Is Inland Croatia Becoming a New Festival Destination?

By 3 August 2016

While festival tourism is exploding on the Adriatic coast, things are happening in continental Croatia too, with Forestland due to start on August 4, 2016.

Everyone knows about the success of the Adriatic festivals in Croatia. From Ultra in Split to Pula based UK managed festivals like Dimensions and Outlook, the Adriatic coast is the preferred destination of festival crowds from all over Europe and USA.

From May to September there's hardly an island with some type of festival, either rock, electronic or something in between. However, inland, continental Croatia has recently become a new undiscovered place. Mega popular Lost Theory festival was in the Dalmatian Mountains, and returns again in 2017, Zagreb features several big festivals including InMusic Festival that's been running for 11 years now.

Hedonism, it's coming!

Of all the sectors which have grown rapidly in Croatian tourism in recent years, festival tourism has certainly been one of the most high profile and rapidly expanding, introducing a new generation of tourist to the spectacular Adriatic coast. Ever since the pioneering The Garden Festival 11 years ago, more and more festival organisers have looked at Croatia as a possible location, with its young and hip image combining with spectacular coastal settings and improving infrastructure to give the stereotypical sun and sea destination another dimension. As far back as 2013, The Guardian was asking if Croatia was Europe's top festival destination.

Continental Croatia has one major benefit over the Adriatic - it's undiscovered. It's new, it's different and it's a challenge. Ryanair flies to Osijek and Zagreb is connected well enough. Everything else is basically in between and reachable within a few hours of by bus, train or rent-a-car.

From Osijek (and Exit in Novi Sad not far away), to Zagreb, to Lost Theory and Varaždin's Špancirfest, Croatian inland festival scene can only flourish.

Međimurje lies at the crossroads and millions of tourists pass through each year en route Adriatic from Budapest, Slovakia and Vienna. For a few years now they have reasons to stop. Trash and Burn festival attracts thousands every June to enjoy "american car and pin-up" culture of 60ies with lots of Rockabilly jams, concerts and rides. Literally dozens of Motor Clubs (MC) meetups dot the map with thousands gathering at the every event.

The next big festival?

One of the biggest, yet hidden, gems in continental tourism is the young Forestland Festival. Forestland is an electronic based festival the likes of Ultra, Tomorrowland and others. It returns again this August for the fourth time. Held in Brezje, Forestland offers a hidden festival surrounded with 10 acres of fields, forests, plains and lakes. In the middle of Međimurje, just 90 kilometers from Zagreb, 200 from Budapest and Ljubljana, Forestland could be the next big thing in festival tourism.

This year the Forestland festival goes big with Canadian duo Dzeko&Torres headlining and Italian superstar Alex Kenji opening the festival. Inland Croatia lacks the call of the Adriatic but compensates with fair prices, warm and welcoming people and cheap accommodation.

Three days, camping, three stages and over 50 DJ's make Forestland a desirable festival location. From 4th - 6th of August, Međimurje will try and fight to make it's way on to the Festival Map of Europe.

Photo Lucija Trupkovic Photography / Forestland PR