Monday, 8 August 2022

ULTRA Europe Festival's Joe Basic Talks Split Tourism Development

August 9, 2022 - Last week's TCN editorial, Is Split Tourism 'Strategy' Killing the Goose with the Golden Eggs? caused a lot of discussion. Now listen to the viewpoint of one very switched-on stakeholder, ULTRA Europe Festival founder, Joe Basic. 

It takes a lot to succeed in Croatia, especially when you are bringing a new product. And especially when that product is the largest music festival on the Adriatic coast.

Canadian Croat Joe Basic returned to the Homeland over 25 years ago to try his luck in the newly independent Croatia and to do his bit to help shape the country's future. Despite many falls along the way, he has achieved considerable success, the most notable of which is undoubtedly the ULTRA Europe Festival, which will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary next year (9th edition, with a break during the pandemic). 

Unlike the majority of expats living in Croatia, both Joe and I well remember how Split was ten years ago. It was the year I started Total Split, which was the first meaningful portal in English about the city, with many places written about for the first time in English. Back then, Diocletian's Palace was a little bit intimidating, especially off-season, when it became a ghost town with a medium-sized drug problem. 

Split itself was better known not as a tourist destination but as 'the Gateway to the Dalmatian islands.' It was undoubtedly beautiful - with a spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site and Riva just metres from the ferry - but a far cry from what we see today. Joe, meanwhile, was busy trying to put his country - and particularly Split - on the global map. 

Something that the ULTRA Europe Festival most certainly did. 

And so, for a few days in July, the Dalmatian capital gave way to the ULTRA party, which attracted 75,000 people in the first year, and which has been growing ever since. Nine years later, Split is beyond recognition as a destination, and the current problems with drunkenness, nudity, and anti-social behaviour are the cause of much discussion. Some point the finger of blame at ULTRA, saying that everything went downhill from there. 

I disagree. And for those who have followed me for 10 years, you may recall how against ULTRA Europe I was on my adopted island of Hvar. But for Split, I think ULTRA has been a good thing. It would have been even better if the biggest problem that has arisen had a solution in place - a strategy and operational plan to manage the rapid growth in tourism. Such a thing does not exist, and that is the main cause of Split's current issues. At least in my opinion. 

And the good news is that things are solvable. I have little faith in the current Split Tourist Board, which has been worshipping at the temple of numbers, numbers, numbers for years without coming up with any kind of discernible strategy. But I do have hope in the new mayor, Ivica Puljak, who has recently been returned to power with a much stronger mandate, after calling a snap election to strengthen his position earlier this year. Mayor Puljak's active participation in the TCN Split Winter Tourism Roundtable initiative is evidence of his involvement and positive engagement.

I thought it would be useful for the debate to get the perspective of Joe Basic. As the man who brought the ULTRA Europe Festival to Croatia and Split, he is very well-positioned to comment. He also understands the scene and the Croatian way much better than I do. Additionally, he understands the trends and can clearly see where Split is going wrong - and how to (relatively easily) fix it. I will be tagging Mayor Puljak and the Split Tourist Board when I publish this, in the hope that they will take on board Joe's insights and recommendations.  

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A Canadian-Croatian returnee, it was only when I sat down with Joe that I realised what a proud Croat he is, and how much he is working on several fronts for a better Croatia. 

Our conversation took us back a decade, a time when Split was not recognised globally or in Europe as a travel destination.  Back then, Split was seen as the biggest Croatian city on the Adriatic coast, a city known for its sports teams Hajduk, Jugoplastika, and the home town of athletes Goran Ivanisević and Blanka Vlasić.  A city people only visited on their way to other destinations such as Hvar, Bol or other Dalmatian islands connected by ferry in Split.  When the ULTRA Europe Festival was presented as an event to be organised In Split, many locals commented that they could not see how this event could be organised here, and that there were many other locations more attractive than Split for this event. 

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Split was a VERY different place to today. The average stay for tourists was less than two days, and as I pointed out in last week's editorial, there were less than 5,000 registered private beds, with hotels also lacking. The spreadsheet above, provided by the Split Tourist Board, shows just what an (uncontrolled) explosion there has been, particularly in private beds. 

According to Basic, the ULTRA Europe Festival recognised that Split offered an attractive destination with access for guests from around the world by plane, car, train, boat and other means of transport.  As the largest city on the coast, it ensured potential local support and attendees of the event.  With its historic old town, beautiful sea views, beaches, and other attractions, it provided the opportunity to create the first destination music festival where guests not only attended the music festival but had an opportunity to experience all that the destination offered.  A chance to maximise the overall experience of festival goers with all that the city of Split offered.

Pulling off the first ULTRA Europe 

Given the fact we live in a bureaucratic country where foreigners have to produce an original birth certificate no more than 6 months old for their annual residence permit renewal, I can only imagine the nightmares he must have had pulling this off for the first time.

Basic explained that initial support from local authorities to organise the first ULTRA Europe Festival was minimum and almost zero.  The city of Split and other government authorities did not financially support the event and ULTRA had to organise everything. The city did not have the infrastructure to support events of this scale, and as a result, ULTRA needed to secure equipment from all over Croatia and Europe.  Local services and agencies, including security, cleaning and others, did not have the required number of staff, so they were sourced from other cities, thereby increasing the overall costs.  Transfer vehicles, hotel rooms, and presidential suites in 5-star hotels were limited and/or non-existent, making it difficult to meet the expectations of artists arriving to perform at the ULTRA Europe Festival.  In the first year, there were over 75 000 people attending the event, in a city with less than 200 taxis available. And of these, very few offered their services after midnight.  Today, there are over 2000 taxis are in the city of Split during the ULTRA Europe Festival.

People who arrived to attend the ULTRA Europe Fetvial in 2013 from around the world were, for the most part, introduced to Split and Croatia for the first time.  Most people had never heard of Split and were coming to attend the ULTRA Europe Festival, not visit the destination.  For instance, many people who attended didn't even know Split was a coastal town with beaches and arrived without bathing suits.  No matter how much Croatians believe everyone in the world knows about Croatia and Split, this was certainly not the case In 2013, especially in countries outside of Europe.  Basic says he and his team spent a lot of time and money presenting and promoting the destination worldwide to inform and educate our attendees about the destination.

What was the ULTRA Europe effect?

The ULTRA Europe Festival was very controversial when it first came, but Split locals quickly got to like the tourism boom it brought for a few days in July. I asked him about 'the ULTRA effect' in Split during those festival days, including some numbers. 

He told me that the ULTRA Europe Festival is very powerful as it generates a high level of awareness globally, generating over 200 million impressions which present Split and Croatia in an attractive manner.  It has branded the City of Split as a leading global destination, and today it is clear that Split and Croatia are definitely more well-known, and the ULTRA Europe Festival has a lot to do with this, especially in the young adult segment (18-35).  These are the most sought-after tourists in the world and most difficult to attract as they seek relevant and trendy activities to animate them. At the same time, they tend to generate the greatest financial impact as they spend more than the average tourist.  This higher level of expenditure and increased intensity of activities when visiting generates a higher level of impact as these guests seek more while visiting.  For instance, according to Basic, boat excursions and taxi boats In 2013 compared to 2022 have increased 1000%. Taxis, restaurants and other activities have all grown 10X since the first ULTRA Europe Festival.  The average night cost less than 50 EURO in 2013, whereas today the average room is over 200 EURO, with rooms in hotels costing more than 350 EURO / night during the ULTRA Europe Festival.

