Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Joe Bašić on Ultra Europe Return: "This Festival Means Too Much for Split"

July 13, 2021 -  The Ultra Europe return may happen as soon as next year, as organizer Joe Bašić speaks of its importance to Split. 

If the Ultra Europe festival had not been postponed for the second time in a row last weekend, Split would have been the center of international entertainment again, according to the organizers of this festival, which brought world-famous DJ stars and thousands of guests to Split.

Ultra Europe could be organized next year, however still under special measures. This was announced by the organizer of the Ultra Europe music festival, Joe Bašić, who also told Radio Split that DJs are working hard in the studios in the meantime, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

"Considering everything that is happening in the world, I think that we will definitely bring Ultra back to Croatia next year. I am convinced that the pandemic will be under control and that these measures, COVID passports, testing, and more will be part of our story, but will enable us to hold the festival still," said Bašić about Ultra in Split.

The pandemic has thwarted plans for the festival again this year, but intensive preparations for 2022 are already underway.

"We will certainly pay more attention around the guests themselves; the measures will play a big role. I am convinced that through this year, all the countries of the world will prepare for such a life, we will not get rid of COVID, but we will have to learn to live with it. We, as the organizers of the largest festival in the world - Ultra, have the opportunity to prepare everything at a level that will enable the arrival of this large number of people again in Split," he said.

He also commented on the significance of the festival for Split, but also for the whole country.

"Ultra Europe was the engine of development of Split and Croatia, as far as the destination is concerned. It also attracted people who would not otherwise come to Croatia. However, I think that there is definitely a shortage of guests worldwide, especially in Split. Renters, hoteliers, and the airport all comment on how much Ultra is missing and that it is essential to return those numbers from 2019," claims Bašić.

Meanwhile, he says, the performers are not resting.

"We are in touch with all the DJs and artists we work with. They definitely miss live performances. Now they are more in their studios, but they can't wait to come to Croatia again for Ultra Europe. We will do our best to bring the Ultra Europe Festival back to Croatia in 2022; I believe in that. The energy that we have all experienced in the last seven years in Split, I believe that it will return, that the whole world will dance with us again in Croatia," concluded Joe Bašić.

For more on lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Organizer Joe Bašić Hopeful for Ultra Europe 2021: "Still Too Early to Draw Conclusions"

March 16, 2021 - Organizer Joe Bašić is hopeful that Ultra Europe 2021 will be held this summer, as the electronic music festival in Split is still four months away. 

Spring is just around the corner, and with it comes the growing speculation about the upcoming festival season, which starts in May. European countries are opting for various tactics: from COVID passports and mass vaccination of citizens to fast and accessible antigen tests, which could save events on the coast. Especially the ones organized by the UK.

Some of the world's largest music festivals have already written off 2021, but festivals in Croatia are not yet giving up. 

In Croatia, the outdoor festival season lasts from May to September, and since it came to Split, Ultra Europe is certainly the most popular event on the Adriatic. A three-day mass party with mainstream electronic stars brings tens of thousands of tourists and significant income to the city, and during the week of Ultra, Split garages, sheds, balconies, and yards are even rented. Festivalgoers sleep outdoors; some do not sleep at all. They come from all over the world, and they are there to have a good time.

Some locals are bothered by the crowds and noise, others by the garbage and clutter that is inevitably left behind after thousands of party-goers are in the city, but no one can deny the economic impact it has on Split. Will thousands of international party people march through Split with the flags of their countries again?

24 Sata reports that Ultra Europe organizer Joe Bašić hopes so. Still, the news from Miami, published just a few days ago, isn't too optimistic. Recall, Ultra in Florida has been canceled again, and the culprit is, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It is too early for any conclusions about Ultra in Split. There are four more months until then. We monitor the situation, and it changes from day to day. We are cooperating with the city, we respect the measures of the Headquarters, and we can only hope that everything will be fine by July," Bašić said.

Security restrictions are there for a reason, but there would be equal bans for caterers. Is it worth organizing the festival at all if it turns out that Ultra can only have 20% or 30% capacity and that guests must adhere to strict measures?

"We will have to sit down and see what can be done in such a hypothetical case and what cannot. I can't tell you anything more detailed so far; it's hard to be really smart at the moment," Bašić admits.

There is a lot of talk about 'COVID passports.' Spain will test the model in Ibiza, the celebrated mecca of partygoers, as early as May. If this proves to be a good enough protection model, they will implement it nationally in the summer season. Bašić says that nothing concrete has been said about it so far, but he will consider all the options that can help this year's festival in Split see the light of day. If the worst-case scenario comes true, Ultra will be transparent with its audience.

"We will refund the ticket money to those who request a refund, and for those who choose to keep the ticket, it will be valid next year. Our policy was the same last year," Bašić announces.

