Did Brexit Play Role in Pula’s Final Outlook and Dimensions Festivals?

Daniela Rogulj

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In the summer of 2020, the city of Pula will be left without more than 30,000 foreign guests who spend hundreds of euros a day. Namely, Pula will feel the loss of mostly British tourists, performers, organizers and visitors to the two world-renowned music festivals Outlook and Dimensions, which will have their final release this year, according to the announcement by British organizer NVS Music Group on Tuesday.

Although other music events are still being held in Pula and at other locations by Pozitivan ritam, the local partner of the British organizer, the city of Pula is not happy because the festivals played an important role in promoting Pula and developing the local economy.

That is why they stated in the press release that they would do everything in their power to make sure the decision for Outlook and Dimension to leave Pula is not final. But, as we informally know, the ultimate outcome depends on many factors, from Brexit and British market behavior to state-level support, reports Poslovni.hr on January 24, 2019. 

The festival organizers did not publicly comment on what they are planning to do with Outlook, which will celebrate its 11th edition in Pula this year, and Dimensions, which will welcome its ninth. The organizers have published the final dates of both festivals, with the artists to be announced in the coming days, and have noted that “it will certainly be worth visiting and remembering, as it’s the final edition of the festivals at that location.”

We’re still unsure if the British organizer will continue at another location in Croatia or any other destination, and why exactly they gave up on Pula.

Pozitivan ritam has also been unable to answer these questions as they are just local partners in charge of the logistics and the implementation of the festivals. They have said, however, that these announcements have nothing to do with the special edition of their Seasplash festival, which has moved from Pula to Šibenik this year, and emphasizes that Pula remains their center, along with the Seasplash Summer Club, the Slurp Festival, the Kotač Club and other programs.

As far as Outlook and Dimensions are concerned, it is unofficially known that this year saw lower ticket sales mostly due to uncertainty surrounding Brexit, pushing the organizer to announce the final release of the festivals to boost ticket sales and secure financial sustainability. The organization of such events is otherwise expensive, and at Fort Punta Christo, even though the minimum concession is paid to Pula, the additional challenge is that there is no electricity or water, or fences which are replaced by security guards.

The task of the organizer is to reduce high costs and increase revenues which have fallen due to bad weather in the last two years, resulting in less spending on the site. Therefore, negotiations on all levels are expected in the coming months, including with the Croatian Tourist Board, which last year supported the festivals with 50,000 kuna, far less than the year before and seven times less than in 2015 when the Pula festivals were ranked top events.

Pula, however, really hopes this will not be the final decision.

“In addition to the excellent international promotion of Pula, the great financial benefits generated by the festivals have attracted many hospitality and trade activities, which have greatly enriched Pula’s tourist offer. The festivals contributed to an increase in the number of arrivals and overnights, as well as income in many activities in the post-season and many were an opportunity for employment and additional earnings,” said the press spokeswoman of the Pula Department of Culture, Jasmina Nina Kamber.

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