In 2013, the first two weeks of July were known as SRPANJSKA RUPA (the July Hole/Gap), where there was a drop in tourists and occupancy numbers. This would increase and peak in the season starting after July 20th to the end of August.  This was a problem for hotels and apartment owners, and for this reason, the second weekend of July was chosen for ULTRA Europe. Today you have 10x more capacity, and you are unable to find a room in the first two weeks of July. It is now considered to be peak season for many hotels and other accommodations in Split, based on the average price per night.  This is not true for other cities in Croatia, such as Dubrovnik, Zadar and Rovinj.

What about the perception of Split as a destination 9 years later and the ULTRA effect on that?

Basic answered that the image of Split has changed immensely since the ULTRA Europe Festival started.  It has become a global destination recognised as a vibrant city and a perfect destination to visit.  This is especially true for young adults as the ULTRA Europe Festival has made this more attractive and welcoming for these guests.  Over 1 million people have attended the ULTRA Europe Festival since 2013, and the positive experience and word of mouth promoting this destination from these guests alone have created a tremendous amount of interest to visit Split.  It needs to be recognised that young adults (18-35) are the hardest target group to attract to any destination.  They are a target group that tends to spend the most on average and are especially valuable guests as they will repeat their visits over an entire life span, returning with their families and children later In life.  Typically, destinations in the world who can consistently attract young adults are those destinations which will become leading world destinations recognised for being trend-setting and top of mind in the world.

Basic also believes that the ULTRA Europe Festival has also been a catalyst in generating changes in the overall offer In Split, with many new restaurants, cafes, shops, hotels and other openings catering to an international market. This was not the case before 2013.  When comparing Split to other coastal cities in Croatia in the period since 2013, Split has changed much more by far in its overall offer than any other city.

Which brings us to the problems of today and a younger crowd with access to cheap alcohol and pub crawls through the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Diocletian's Palace. 

Basic explained that Split has become a GLOBAL TOURIST DESTINATION attracting guests of all ages seeking a vibrant and attractive place to visit.  No longer is Split a transit city, where people do not wish to stay and visit.  It has now become a primary destination when visiting Croatia.  With average night stays exceeding 5 days from less than 2 in 2013, Split has truly become a destination of choice for travellers from around the world.  The fact that young, hard-to-attract travellers are visiting Split is a confirmation that Split has become an attractive destination, offering something special and unique.  ULTRA has definitely helped to generate this interest and draw people to Split, highlighting its old town, beaches and other attractions in a modern and attractive manner.  Basic believes this is what every destination seeks, and this success should be recognised as a positive and not a negative result.  However, issues being experienced today in Split are common issues with any city transforming itself and dealing with the changes required in a process of change which Split has faced in the last 10 years.  This amplitude of change has happened In Split much quicker than typical due to the high interest the ULTRA Europe Festival generates each year for Croatia and Split. However, it is something that can be managed and is In the interests of all as they transform and improve their overall potential and financial prosperity.

This growth needs to be managed and a strategy defined and put into place to determine what Split desires to become.  At the moment, no clear strategy exists, especially a strategy that will unite all key decision makers. The changes occurring are beginning to reveal the weaknesses.  One example of this are young adult visitors who are coming to visit Split for a weekend of drinking and low-cost fun.  With Split now being recognised as a cool and trendy destination to visit for young adults, tour operators are taking advantage of this and organising trips to Split, focusing on bringing In as many people as they can for the least amount of money.  With communication like „THE BEST NIGHT YOU WILL NEVER REMEMBER, “ it is clear that the interests and positioning of this type of event are not In the interest of the City of Split or Croatia.  This is the least attractive type of guest for any destination as these guests simply seek to come for 3-4 days, to spend as little money as possible while getting drunk with their friends. 

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These tour operators are not investing any money or organising anything in the destination; they are simply using the destination and negotiating the cheapest deals possible to maximise the number of attendees.  This includes famous PUB CRAWLS, which attract young adults to drink as much as possible for less than 30 USD In 2 hours.  ULTRA Europe Festival guests coming to Split on average are spending over 3000 EURO to travel and visit Split.  These PUB CRAWL guests are coming to Split trying to spend less than 250 EURO for 3 days of partying. These tours present the worst of Split by bringing people to C-category venues, offering questionable alcohol, and encouraging people to get drunk as quickly as possible.  The more the merrier, without any controls in place with security guards or registration of events with city. 

By law, events in public places with more than 40 people are required to be registered, and an organiser and responsible person must be defined.  Approvals and registration of this event are needed to be allowed to operate, and the organiser needs to have all the required documentation, insurance policies and good standing with tax authorities, ZAMP and others to guarantee a safe and responsible event.  Unfortunately, this is not the case with PUB CRAWLS In Split, and organisers are taking advantage of this and basically raping the city as a result of its current popularity, leaving behind all that destinations want to avoid.  This is similar to a town where gold is found, attracting people from all over the world to get rich, mining the rich ore while it lasts, not concerned with what is left behind.  However, cities and countries where gold mining is regulated and managed invest and develop themselves, prospering from the riches mined and are successful well after all the gold has been mined.

Below are examples of the positioning and offers being presented by organisers of PUB CRAWLS.  This is the lowest possible offer that can be made for visitors to Split and is something that is not representative for the city and is potentially dangerous, as these events are being organised without a responsible person or entity.  You also need to ask yourself how taxes are being paid for these organised pub crawls.

 

Basic was keen to point out that as an organiser of the ULTRA Europe Festival, he is responsible for ensuring that his guests are supported and safe. This requires big investments in production, infrastructure and security.  Without these investments, approvals and other such things, he would not be able to organise the ULTRA Europe Festival.  PUB CRAWLS are below the radar and are being organised without any approvals and infrastructure, and the security required to support this is not being invested and/or required. As a result, this is now out of control, and issues are occurring.  This needs to be regulated and or stopped as it is damaging to the city of Split and for all those trying to develop quality and responsible development of the City of Split into a respectable and attractive destination.

Is ULTRA Europe partially responsible for the direction Split has taken?

All the above makes a lot of sense, and the issue of no plan or strategy was one that consultant Mario Seric homed in on during my editorial. But was the ULTRA Europe Festival at least partially responsible for the direction Split has taken?