Just a week before Ultra, the Dimensions Festival is a treat for slightly different electronic music fans. This summer, it is moving from Istria to Tisno and Šibenik to St. Michael's Fortress, and despite the pandemic, the organizers announced that the music event is scheduled for July 1-5. For now, they expect that we will be able to have fun by some 'old standards.' It should not be forgotten that last summer, after the first wave of the virus subsided, a music festival experiment on Martinska succeeded. It was one of the few locations in Europe where several smaller festivals and concerts were held, and where no increase in the number of cases was recorded.

Outlook and Seasplash festivals have already been announced, and additional information about Membrain, Blast, Regius, Kanal Fest, Slurp! will be released soon.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 12 February 2021

Joe Bašić on 2021 Ultra Europe: We Will Know More in 60 Days

February 12, 2021 - The organizer of the Ultra Europe music festival, Joe Bašić, revealed to Enter Zagreb the plans for this year's Ultra Europe in Split. He also admitted that he expects an explosion of fun after we're on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thousands of partygoers from all over the world did not meet last year at Ultra Europe in Split, as the festival was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. We are still waiting for an official decision on this year's festival, as well, reports 24 Sata

"It is certainly too early for conclusions now; I believe that in 60 days we will be in a better situation and that we will be better able to assess the circumstances related to COVID and the possibilities of organizing the festival," said Bašić.

 

"As responsible organizers, we monitor events, work closely with the authorities, all those responsible for making decisions for the safety of visitors and the festival. Internationally, we work with several groups of people trying to find a solution for the festival's future, from Covid passports to rapid tests. I’ve been to more of these conversations, trying to find a solution, but unfortunately, it’s hard to be smart there. Every day something changes, and we, as serious and responsible organizers, cannot confirm anything. We also cannot make decisions without an official decision from the state and the city," Bašić believes.

Speaking generally about the future of the festival, Bašić is optimistic.

"As for the music industry, I think it is an industry that will be proactive and find a solution for the future. Music is an integral part of life; people will always find an opportunity to enjoy it. I think that psychologically it is an important factor, young people can't wait to go out, they are waiting for socializing. At the moment when it is possible to return to festivals and events, I think it will be one big show," he concluded.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 28 February 2020

Ultra Europe's Joe Basic: Split Leading Destination for Music Tourism in World

February 28, 2020 - Ultra Europe's main man Joe Basic talks about the potential of the music festival in Split - and things are just getting started.

Within the “Talk & Grow by UNIST" lecture cycle, organized by the University of Split, Joe Basic, founder and director of MPG, a leading marketing and promotional agency in Southeast Europe, and director and promoter of Ultra Europe, explained how Split had become the world's leading destination for music tourism.

Namely, Slobodna Dalmacija reports that in his lecture, which he called "A Small Country for a Big Music Festival", Basic said, among other things, that one music festival could generate more than HRK 10 billion in additional spending, as it manages to attract the attention of 200 million people from around the world annually, and how much that ad is really worth.

“When we surveyed young people in 2013, only 34 percent of them knew how to show Croatia on the world map. Today, thanks to Ultra, 67 percent know where it is,” Bašić boasted.

He did his best to explain all of what Split would lose in the next five years if by any chance that famous, world-renowned electronic music festival left our town:

“The numbers are large, they would lose two million overnights, one billion euro spent, 150 million euro in the name of taxes, and Split would definitely not be the number one European destination for young people between 18 and 35,” said Basic.

He answered the students, who asked him questions about the problems he had discovered with Croatian bureaucracy and about his Croatian roots, but he also emphasized that Ultra in Split had not yet reached its maximum.

“I’m sure we're only halfway there. We have the opportunity to reach half a million overnights. By comparison, in the beginning, the ticket cost 85 euro, today it costs 169 euro, then, seven years ago, Split had only 6,700 beds, today there are 36,000. Overnights in 2013 were 24 euro, and today it is 67 euro, on average,” Basic concluded.

Ultra already announced the new release of Ultra Europe, which will take place from July 10-12, 2020.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 28 June 2019

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

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.”

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Joe Bašić: Ultra Europe Expects 160,000 Festivalgoers in 2019

Preparations for the next Ultra Europe Music Festival are underway. Hundreds of people have been tirelessly working on the project that has changed Split - from finalizing and arranging performances to logistics, meetings with city authorities, police, utility services, and more. 

Joe Bašić, the owner of MPG Live, the alpha and omega of the Croatian Ultra, revealed everything we need to know about the upcoming edition, and just how Ultra got here in the first place, reports Slobodna Dalmacija on January 2, 2019. 

How did Joe come up with the idea of organizing Ultra?

