Joe Bašić Talks New Ultra Europe Site, Festival Layout, and Plan for Residents

Daniela Rogulj

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Ultra Europe Press

June 29, 2019 – Ultra Europe, as you already know, will leave Poljud and move to the Park Mladeži stadium this year. Since it’s been the talk of Split this week, Ultra Europe’s main man Joe Bašić, the owner of MPG Live, has finally sat down for an interview to discuss the new chapter for the massive electronic music festival in Split. 

Namely, Bašić sat down with Slobodna Dalmacija to run through the stadium and auxiliary grounds, answer the concerns of Split citizens, discuss security, and address how adequate the new space is for such a manifestation. 

So, why is the public concerned that the new location isn’t suitable for this event?

“Because people have not experienced it yet. I brought the best foreign and local experts who worked with the world’s greatest spectacles and they said that this space was ideal. And when we say space, we are talking about the main stadium, a few terrains around the stadium and a large lawn, as well as part of the Turkish Tower. This is a huge area in the city center that is not well utilized. We’ve been reviewing and analyzing all of this for weeks, and professionals who work on the biggest projects said that the space, with some modifications, is great for Ultra. That’s when we officially went out to the public with the news.” 

And what do the US owners of Ultra have to say?

“Everything was approved by the management from Ultra in Miami before we signed the contract. We had to document everything, explain it all to them, and then they checked everything. Do you think Americans would bless an inadequate ground? This is no joke to them, and if something weren’t right, they would tell us to look for another location. Believe me, this is an unused ground that we will, in a few days, with a little bit more effort, turn into a compact whole. You will all be surprised at how good it will look.”

How many people can fit in the stadium and the surrounding area?

“According to the estimates, about 55,000 people. All this together has about 60,000 square meters. The main stage is the same as Poljud, and this year it is even bigger, then we have the Ultra radio stage at the parking lot of the Turkish Tower, which will be open to the public, and then the Resistance stage in the meadow to the left and the UMF stage on the right, opposite the Joker Mall. We have about 25,000 square meters of pure green space, meadows that we did not have at Poljud. So people can sit and drink beer with each other and enjoy one of the three major stages in these three spaces, which are close to each other, and it does not take much time to travel between the Resistance stage to the Main Stage, for example, which was an issue when the festival was organized at Poljud.”

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What’s the price tag on renting the new location? 

“People think we wanted to move here because it was cheaper. That is not true; we will have the same costs as at Poljud.”

And will they be investing in the space?

“This area is segmented: football, athletics … We, in agreement with our new partners, want to make it a unique place for sports and events, to make it more modern, more practical. But most importantly, this is the agreement of all partners . So, it’s a new part of Split that will be used by both the city and the sports clubs, as well as Ultra. But we do not want to have the exclusive right to this space, and we should open it for other events as well.”

When will work begin for this year’s festival?

“We already began. About 1500 people will work in the entire production. Part of it is easier than at Poljud because the whole area is already enclosed by fences and walls, while around Poljud we had to implement complicated fencing.”

The media raised the issue of security this week. 

“We had a meeting with the police. They walked the space with us and were surprised by the potential and size of it, as well as the number of emergency entries and exits, and the number of places that could be used for emergency services. The flow of people will be greater than at Poljud, and thus the safety. As I mentioned, the space is already fenced and it will be easier to secure it.”

And the issue of noise, since many residential buildings are nearby. 

“Many think that the noise was ideal at Poljud. But it will not be anything different here. We will turn to the north, and we have sound experts who will arrange it all. Of course, the music will be heard, but we will do everything to make the tenants of the surrounding buildings feel it the least.”

How are ticket sales going?

“For now, we have sold 15 percent more tickets than last year, which would mean about 45,000 visitors per day, and about 120,000 for those three days.”

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Where will the main entrance be located?

“The main entrance will be from Ul. Hrvatske Mornarice and the crossroads leading to the Turkish Tower, and there will be a special entrance for VIPs, emergency services. In the parking lot of the Turkish Tower, there will be ticket booths and other accompanying facilities, and then there will be a large official entrance with security check and bracelet check.”

And the exit?

“The exit will be towards the Joker Mall. When the party ends, they will exit at that second exit, where there will be taxis, buses.”

What will happen with the other entrances, for example, those near Ul. Hrvatske Mornarice and the residential buildings that face the stadium?

“It will all be closed, secured, and no one will have access, so the visitors will not come close to the residential buildings. This will already reduce noise and pressure towards the buildings near the stadium.”

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