Basic answered that ULTRA was responsible for generating a high level of interest for Split and Croatia, with over 200 million impressions being generated each year and over 35 million in promotion and advertising to attract people to come to Split for the ULTRA Europe Festival.  However, ULTRA is not responsible for the issues the city is now experiencing. This is occurring because nobody is managing or controlling the rapid development of the city into a global destination.  Since 2013, the infrastructure and people managing tourism in Split have not changed, while the number of beds registered has increased from 4000 to over 40,000 (see the spreadsheet above).  No strategic investments in the city have been made to support or improve the visitor experience by the city, including public washrooms, water stations, or signage.  These are crucial investments required to be made by a city to ensure this increased number of visitors can be managed.  For instance, PUBLIC WASHROOMS in the city of Split that do exist are usually locked and closed after midnight.  Based on this, where are tourists supposed to go to the toilet after midnight other than in public areas?  Unfortunately, PUB CRAWLS for the most part occur after midnight, and the end result is clear.  For the ULTRA Europe Festival, Basic is aware of this problem, and as the organiser, he invests each year in providing temporary washrooms throughout the city to give his guests options to go to the washroom when walking home from the venue.  He claims to have minimal / no issues with this during the ULTRA Europe Festival.

As a result, a strategic plan needs to be clearly defined, defining what type of destination Split wants to become.  Once this strategic plan is defined, it can determine the pace and required investments needed to support this plan.  This plan needs to be accepted by the public, and all need to support it in a coordinated method to achieve maximum results to the satisfaction of all participants.  When this is achieved, it will also be clear to visitors what expectations are for the City of Split and what it represents.  This strategic plan should be organised with representatives from all key sectors of tourism and involve government institutions required for implementation.  There is a clear consensus that this is required, and Basic is confident that very quickly a working group of highly qualified and professional people can be developed to tackle the issues the City of Split is facing.

So what kind of destination should Split be, attracting which type of tourist?

Basic thinks that Split needs to become a vibrant and active global destination attracting guests of all ages and walks of life.  It needs to become a city with visitors coming all year round to enjoy the historical and cultural attractions the city offers along with organised activities highlighting what makes Split special.  The City of Split needs to maintain the importance of remaining a city where locals live and work, as tourists always comment on how friendly and welcoming the people of Split are, while offering accommodations, restaurants and cafes which will make guests feel comfortable.  Split needs to focus on international guests travelling by plane, seeking an attractive hotel or b&b, aged between 20-45, who will establish the city as a relevant tourist destination while maximising expenditure while visiting.  Split has been able to achieve this in the last 10 years, and now it needs to be supported with infrastructure and support. Without this, it could lose all the benefits gained

I made him Mayor of Split and Split Tourist Board director for a day and asked him about his strategy to develop the city's tourism.

He was quite clear about what he would do. The first step would be to establish a consensus on what the City of Split wants and desires to become in 2 years, 5 years and 15 years.  When this is defined, form a working group of qualified and respected people from each sector of tourism to be joined by public offices from the city and county required for implementation, including  the tourist board:

  • Large hotels
  • Medium hotels
  • B&B / apartments
  • Tour Operator
  • Organiser of large events
  • Organiser of small events
  • Taxis
  • Bus Operators
  • Day Trips / Excursions
  • Boats and Ferries
  • Restaurants
  • Cafes
  • Bars
  • Media
  • Other

When this working group would be formed, its objective would be to develop a 2, 5 and 15-year strategy within 6 months to be presented and discussed In a public forum for final approval.  During this process, public debate in the media would be organised to get a better understanding of what the public desires and to challenge certain options.  This process would fllter and ensure that the strategy developed will achieve its required objectives and have the public support it needs for success.  Once this is defined, a leader / manager needs to be put into place to take responsibility and ensure that the defined objectives are being achieved, publicly sharing results (good and bad) during the process of development.  The success of the manager will be monitored based on results and milestones being achieved.  This would include qualitative and quantitative objectives like

  • number of guests per month
  • countries from where guests are visiting from
  • % of accommodations In 5-star hotels available and number of apartments
  • Managing surveys and feedback from guests visiting the city of Split
  • Promotion and advertising messages to support strategy
  • Organisation of events and other to support the development and reinforce key communication
  • Required infrastructure

How about some quick wins to improve the current situation?

Only three? Here is what he suggested:

  • Inspection of how PUB CRAWLS are organised and elimination of the same with regulations and controls of venues.

      • No tolerance policy

  • Introduction of a working group defined above with clearly defined dates and milestones for development

  • Improved communication and presentation of issues, results and requirements with the public to gain understanding and support of the process of change the City of Split is going through.

Being such a key player in Croatian tourism, what were his thoughts on the direction of Croatian tourism in general?

He said that he believed Croatia was doing an excellent job in positioning and developing tourism In Croatia.  Based on his work with other countries in the world, Croatia is looked upon as a great example of what can be done.   However, during this transition, continual changes need to occur and methodology improved.  Instead of focusing on numbers of overnights, shift to average spending by guests. Total nights and return visits need to be monitored and communicated to ensure long-term success.  Segmentation and specialisation of the market will occur and needs to be supported as certain destinations will transform themselves to certain niches and will not be for all types of guests.  This process of change also needs to be managed and supported properly if it is to be successful

And finally, what next for Joe Basic?

He told me that he is currently working on a number of potential major international acts who have not been to Croatia as of yet to perform in 2023 and 2024.  Negotiations are positive, and it is clear that these artists desire to perform in Croatia, which is a pleasant change, as it was very difficult to convince major artists in the past to consider or accept Croatia as an option.

You can check out the ULTRA Europe Festival website and reserve your spot for 2023.

Read more - Is Split Tourism 'Strategy' Killing the Goose with the Golden Eggs?

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What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

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Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners will be out by Christmas. If you would like to reserve a copy, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject 20 Years Book

Tuesday, 5 July 2022

City Confirms: Everything Ready for 8th Ultra Europe Festival in Split

July 5, 2022 - The City of Split has confirmed that everything is ready for the 8th Ultra Europe festival, held at Park Mladeži this weekend from July 8 to 10. 

On Tuesday, the Split City Administration held a coordination meeting about the upcoming ULTRA Europe festival, which was attended by representatives of the organizers, city services and utility companies, emergency services, and other institutions necessary for the successful organization of the event this weekend at Park Mladeži (Youth Park). The festival thus returns after a two-year break caused by the pandemic, reports Dalmatinski Portal.

All segments of the organization are covered, and the emergency services are ready and at the highest level of readiness. Communal and traffic police will have extended working hours and will work in coordination with the police. In agreement with the organizer, the Split Tourist Board implements the Respect & Enjoy campaign aimed at the participants of the Festival to maintain public order and peace. In addition to the orderliness of public areas, Čistoća is also focused on waste recycling, so a complete disposal infrastructure will be installed in the festival area, and the director of the city company promised that by 8 am, everything will be clean and recycled. 

County Center 112 has provided translators for communication with festival visitors in six world languages.

Promet Split will work at total capacity, both technical and human, from Thursday to Monday. Parks and plantations have also completed all preparatory work and will intensify the cleaning of green areas. The organizer made a schedule of chemical toilets in a ring around the stadium, in agreement with the representatives of the neighboring city districts. Inspectors from the State Inspectorate, Customs, and Tax Administration announced increased surveillance during the festival. It should also be noted that the City will not extend the working hours of catering establishments during the festival this year, since they can work up to 2 am on weekends.

