Pula: Punks Party for Monte Paradiso!

Total Croatia News

All images: Copyright Dave Gasson

TCN’s Dave Gasson gives us a close up account of Pula’s Punk scene.

Last weekend, Pula saw the coming together of punks from across Europe to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Monte Paradiso Hardcore Punk Festival and to celebrate their own unique New Year. Many years ago, it was said that punks do not celebrate on the 31st of December each year and instead, they celebrate a new year at each coming and passing of this, The Monte Paradiso Hardcore Punk Festival, with many of the bands wishing us all Happy New Year, that tradition continues today.

It all began in the summer of 1992 when a few kids, who wanted to listen to hardcore punk without any hassle, squatted in the abandoned Fort Casoni Vecchi, in the neighbourhood of Monte Paradiso. Within a few years, the festival became a firm favourite with punks across Europe and during the last 25 years, over 250 punk bands from across the world have played at the festival.

The first two bands to play on Saturday night on Pula were “Fonija” from Macedonia and “Herida Profunda” from Poland.

In 1999, the festival moved to larger premises, the ex military barracks of Karlo Rojc, that offered a full range of amenities. The attendance rose quickly from a few hundred to a few thousand. It is now one of the longest lasting ”’DIY” hardcore Punk Festivals in Europe.

This year there were 21 bands from 14 countries playing over the three days. Many of the travelling fans camped in the grounds of Rojc or stayed locally in camper vans. There was a relaxed and chilled atmosphere amongst all of them throughout the three days; many just sitting back with a few beers, music, friends and enjoying the sunshine but very lively at night when it was time to party. 

“Choix” from Russia were soon jumping for joy at playing to the lively Pula crowd. They really set the tone for the rest of the night with a dynamic set of pure hardcore punk.

Over the 25 years since its inauguration, the festival has stayed true to its initial concept and values. 

This is not a festival that strives for huge monetary success or for any commercialism. If it did, it would have failed. Instead, it continues to grow in popularity by offering good music, correctly priced food, free showers, free wi-fi and free camping. It is evident that any profit made is ploughed straight back into making the following years’ event just as good, if not better than the previous one.

As well as legendary Punk bands, the festival takes pride in sharing the stage with unknown and promising new younger bands. The Slovakian band “Beton” with Martin Hades on lead vocals were next to play, offering some mesmerising guitar solos from Dolivan Bramborik.

The crowd were rocking and partying like only punks do. Directly in front of the stage was the main action area. People were hoisted in the air and carried to the front and then thrown on stage and the first of the night’s much loved crowd surfing began and it has to be noted , they didn’t spill the beer, at least not en route!

Between sets, the bands, along with volunteers, helped each other quickly and efficiently move the equipment and a sound check was done. Next to entertain the crowd were “A New Scar” from Italy with “Dezo” on lead guitar and vocalsm with “Don Diego ” on bass and “Bone” on drums, they offered another full on explosive hardcore punk set much to the delight of the crowd.

Fresh from having played in Venice the night before and having to endure a seven hour car journey to get here, next to take the stage were English band ”Doom”. Having started 30 years ago, they played many of the crowd’s favourites including Police xxxx which went down exceptionally well. They followed this up with tracks from “They Love (fear) Death” and their latest EP “Corrupt..xxxx System”

With Denis Boardman on lead vocals, Bri on guitar, Stick on drums and Scoot on bass, the band, who describe their music as punk/hardcore/crust/d-beat served, up an outstanding set and partied long into the night despite having to catch the red eye flight back to Blighty on Sunday morning.


The final band to play, and to close this great Punk Festival, were the very popular Anarcho – Punk band “Oi Polloi” from Edinburgh. The songs carried strong political messages and were introduced with an explanation, meaning and purpose. Oh, and also mentioned that they like Whisky and sing better with it!

As well as singing in English they performed a track in their native language, Gaelic.

There were songs of political unrest, refugees, human rights, animal rights, anti state, anti government, anti fascist, pro cannabis, gay rights, and, of course, Brexit. They even performed, in Croatian, a song against the Croatian Government written specifically for the event. This was unbelievably well received and the audience were quickly reciting the chorus, which can’t be repeated here (for obvious reasons!).

In true punk and anarchy form, the crowd got roudier and roudier as the night progressed. There was plenty of crowd surfacing and more and more people on the stage. Toward the end of the ”Oi Polloi” set, the stage was full of people, and yet the band continued to play and they thrived on it.

You may or may not like Punk music, but the love, passion and dedication these guys put in is there for all to see. There are no roadies to set the stage up between acts, no PR people to do their talking, and nobody to hold their hands when they meet a fan. They party with the crowd, rock on stage and then party with the crowd some more. Their musical abilities are second to none. To be able to play at that tempo for so long is quite a feat, to be able to do it when the stage has been invaded and there are 10 to 20 unknown people, air guitaring, singing with spare mics, and crowd surfing takes some doing and is truly admirable.

Well done, you have my utmost respect!

Upcoming concerts at Pula Arena include and Zucchero with special guest star, Sporty Spice on Sunday the 13th of August, click here for further information. Then it is festival time once again with Grace Jones performing at the opening night of The Dimensions Festival on the 30th of August, click here for further information. Dizzee Rascal will be opening Outlook Festival on the 6th of September, click here for further information.

Still to look forward to in Zagreb later in the year are Bryan Adams on the 9th of November, click here for further information. Beth Hart is on at the Boogaloo club the following day (10th of November), click here and here for info!


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment