquarius). Always having been a personal favorite, going way back to his Dark Drums days, Lawler must have surely been itching to get down given the cancelattion of his Wednesday ViVA pool party. With Do Not Sleep’s Darius Syrossian, a game partner in musical crime, the two went strong into the wee hours, solo and b2b…oh, that night also featured some guys named Hot Since 82 and Skream(who seemed to be everywhere during the week) as well.

As you can see, the scope of this event is huge. I haven’t even gotten to speaking about the ridiculously colorful elrow takeover of Kalypso, by way of their famed Rowlympics concept, which went down each day & night and in typical jovial fashion. That event featured everyone from Andres Campo, Lord Leopard, Patrick Topping, Jasper James, Waze & Odyssey, and many of the artists already mentioned here.

All in all, Hideout was an extremely pleasant surprise to me. Thought the crowd veered towards the younger side of the spectrum, the alcohol was flowing like water, and inhibitions were DEFINITELY minimized, their still was a certain chaotic order to the whole thing. For one, its hedonism felt in place…almost necessary, to be honest, with nothing standing out as too “out of control” (all things considered, of course). Also, for an alcohol heavy, spring break type event, I was not witness to a single fight, conflict or sexual assault situation, which is a testament to the crowd, especially on the event’s latter hours. Though other festival locations that dot Croatia’s extensive coastline may feature more historical landmarks, Pag Island and Zrce Beach (as well as its surrounding township) does hold all the quirks one would come to expect from holiday, seaside locations, from pristine weather (the occasional torrential rainstorm aside) to some of the freshest seafood around, and an overall affordability that always comes welcome when traveling to Eastern Europe. It was a well organized, well run, and personable event, with many of its top brass cavorting around with fans, press, artists, and locals, all of which seemed up for it at all moments.

So, thank you to Hideout Festival and its crew for providing an event that was simply FUN. No pretention; no frowns; no fights…just an all around good time!.

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Photo Credits: Hideout