Joe Bašić, the owner of the company MPG Live and organizer of the ULTRA Europe festival, pointed out that organizationally everything will be ready even before the official start of the festival and announced a higher quality of production, better access to guests, and higher attendance of the festival held in Split so far. The organizer will pay special attention to the tenants of the neighboring buildings he will meet tonight. The Commissioner of the Government for the affairs of the Split mayor, Mirna Veža, expressed her satisfaction with what was done, thanked everyone for their seriousness in the preparations, called on the citizens to be hospitable and patient, and for everyone to have maximum engagement during the ULTRA Europe festival, noting that all events during this manifestation have implications for the image of Split.

For more, check out our lifestyle section

Tuesday, 28 June 2022

2022 Ultra Europe Fashion Collection Presented for Men and Women

June 28, 2022 - The 2022 Ultra Europe fashion collection is here for both men and women - and it is entirely produced in Croatia!

The season of summer music events is here, and with the biggest music event in the region around the corner, ULTRA Europe is here to help you find the best fashion fits. In addition to a stellar lineup and fantastic production, one of the most important and recognizable aspects of ULTRA is the full range of creative and innovative fashion from visitors from more than 140 countries, making the Youth Park stadium a diverse mix of cultures and personal styles. The ULTRA Europe Festival has become recognized as an unusual music and fashion playground, which promotes inclusiveness, creativity, and authenticity. Thus, this year, an entire fashion collection for women and men has been revealed! 

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The main actors of the latest collection are reflective holographic bomber jackets, neon leather designs, neon tones on T-shirts, caps, backpacks, and sunglasses that perfectly reflect the vibe of the ULTRA Europe festival. Combined with various details, they create an authentic neo-cyberpunk look. To take your outfit to an even higher level, there are also bracelets, flags, bandanas, and bucket hats, which are an absolute hit all over the world this season.

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This year's collection also presents a new line dedicated to one of the world's most famous music programs, which has its special stage in the Youth Park. Namely, the RESISTANCE program focuses on underground electronic musicians and offers the integration of an independent fashion scene with dark techno vibes. Black hoodies, T-shirts, and fashion accessories such as caps with military details are just some of the pieces in this year's festival collection.

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The entire textile range is produced in Croatia, from certified materials and can be purchased on the West Coast in Split from July 5 to 12, at the camp in Omis from July 7 to 12, and at several locations within the Park Youth. Payment is possible with all cards, and through the cashless system, and for all purchases over 300 kuna, a drawstring backpack is added to the purchase until stocks last. In addition, for all purchases over HRK 350 with a Mastercard card, a 10% discount is granted.

The collection was shot at the Secret club in Zagreb. In front of the lens of photographer Mario Poje were two famous Croatian models, Lana Klarić and Sandro Stanojević. Karla Glasnović (Profokus) was the makeup artist, while Fran Brunović (Profokus) was in charge of the hair.

The Croatian National Tourist Board and Samsung Electronics Adriatic are proud partners of the ULTRA Europe festival. ULTRA Europe is held at the Youth Park from July 8 to 10 and then embarks on Brač, Hvar, and Vis islands. Several international stars are arriving in Split, including Above & Beyond, Adam Beyer, Afrojack, Alesso, Amelie Lens, Armin van Buuren, DJ Snake, Hardwell, Joseph Capriati, Marco Carola, Martin Garrix, Marshmello, Nicky Romero, Nina Kraviz, Oliver Heldens, Richie Hawtin, Steve Aoki, Tiësto, Timmy Trumpet, and Vini Vici, and will be joined by ACRAZE, Airod, ANNA, Frank Walker, Ilario Alicante, Krewella, Sam Feldt and SOFI TUKKER [DJ set].

All information about the festival can be found on the official website www.ultraeurope.com

All photos by Mario Poje

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Ultra Europe 2022 Expects Over 150,000 Visitors!

June 14, 2022 - After a two-year break, Split will host one of the world's largest international electronic music festivals, Ultra Europe 2022, at Park Mladeži from July 8 to 10.

The participants of today's press conference held in the Split city port confirmed that everything is ready from the organizational aspect. According to the organizers, Split expects the biggest Ultra yet. 

"After the pandemic crisis and uncertainty, we gathered courage. With the great interest of fans and the support of the Government, the Ministry, Tourist Board, and all partners, we dared to maintain Ultra. For now, all indicators say that we were right because the interest has never been higher, especially the increase in guests with higher spending power," said Joe Bašić, director of the Festival. He added that as a responsible organizer, he wants to create further and develop an environment beneficial to society and development for the city.

On behalf of the host city, the great event was supported by the Commissioner Mirna Veža:

"This is a serious event with great positive tourist and economic effects on our city. That is good and positive for our citizens and us. Our focus and imperative is safety during the event, with the cooperation of the organizers, our police department, and the police being crucial. I expect us to be in sync and up to the task to present ourselves as a city of culture, heritage, and entertainment, but also as an organized, safe, and serious city for our citizens and visitors."

State Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism Tonči Glavina said that the Government of the Republic of Croatia and the Ministry strongly support the project, which is recognized as a project of strategic importance. He cited data from a study conducted in 2018, which supports the festival's positive effects on GDP, especially on the promotion and marketing of Split, Dalmatia, and the whole of Croatia.

The leaders of the Split and Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Boards, Alijana Vukšić and Joško Stella, emphasized the immeasurable positive tourist and marketing effects of Ultra. Furthermore, the support and confirmation of the readiness of the services under the jurisdiction of the County were expressed by the Deputy Prefect of Split-Dalmatia Stipe Čogelj, while the director of the Public Institution Sports Facilities Gordon Cerjan said that preparations at the Park Mladeži are going according to plan. 

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 1 May 2022

2022 Ultra Europe to be Biggest Yet, Over 140,000 Festivalgoers Expected in Split

May 1, 2022 - The 2022 Ultra Europe music festival will be the biggest yet. Organizer Joe Bašić reveals what we can expect this summer in Split.

Ahead of the 8th Ultra Europe music festival, Slobodna Dalmacija spoke with Joe Bašić, the official organizer of the festival and owner of MPG Live, who revealed what awaits us for the festival's return.

After a two-year break, the festival returns to Split. How are ticket sales going?

"We are thrilled that the ULTRA Europe festival is back, after two years without festival organizations around the world due to the Covid pandemic. People are very excited and eager to re-experience everything that makes festivals special and get together and celebrate music and life. The return of our festival was perceived positively not only in Croatia but also in the world. We are delighted because this is the first major international event that will allow us to go back to when close meetings and mass gatherings were normal.

It is crucial that people feel people again. Still, we are also aware that Covid has not disappeared and will continue to be among us, so we will continue to monitor the situation closely and do everything necessary to make the festival safe for its visitors. Croatia is a safe country and one of the leading tourist destinations globally, and this is confirmed by the interest in our festival, which has never been greater. Based on current sales trends and numerous inquiries from our fans, we can expect the festival's eighth edition to be our biggest edition to date. Tickets have already traveled to over 90 countries around the world. According to our expectations, Split and other festival destinations will be visited by more than 140,000 people from July 7 to 14, which we can confirm with certainty - ULTRA Europe is back!"

