All the highs from the Croatian coast...

Having already become an attraction for middle-aged holiday home buyers looking for a cheap deal, Croatia is now attracting their kids.

The country’s corners are being descended on by Brits heading to some superb festivals. There’s Outlook in Pula (Clash review), pulling in the bassheads, and Unknown in Rovinj, which caters to a more thinking-man crowd. And sandwiched between them: Dimensions, also in Pula.

Now in its second year, Dimensions is an electronic affair looked after by the team behind Outlook. On the bill in 2013: Mount Kimbie, Move D, Theo Parrish, Pantha Du Prince, Moodymann… and what feels like every other electronic act in existence.

Like All Tomorrow’s Parties and Freerotation, Dimensions pleases its attendees and creators alike by limiting capacity to 5,000 punters and booking no real mainstream crowd-pullers – but revealing no weak points in its line-up, either. The result is that those who do come are a discerning bunch than those rolling into the more decadent atmosphere of Outlook.

Dimension’s first (Wednesday) night sees a fine array of acts – Mount Kimbie, Bonobo, Portico Quartet and Andrew Ashong – play the festival’s opening ceremony at Pula’s amazing 2,000-year-old amphitheatre. The starlit event is a taster of what’s to come: incredible sound quality, great locations, soulful music and a loved-up crowd.

Thursday finds Dimensions spreading itself out to take over the impressive Fort Punta Christo. Prosumer and Mosca are amongst the DJ line-up for the stage – and the festival’s night events unfold at the fort and its moat, as well as down by the beach, where daily boat parties can be attended.

Deviation’s boat party proves to be one of the more rambunctious on offer. Benji B, Andres and Moxie deliver a mix of hip-hop, garage, house and techno as the sun sets over the Adriatic. But what gets the crowd most excited is a set by Peckham’s Wbeeza. Back on dry land, Move D’s warm, funk-filled set dispels any feelings of hitting the hay Clash might’ve been having.

Friday’s Eglo boat party is declined in favour of cramming onto the nearby rocky beach – and it’s a popular choice, Clash finding safety in numbers as the revelry of the previous night is left to gently subside. Later in the day, Boiler Room hold a private event with Space Dimension Controller and Anthony Naples, up at the fort’s lookout point – but as it’s still the afternoon, the sounds in question are perhaps a little early in the day’s schedule.

There’s no filler, so to speak, at Dimensions – but certain acts perhaps don’t receive the audience they should, Hype Williams amongst them. On the positive side, the line-up’s strength means that wandering aimlessly from venue to venue is never a disappointing experience. And half-an-hour of relentless techno at the moat is more than enough to perk up lagging souls.

Come the third day and Dimensions is transcending escapism – this is a commitment, a commitment to dance. Clash heads to the Deviation stage to catch the anticipated set from Omar S. Hard techno is one thing, but here the DJ steers rather too closely to hard house – one half expects to see a yeti boot crew parachute in. The crowd seems to enjoy it, though.

Sunday’s the final day of the big DJs. NTS’s boat party is almost as lively as Deviation’s, albeit set under rather drearier skies and atop a more precarious sea. The boat is flimsy, dancing confined to the knees and arms, feet staying firmly where they are. Shamos and Dark Sky warm things up before Detroit’s Jay Daniel takes over. Barely out of his teens, Jay is a talent on the rise – initially a few clangers slip into proceedings, but the latter half of his set is pretty faultless.

FunkinEven DJs on the boat, too – he played to a packed crowd at the clearing the night before, and is a standout DJ of the festival, no doubt. Also in action at the clearing, Pantha Du Prince brought the pace down somewhat, turning ravers into rather more zombie-like beings, some sporting the festival-generic bindis and henna tattoos.

Sunday’s highlight is 3 Chairs. Theo Parrish, Moodymann, Marcellus Pittmann and Rick Wilhite take over the fort, arguably the best stage here, to close Dimensions with a defiant mix of techno, house, hip-hop, funk and soul. Like the rest of the festival, the exact genres don’t matter, so long as what’s being played is good. As they play, it rains for the first time. But the poignancy of the situation is a special one – Clash stays put.

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Words: Amelia Phillips

Photos: Nina Manandhar

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