TCN’s Dave Gasson gives us a closer look at the Dimensions Festival in Pula.
After the resounding success of this years SeaSplash festival in July, Pula’s Fort Punto Christo proved once again to be the perfect venue to house the 6th Dimensions Festival.
Pula amphitheatre hosted the opening concert and saw the spectacular Grace Jones deliver an outstanding show. Two home grown acts, the multi talented Moses Boyd and The Kamaal Williams Ensemble added to the line up with Berlin’s Moderat giving an exquisitely memorable show with their penultimate performance from their current tour.
This years’ Dimensions Festival excelled itself with over 150 performers including some of the top names in the industry to give festival goers 4 solid days of House, Techno, Soul, Dub, Disco and Jazz. Together with an impressive 11 stages, including Jacks corner, Paciono’s bar and beach stage the Knowledge Area returned for its 4th year after a hugely successful 2016. The unique space offered interactive workshops, panel discussions and keynote interviews with field experts and festival head-liners such as London Modular Alliance. The UK was well supported by some heavyweight talent with London-based producer and Ninja Tunes artist Romare playing an outstanding set during opening night on the Clearing Stage.
Accompanied by a percussionist and a multi skilled musician, the trio provided the huge crowd a sample of his latest releases alongside firm favourites including ‘’Who Loves You?’’ taken from the album Love Songs pt 2.
Manchester’s Sam Shepherd, musician and co-founder of Eglo Records performed with Floating Points playing a live set on the main stage to an enthusiastic crowd. DJ Joy Orbison, who’s music has been described by The Guardian as ‘’euphoric yet mournful and rhythmically straddling the previous uncharted terrain between dubstep, garage and house’’ played a three hour set at the Void whilst Demdike Stare shared their dark, ambient sound in The Stables followed by fellow Modern Love label artist Andy Stott performing a live set.
London based dbridge, one of the most experienced artists in Drum and bass played a good set at Mungo`s arena shortly before we saw the start of the weekends volatile weather conditions and although at times the lightening displays added natural drama to the atmosphere, the torrential downpours soon proved to be problematic causing DJ Gilla’s floor filling and eclectic set to come to an abrupt halt as crew battled to protect equipment whilst the gathered crowd ran for cover and sought shelter from the passing storm.
Festival guests were treated to several uplifting sets at The Beach Stage throughout the festival as the sun made fleeting guest appearances. The storms were soon forgotten and the party atmosphere returned to stay.
Croatia’s finest were represented at the Ballroom Stage throughout Saturday night with PDV Records presenting artists from Croatian Record Labels such as Out of Place, Burek, Barca, Polmalo and Vakum. Simultaneously, Mungos Arena Stage held the Metalheadz History Sessions showcasing some of the UK’s most renowned names on the Drum & Bass scene including Goldie, ANT TC1, Onemind, Kid Drama and Diverge together with MCs SP: MC & GQ. Doc Scott played a set that showed why he was considered a true veteran and gave justification to his title as a ‘’true hall of famer’’ in this genre of music.
DJ and producer Randall, an acid/house convert since 1987’s Notting Hill Carnival, played back to back with the globally respected, multi award winning Drum & Bass artist Bailey making this an exciting and rare opportunity to become part of this almost historic night. A packed crowd responded gratefully as the MC began his acknowledgements to the artists and collaborators involved.
The Clearing Stage hosted a show from Cymande, who, in their original style, fused together strands of Rastafarian rhythms with jazz, soul funk and R&B. With a back drop of a monumental lightening display, they played a set of exclusively self-penned songs and conveyed the true spirit of togetherness giving the audience a show full of meaning and emotion whilst remaining upbeat and irresistible to dance to.
Although the rain had been an intermittent but powerful presence throughout the weekend, the festival spirit refused to be dampened as the last night grew closer. The UK’s offerings begun with Mungo’s HIFI, a Glasgow-based sound system and production unit who gave a popular and original Reggae/Dancehall experience in the perfectly sized, 900 capacity, open air arena that is home to their epic Mungo’s HIFI SoundSystem.
BBC 6 Music’s Giles Peterson gave a hugely popular performance to a now soaked but delighted crowd mixing house and hip hop with soul and jazz showing exactly why the DJ, Broadcaster, producer and owner of Brownswood Recordings has a continued legion of followers and is globally sought after to provide his unique positive and ever expansive vibe to the occasion.
Playing long into the final night was the instantly recognisable and multi-talented Goldie. Described as a pioneering Drum & Bass icon, the DJ, producer and actor has recentlyre-recorded his album ”Timeless” with the National Youth Orchestra a choir and a dramatic ensemble, ready to take it on tour to festivals worldwide. His faithful following were given a two hour techno set which was the highlight of the weekend for many.
Despite the problems that the erratic weather could have caused this years’ Dimensions Festival was a slick performance. All scheduled events ran on perfect time and, of course, with the ultimate sound quality. Helpful and efficient security were on hand but in a discreet way, facilities were above the usual poor standard expected at festivals and an impressive selection of food and drink outlets were present working seamlessly with the debut of the ingenious Top Up wristband system enabling an entire cash-less site. The 6th Dimensions Festival ended on a real high proving that the power of music has the ability to make everyone smile, come rain or shine.
The festival mood continues this week with Dizzee Rascal opening the 10th Outlook Festival on the 6th of September. Still to look forward to in Zagreb later in the year are Bryan Adams on the 9th of November and Beth Hart on the 10th of November at the Boogaloo club.
All images by Dave Gasson, text by Hannah Smith