You recently returned from Miami, where the Ultra Music Festival took place. What are your impressions, and can you compare the Croatian and American editions?

"ULTRA Miami is back, sensational! Given that this was the first international event to be canceled in March 2020 due to Covid, a lot was expected from the return to Bayfront Park in March. However, with more than 200,000 visitors, a massive lineup of performers, and crazy production, many claim that ULTRA Miami 2022 was the best-organized event ever.

It was the perfect message for the whole world that the time of great festivals is back and that it is possible to organize them safely. Therefore, I would say that millions of fans worldwide have regained their confidence that they can start planning to go to their favorite music festivals worldwide, including ULTRA Europe.

Memorable moments in Miami were undoubtedly the guest appearance of 50 Cent with Kygo and the unforgettable sets of Afrojack, Armin Van Buuren, Martin Garrix, and the return of Hardwell.

Comparing the Miami ULTRA Music Festival and our release, we can conclude that Miami is undoubtedly a larger event with more than ten stages, a massive list of performers, and a fantastic production in which significant funds have been invested. On the other hand, ULTRA Europe offers a smaller number of stages with high-quality production and a more intimate feeling, compensating for the difference in the size of the event with incredible fans from 100+ countries who create an exceptional level of energy and experience.

All the performers who come to us always agree that ULTRA Europe has fan energy and that the vibe of the whole event is unique and incomparable to any other event in the world. That is why our edition is visited by fans from so many different countries who come back for even more, and I think we are stronger and more unique than the American edition.

ULTRA Europe is currently the second-largest event in the large ULTRA family and is projected to become the largest in the years to come. Therefore, I am very excited about the future of ULTRA Europe and ULTRA Worldwide in the years to come."

You have also provided regional tickets for domestic visitors. How are sales going, and what is the interest of local visitors in relation to international guests?

"We recorded much better and greater interest in regional tickets than in previous years. We sold out the first contingent of three-day tickets at the lowest price in the festival's history, which amounted to 700 kuna, or less than 235 kuna per day. Croatians are very excited about the return of ULTRA and can't wait to re-experience the energy of a major international festival, especially considering the pandemic, earthquake, and everything that happened over two long and difficult years. We expect more than 30,000 visitors from Croatia during the seven days of the festival, which makes us especially happy."

What are the sales in overseas countries - the USA, Australia, Canada, and South America? And which countries are the most loyal when coming to Croatia?

"To date, we have sold tickets in more than 90 countries. We are delighted that our strongest countries before Covid are Great Britain, Ireland, Spain, France, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Germany, and still strong markets for our festival, with double-digit growth from the USA, France, Slovenia, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia. We expect even more international guests because we have increased the number of flights coming to Croatia, and there are more accommodation options in Split than in 2019."

Has the war in Ukraine thwarted plans?

"We have not noticed any changes in sales trends since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. On the contrary, sales have increased since March, following the Miami Festival and the announcement of Hardwell's arrival in Croatia, and lifted Covid measures."

How is the cooperation with the city going?

"We have always had the strong support of the City of Split, Split-Dalmatia County, and the Tourist Board. The ULTRA Europe Festival is of strategic importance to the Government of the Republic of Croatia, and the substantial economic benefits and global promotion of Split and Croatia generated by the festival are important reasons why the City of Split and all relevant state institutions have priority to support this event.

When we started our story ten years ago, we weren’t squandering the numbers of expected visitors, nor were we seeking the support of our partners promising miracles.

We believed in this project, and its potential, and we believed that it would be recognized by all state institutions based on facts and achieved results. But we believed equally that both Split and the Split people would recognize the opportunity and develop together with the festival.

Today, we can proudly point out that this is Croatia's largest international music event. We have more than 140,000 visitors from more than 140 countries during the seven days of the festival. We have generated immeasurable marketing results, and this is not the end.

We are proud to see that Split has become one of the most sought-after tourist destinations among the younger population and is recognizable worldwide for Hajduk, Diocletian's Palace, and the ULTRA Europe festival. We are sure that the festival will be one of the main postcards in the future."

The festival remains at Park Mladeži (Youth Park). How many stages will there be, and how many visitors do you expect per day?

"As announced in 2019, the Youth Park is the new home of the festival and a place that will enable further development and growth of this event.

The goal is to host more than 200,000 people in the coming years, and the Youth Park can follow this vision with its position and capacity. In 2022, we plan to have five stages with 200+ performers over three days and 13 stages over seven days. The Croatian edition lasts from July 7 to 14, in 5 cities and three islands.

This is a demanding production project, and we all still remember the impressive main stage. Will there be any news this year?

"We are focused on improving the overall fan experience at the entrances, in the toilets, and the offer of food and drinks. In addition, the production will feature the latest advances in technology, including a spectacular show never seen before in Croatia.

We tell all our fans that this year's edition should not be missed. We are all eagerly awaiting the day when we will finally open the doors, and I believe that will be one of the reasons why we will especially remember the eighth edition."

Who will be performing in Split?

"Above & Beyond, Adam Beyer, Afrojack, Alesso, Amelie Lens, Armin van Buuren, DJ Snake, Hardwell, Joseph Capriati, Marco Carola, Martin Garrix, Marshmello, Nicky Romero, Nina Kraviz, Oliver Heldens have confirmed their performance in Split so far. In addition, Richie Hawtin, Steve Aoki, Tiësto, Timmy Trumpet, and Vini Vici will be joined by ACRAZE, Airod, ANNA, Frank Walker, Ilario Alicante, Krewella, Sam Feldt, and SOFI TUKKER."

Who else could perform?

"We have not yet announced the third phase of the line-up, which has over 30 names, and which we plan to announce at the end of May."

Who is this year’s biggest star?

"People are very excited about the return of Hardwell, who has been known as the best DJ in the world for many years and who will perform in Europe for the first time since 2018 at our festival. ULTRA Europe is one of his favorite festivals, and he is preparing a special show with a lot of new music in Split.

In addition, fan favorites include Marshmello, Martin Garrix, Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren, Adam Beyer, and Ritchie Hawtin. This year’s line-up is one of the best, and we are sure the experience will be unforgettable."

After Split, the festival moves to the islands. Who are you bringing in this year?

"ULTRA Europe is the leading destination music festival and is the only festival in the world organized in 4 different cities, on three islands, and more than 13 stages.

The beautiful Adriatic Sea, ideal sunny weather, food, and people from Croatia, make our destination events on the islands of Brač, Hvar, and Vis special, and the performers are always excited to be part of this unique story. In addition, our VIP guests increasingly recognize what we offer over seven days. We can already confirm that we are receiving eight megayachts, with exclusive guests worldwide.

In 2022, we have a few surprises that will only confirm how special such events are in the world, and more details will be announced in July."

This will be the eighth edition of the ULTRA Europe festival. Can you single out some of your favorite moments?

"There are several! In 2013 I first saw a picture of flags from all over the world in front of the main stage and witnessed the energy and pride of Croatian fans because music fans from all over the world hosted in their country.