“I have been involved in organizing various events, concerts and music festivals in North America, and in Croatia since 1997, for over 25 years. The economy started to change here in 2006 and Croatia became a marketplace where it was possible to organize international music events but needed further development and investment in infrastructure to attract the best performers and projects. That same year, MPG began developing strategies and investments in local and regional music events, concerts and festivals. One of the important steps was to develop the electronic music fan base in Croatia because we recognized that the new generation wanted new and different music to express themselves. Before that, electronic music was ‘underground’ and just released in small clubs and could not get mainstream radio and media attention.”

When did this change begin?

“Well, with the events we've organized, like Fat Boy Slim, Armand Van Helden, Sebastian Ingros, Axwell, David Guetta, Fedde Le Granda, Eric Moril and others, which gathered between 3000 and 10,000 people. Recognizing the potential and great interest, we organized Umagination and Big Beach, and they attracted fans from Europe, Canada and the United States. With more than 20,000 people attending these festivals, electronic music has become more popular and has also found its way to the most important media in Croatia. After five years of creating a strong base of fans and our recommendations as organizers, we launched a discussion with leading world festivals with the intent to consider the possibility of organizing a major international event in Croatia. We felt that the Ultra Music Festival was the best way for us and after 18 months of presentation and negotiation, we managed to sign an exclusive partnership in Europe for their brand. In 2013, when Croatia joined the European Union, we organized the first edition of the ULTRA Europe Festival and the rest of it is history.”

How did the Americans react to this proposal?

“First they thought we were crazy! They never heard about Croatia and they thought we were from one of the former Russian states. But after seeing our references and rich experience, they decided to seriously consider our proposal. By presenting ULTRA Europe to them and once they arrived Croatia, they became convinced of the beauty and potential of this project, and the partnership decision came quickly.”

Which Ultra festival is the most successful with regard to the location? Of course, not counting Miami.

“ULTRA Europe is the second biggest event in the great Ultra Worldwide family, right after the Miami Festival. There are currently more than 30 events around the world, on all continents, with more than a million tickets sold annually. Our release has 15 percent of total sales and generates more than 200 million impressions in the media annually. ULTRA Europe's visitors come from more than 140 countries, while in Miami festivalgoers come from 90 countries, which is 50 fewer than us.”

What’s in store for the future?

“The US owners are convinced that our festival will become the largest Ultra festival in the world, but this will certainly require additional support from the Government and local partners, new hotels and all the necessary infrastructure for an additional 20,000 visitors. In 2013, Split had 7,000 registered beds, and today it has grown to 32,000. There is a need for additional investments in hotels of higher categories and the development of traffic, especially air traffic, so that Split is ready to increase guests.”

What should we expect for Ultra 2019?

“Our plans and current indicators are moving towards 160,000 visitors in 2019, so, this is the number of visitors who will visit Poljud all three days, as well as the events on the islands and all other events related to the festival. This will be possible with additional flights to Split, Zagreb and Zadar and increased investments in marketing activities and promotion of the festival in the world, and we are working diligently.”

Will there be any changes compared to Ultra 2018?

“The novelty is certainly the ULTRA WORLDWIDE STAGE on which we will present performers from all over the world. We will also promote our country through works by local artists, food and other entertaining events. We will continue to focus on improving the overall visitor experience, so we will further work on food, toilets and the arrival to the stadium. Given the excellent results, we will continue with the development of destination events on Bol, Hvar and Vis, and our goal is to show the world all the beauties of Croatia so they extend their stay here. Be sure to expect a lot of good surprises.”

How are preparations going for 2019?

“Great! We have entered the seventh year on the wings of last year's most successful edition so far. I think that behind us is tremendous knowledge and invaluable experience and we are most focused on improving the overall experience of visitors and for even better promotion of all the benefits that our festival offers as a unique destination in the world. We recently announced the ULTRA Europe 2018 Aftermovie, and in the first 24 hours it was viewed by more than 200,000 people. We are extremely pleased with the sales that again recorded a growth of 20 percent more than last year, and a 100 percent increase in the DESTINATION ULTRA Europe tickets, which includes the entrance to all seven festival events. We plan to invest more in the RESISTANCE stage, and there will be special RESISTANCE tickets for those who want to visit all the events under this brand, in Split, and on Hvar and Vis.”

To read more about Ultra, follow TCN's dedicated page

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Ultra Europe: Joe Bašić Talks Record Year, Split Accommodation, and Economic Benefit of Festival

Ultra Europe will return to Split from July 6 to 8, 2018. 

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

ULTRA Europe Sells 120K Tickets Already, Poljud Expecting Sellout

Joe Bašić said that the scale for organizing the 6th edition of the event was set high and that the festival will see more than 180,000 people from all over the world this year. 

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

ULTRA Europe 2018: Ticket Sales Begin Today!

ULTRA Europe returns in 2018 for the sixth edition of the festival. 

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Best ULTRA Europe Yet: Over 94K Overnight Stays Recorded!

The number of overnight stays and tourist visits are increasing in Split each year. It is no surprise then that the trend continued for this year's ULTRA Europe music festival.

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