Then the moment when Marshmello performed Srce Vatreno, before the Croatia-England match in Russia. I will never forget when Martin Garrix performed the single Animals for the first time, nor the feeling when Armin Van Buuren released This Is What It Feels Like, in front of a crowded stadium and spectacular fireworks."

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Sunday, 27 March 2022

The Best Music Festivals in Croatia: There's Something for Everyone

27 March 2020 - Croatia is known to host some of the best music festivals in the world. From Electro-house to Jazz, beach parties to intimate settings, this alluring country boasts events to satisfy any music lover. Here are some of the music festivals in Croatia that you should know about.

With such a wide array of fantastic line-ups, picking one to attend can be difficult. Here are some of the best that Croatia has to offer.

Best “One-Stop-Shop”

If you could choose one festival to release all the pent-up party energy from the past couple of years, ULTRA Europe Music Festival is where you’d want to be this summer. This year’s event takes place from July 8 - 13, 2022 with tickets starting at €139.

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Dance the week away at ULTRA Europe. (Image: ULTRA Europe/Facebook screenshot)

The regular 3-day event held at the Youth Park (Park Mladeži) in Split features international headliners such as Tiësto, Afrojack, Armin van Buuren, and other renowned acts. But wait, there’s more! With Destination ULTRA, you’ll spend an additional 4 days hopping between the gorgeous Dalmatian islands of Brač, Hvar, and Vis.

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The ombre waters of Zlatni Rat. (Image: Pexels)

ULTRA Brač will take place on Zlatni Rat, named one of the world’s most beautiful beaches in 2020 by Harper's Bazaar. Kick off the next day on Pakleni islands, a cluster of pristine, lush islands off Hvar, followed by Resistance Hvar in the evening at Carpe Diem, an ultra-chic beach club. The week closes with a final hurrah at the old Fort George (Fortica) on Vis island, offering a stunning 360 view of the surroundings.

Best Alternative Rock and Indie

Named one of the most popular music festivals in the world alongside giants of the music world like Coachella, Isle of Wight, and Glastonbury, INmusic festival in Zagreb is the place to be for rock and alternative music lovers.

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The oasis in the heart of Zagreb will welcome music lovers once again this year. (Photo: Matija Habljak/PIXSELL)

From 20-23 June 2022, Zagreb’s beautiful Lake Jarun will be welcoming fans of world-class acts including The Killers, White Lies, Deftones, Kasabian and more. At €84, this 4-day music festival is also one of the most accessible on the list.

So don’t miss your chance to attend one of the most exciting events of 2022, and explore one of the most incredible cities in the world.

Best Beach Party

Zrće beach on Pag island, also known as “Croatian Ibiza”, will be hosting some of the largest and most indulgent beach parties between May to September every year. After all, 4 of the top 100 open-air clubs in the world are located along its pristine shores.

Kicking things off this year is the Big Beach Spring Break Festival from 26-29 May, Zrće beach welcomes revelers looking for sun-filled days, crystal clear seas, sandy toes, ice-cold drinks, and heart-thumping music from world-class acts.

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Zrće beach is known to host the most epic beach parties in Croatia. (Image: Zrce Beach/Facebook screenshot)

Unable to fit in a getaway that week? Not to worry, check out other spectacular festival lineups including Hideout Festival taking place from July 3-7, Wild and Free from 9-16 July, or Sonus Music Festival from 21-25 August that boasts a line-up of internationally renowned electro, house and techno DJs and artists.

Best R&B and Hip Hop

Looking to kill 2 birds with one stone? Want to party on the beach and groove to global R&B and hip-hop stars such as Sean Paul, Snoop Dog and Tim Westwood? Then the Fresh Island Festival on Zrće beach is where you’d want to be.

Now in its 10th year, the 3-day event will take place from 26-28 June, 2022. The line-up for this year will be announced soon but expect nothing less than top-notch artists and the freshest beats.

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Party at one of the outdoor beach clubs on Zrće beach. (Image: Zrće Beach/Facebook screenshot)

Alternatively, if you crave variety in the form of R&B, soul, disco with a side of electro-house, then look no further than SuncéBeat Festival. Started in 2010, SuncéBeat continues to be the go-to festival for a week of partying under the Dalmatian sun and stars.

Situated in Tisno, a picturesque town on the island of Murter, SuncéBeat will take place from 21-28 July 2022. Tickets start at €55 for a single-day pass and this year's headliners include The Blessed Madonna, Dave Lee ZR, Horse Meat Disco, Kenny Dope, Kerri Chandler, Dam Swindle and many more.

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This year marks the 10th edition of SuncéBeat. (Image: SuncéBeat/Facebook screenshot)

Best Drum & Bass, Dubstep and Grime

If you’re looking to combine the best of Drum and Bass, Dubstep and Grime Music, be sure to check out the Outlook Origins Festival in Tisno. The 2022 addition will be held in the Garden Tisno Resort, with its own private bay housing three stages to keep the party going over 3-days.

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Outlook after party. (Image: Outlook Festival/Facebook screenshot)

After parties will take place at one of Croatia’s best outdoor venues, Barbarellas Discotheque with 3-hour boat parties with some of the industry’s best also available for booking. Tickets start at approximately €170, and this year’s event will take place 28 July - 2 August.

Best Jazz

Although Croatia may be known for its week-long beach parties and festivals, Zagreb’s annual Jazz Festival provides a refreshing change of pace.

The Zagreb Jazz Festival has been running for over 15 years and often takes place closer to the end of the year. In 2021, a toned-down version of the event was held from 5-9 November where audiences were treated to a series of concerts over the week.

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For a more relaxed vibe, be sure to catch Zagreb's Jazz Festival. (Image: Jazzg/Facebook screenshot.)

Previous editions of the festival included Grammy-nominated artists such as Bassekou Kouyate &Ngoni Ba and award-winning musicians such as pianist Vijay Lyer, and trumpet legend Wadada Leo Smith.

While not exhaustive by any means, hopefully, this list will give you a better idea of the music festival scene in Croatia and perhaps give you a chance to incorporate one of these festivals into your next trip here. Or perhaps make one of these festivals a reason to visit.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Croatian Music Festivals in 2022: Return to Normal, Full Summer Run

January 26, 2022 – Following one cancelled year and a hesitant 2021, Croatian Music Festivals in 2022 look to return to normal operations. Even before the end of January 2022, two favourite events in Tisno, Dalmatia – Defected Croatia and Dekmantel Selectors – have this week sold out all tickets!

For a whole new generation of young dreamers and visitors, Croatia is on their annual wish list because of its music festivals. Set by pristine waters and beaches, in the guaranteed sunshine of a Dalmatian summer, photos of Croatia's music festivals have travelled across the world and brought international acclaim.

In 2020, all of these music festivals (except veteran domestic events at Martinska, Šibenik) were cancelled. Even in 2021, neither full confidence nor the full schedule had returned – Ultra Europe (Split) and Love International (Tisno) remained absent.

However, if early indications are anything to go by, trust in the summertime spectaculars seems to have completely returned for Croatian Music festivals in 2022. In fact, even before the end of January 2022, two favourite events in Tisno, Dalmatia – Defected Croatia and Dekmantel Selectors – have this week announced they've sold out.

News revealed exclusively to Total Croatia News informs that the rest of the summer music festivals held at The Garden Resort, Tisno are not far behind - almost all are within sight of completely selling out all tickets.

How the lineup looks for Croatian Music Festivals in 2022 and where to buy tickets

loveinternmain.jpgCroatian Music Festivals in 2022: Love International, Tisno

In every corner of the country, you can find Croatian Music festivals in 2022. Some of these might have traditional folk music and dance, others might offer favourite local rock and pop acts who mostly sing in Croatian.

But, for international visitors looking for Croatian Music Festivals in 2022, there are an identifiable number of festival locations and events. By and large, these are the events that young people travel to Croatia specifically to attend.

Ultra Europe in Split: 8 July 2022 – 10 July 2022

ultra.jpgCroatian Music Festivals in 2022: Ultra Europe in Split

A 3-day event in Split with the world's top EDM DJs, incredible stage design and production with a definite wow factor. DJs confirmed so far include Adam Beyer, Afrojack, Alesso, Armin van Buuren, Joseph Capriati, Martin Garrix, Nina Kraviz, Oliver Heldens, Richie Hawtin, Tiësto, Timmy Trumpet and Vini Vici.

This 8th Ultra Europe in Split will - for the first time - be followed by an extension of the party on several Croatian islands. The main festival takes place at Youth Park in Split from 8 July 2022 – 10 July 2022.

On 11 July 2022, Ultra Brač will visit Brač island's 585 Club. On 12 July 2022, there will be an afternoon beach party on the Pakleni islands, near Hvar island. Later that day, a nighttime event Resistance Hvar will take place at Carpe Diem Beach Club, Hvar island.

The Resistance Closing Party Vis is the last event and will take place on 13 July at the old Fort George (Fortica) on Vis island.

Tickets for Ultra Europe in Split can be purchased here. Up-to-date line-up details and entry requirements for Ultra Europe in Split can be seen here.

The Garden, Tisno 2022

defected2sd.jpgCroatian Music Festivals in 2022: Defected Croatia at The Garden Resort, Tisno

With the relatively recent addition of Defected Croatia, Outlook Origins and Dimensions to the 10+ year reputation of the Garden Resort roster, this festival site can now truly claim to be the epicentre of underground electronic dance music in Croatia.

Across its summer-long run, some of the world's best underground DJs visit this place, its beach and boat parties, plus the incredible open-air Barbarellas nightclub in nearby Pirovac. Each event lasts several days and is limited to between 5000 – 7000 people.

Up-to-date details of entry requirements for The Garden Resort, Tisno 2022 can be seen here. Here's the calendar of events for The Garden, Tisno in summer 2022...

Love International: 13 July 2022 – 19 July 2022

loveintern.jpgCroatian Music Festivals in 2022: Love International

With a renowned reputation as one of the most welcoming and easy-going of all Croatia's festivals, the adored Love International returns after two years in 2022. It has been much missed. House, disco, techno and Balearic music in the main will this year come from the likes of Ben UFO, Craig Richards, Eliza Rose, Shanti Celeste, Saoirse, Moxie, Horse Meat Disco, Antal, Hunee, Palms Trax and Midland.

Tickets for Love International 2022 can be purchased here. Up-to-date line-up details for Love International 2022 can be seen here.

Suncebeat: 21 July 2022 – 28 July 2022

suncebeat.jpgCroatian Music Festivals in 2022: Suncebeat in Tisno

The longest-running festival associated with The Garden resort, Suncebeat traces its love affair with Croatia back to Petrcane, near Zadar, over 12 years ago. Actually, Suncebeat's heritage is even older – it's a spin-off event of the UK's 30+-year-old Southport Weekender. It, therefore, draws a slightly older crowd of house, disco and soul music aficionados.

The first wave of artists released for this 13th Suncebeat includes The Blessed Madonna, Kerri Chandler, Kenny Dope, Dave Lee ZR, Dam Swindle, Miguel Migs, Mark Farina, Horse Meat Disco, Natasha Diggs, Mike Dunn, John Morales, DJ Spen, DJ Spinna, Sadar Bahar, Terry Hunter, Children Of Zeus (live), Lukas Setto (Live), Djeff, Dan Shake, Ash Lauryn, Hyenah, Marina Trench, Lakuti, Elkka, Rich Medina, Boo Williams, Mafalda and CinCity.

Tickets for Suncebeat 2022 can be purchased here. Up-to-date line-up details for Suncebeat 2022 can be seen here.

Outlook Origins: 28 July 2022 – 8 August 2022

outlook.jpgCroatian Music Festivals in 2022: Outlook Origins in Tisno

A scaled-down version of the original Outlook, which used to take place in Pula. The event earned a reputation as being one of the most significant annual events for UK bass music and its soundsystem culture – covering music styles like reggae, dub, grime, drum n' bass, garage, dubstep, jungle, hip hop and more.

Line-up to be announced.

Tickets for Outlook Origins 2022 can be purchased here. Up-to-date line-up details for Outlook Origins 2022 can be seen here.

Defected Croatia: 4 August 2022 – 9 August 2022

defected.jpgCroatian Music Festivals in 2022: Defected Croatia

Days and nights filled with sunshine, smiles and house music from one of the most successful independent house music record labels in the world. The 2022 line-up includes Moodymann, Carl Craig, Danny Tenaglia, Bob Sinclar, Honey Dijon, Jayda G, KiNK, A-Trak, Boys Noize, Heller & Farley, Kenny Dope, Mark Farina and Spen

International tickets for Defected Croatia 2022 have sold out. The last few remaining domestic (ex-Yu) tickets for Defected Croatia 2022 can be purchased here. Up-to-date line-up details for Defected Croatia 2022 can be seen here.

Dekmantel Selectors: 25 August 2022 – 30 August 2022

dekmantel.jpgCroatian Music Festivals in 2022: Dekmantel Selectors

A deliberately intimate and scaled-down sister event to the mammoth underground European festival Dekmantel. With a line-up that you could well describe as the DJs' DJs of choice, this year the underground selections come from the likes of Hunee, Daniele Baldelli, Kode9, Shanti Celeste, John Talabot, FAUZIA, Eris Drew, Identified Patient, Vladimir Ivkovic & Young Marco, Carista.

International tickets for Dekmantel Selectors 2022 have sold out. Up-to-date line-up details for Dekmantel Selectors 2022 can be seen here.

Dimensions: 1 September 2022 – 5 September 2022

dimensions.jpgCroatian Music Festivals in 2022: Dimensions

Techno, electro, drum n' bass, house, hip hop, reggae and bass music on this 10th anniversary year come from the likes of Helena Hauff b2b DJ Stingray 313, Raresh, Blawan, Mala, Caliber, DVS1, Marcellus Pittmann, Tama Sumo, Peach, Saoirse, Laurine, Francesco Del Garda, Soichi Terada, Sherelle, Eris Drew & Octa Octa, Sonja Moonear, D. Tiffany & Rosa Terenzi, Gene On Earth b2b The Ghost, DJ Storm, Batu.

Tickets for Dimensions 2022 can be purchased here. Up-to-date line-up details for Dimensions 2022 can be seen here.

Šibenik Music Festivals 2022 – Martinska, Seasplash and Project Vojarna

martinska.jpgMartinska

Located on a perfectly secluded seaside peninsula, just outside the city of Šibenik, the Martinska venue hosts a summer-long run of intimate music festivals within fantastic natural surroundings. Events range from punk music and live concerts to more modern electronic styles. Most famous internationally is the reggae and dub event Seasplash Festival which celebrates its 20th birthday between July 14th - 17th 2022.

vojarna.jpgProject Vojarna

Just over half a decade old, Project Vojarna is a dance music event born from the collaboration of Šibenik electronic music enthusiasts. In its current standing, the main event is a 10-hour open-air rave held at a former military barracks just outside Šibenik. Each year the event grows in fame and stature. This year's event will take place on 23 July.

Up-to-date line-up details, links for tickets and entry requirements for all events at Martinska, Šibenik can be seen here.

Up-to-date line-up details, links for tickets and entry requirements for Project Vojarna, Šibenik events can be seen here.

InMusic Festival Zagreb: 20 June 2022 – 23 June 2022

inmusic.jpgInMusic Festival, Zagreb

The largest and most prestigious event for rock music and alternative in Croatia, InMusic has certainly put the country – and Zagreb – firmly on the international rock festival map. Taking place around Zagreb's Lake Jarun, the festival site welcomes campers from all over Europe for its four-day run.

2022's incredible line-up includes The Killers, Kasabian, Deftones, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Royal Blood, White Lies, Gogol Bordello, IDLES, Amadou & Mariam, Sleaford Mods, Fontaines D.C. Hinds, The Comet Is Coming, Dry Cleaning, Tamikrest and Nick Mason.

Tickets for InMusic Zagreb 2022 can be purchased here. Up-to-date line-up details and entry requirements for InMusic Zagreb 2022 can be seen here.

Solardo Presents Higher Dubrovnik

After two years of unforgettable sell out shows in Dubrovnik, mighty Manchester duo Solardo aim for a hat trick in 2022. In conjunction with Pollen Presents, Solardo announce their largest festival to date from September 23-27th: The pair curate their biggest ever line up with international tastemakers, showcasing some of the world's top house and techno talent, a testament to the Manchester duo’s musical depth. The first wave of names include Marco Carola, FJAAK, Nicole Moudaber, Mall Grab, Maya Jane Coles, Vintage Culture, Nic Fanciulli, Lee Foss and many more. After multiple sell out shows at WHP, Circus Liverpool & London, Higher is now set to grow into a multi venue event across this historic city

Lineup: Solardo, Marco Carola, Mall Grab, FJAAK, Nicole Moudaber, Maya Jane Coles, Vintage Culture, Nic Fanciulli, Lee Foss + more

Tickets: https://pollen.co/x/solardo-dubrovnik-2022-1

Date: 23rd - 27th September

Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia

BSH Island

BSH Island is one of the jewels in the Croatian festival crown and has been leading the way in the local scene in recent years. Its first edition in 2020 brought something new to the region, and the follow up in 2021 made a mark on the international stage and now it returns to Island of Pag for the bigger than ever third edition. This follows two much talked about festivals on Zrce Beach - BSH Island, which included a legendary party in the breathtaking 17th century Fortress overlooking the sea hosted by Amnesia Ibiza, and the epic Amnesia takeover Croatia festival. It was a truly unique experience that offered something completely fresh away from the clubs on Zrce beach, and when you add in the fact that accommodation came in the form of a beautiful yacht docked at Noa Beach Club, it's no wonder BSH Island has made such a special impact. 

Lineup: Archie Hamilton, Ben Sterling, Blackchild, Dennis Cruz, Paco Osuna, wAFF + more

Tickets: https://www.noa-zrce.com/en/events/bsh-island-2022

Date: 29th June - 3rd July

Location: Noa Beach Club, Zrce Beach, Croatia

Zrće beach on Pag island

zrce.jpgCroatian Music Festivals in 2022: Hideout Festival, Zrce beach, Pag island

The summer-long run of parties on Zrće beach on Pag island continued last year. Although, in 2022 you should expect a return to pre-pandemic levels of attendance and hedonism. Along with that, the bigger named DJs will likely be returning in force during 2022.

hideout.jpgCroatian Music Festivals in 2022: Hideout Festival

Taking place from Sunday 3rd July - Thursday 7th July, Hideout Festival 2022 is representative of this return to form. DJs like Andy C, Jamie Jones, Eats Everything, Camelphat, Jayda G, Hot Since 82, Sam Divine, Solardo, Shy FX, Richy Ahmed, Sonny Fodera, Skream, Gorgon City, Mike Skinner, Paul Woolford, John Summit, Alan Fitzpatrick, Darius Syrossian, DJ Seinfeld, Maya Jane Coles, Denis Sulta and Chelina Manuhutu will play house, techno, drum n' bass and UK bass music sounds to a crowd of 13, 000+

The sixth edition of Sonus Festival (here) takes place at Zrce between 20 August and 26 August 2022 with DJs like Adriatique, Âme, Amelie Lens, Andrea Oliva, Ben Klock, Chris Liebing, Dax J, Dixon, Hot Since 82, I Hate Models, Jamie Jones, Joseph Capriati, KiNK [live], Loco Dice, Maceo Plex, Monika Kruse, Pan-Pot, Patrick Topping, Ricardo Villa, lobos B2B Zip, Richie Hawtin, Richy Ahmed, Rødhåd, Seth Troxler, Sonja Moonear, Stephan Bodzin [live], Sven Väth, Black Coffee, Carl Cox, Denis Sulta, Desiree

Information about events in the summer season on Zrće beach, Pag island can be seen here.

Tickets for Hideout Festival, Zrće beach, Pag island can be bought here

Monday, 22 November 2021

2022 Ultra Europe Confirmed in Split from July 8 to 10!

November 22, 2021 - 2022 Ultra Europe will take place in Split for the first time since 2019 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The confirmed dates are set for Park Mladezi from July 8 to 10, 2022!

The organizers of the Ultra Europe festival can officially confirm that the largest, most anticipated, and most important international event in Croatia is returning to Split! Electronic music lovers could sense something on Friday, when a short video teaser was published on social media, announcing without many words what the Ultranauts have been waiting for - that Ultra will once again return to the most beautiful summer stage in the heart of Dalmatia.

Split will host the 8th edition of Ultra Europe from July 8 to 10, 2022, at the Youth Park (Park Mladezi), followed by a destination festival trip to Brac, Hvar, and Vis reports Dalmatinski Portal.

The Ultra Europe music festival is part of a large Ultra Worldwide family that, after a long break, is returning stronger than ever. New Year's Resistance in Sydney sold out in just a few days and final preparations are underway for the Ultra Music Festival in Melbourne. The festival is returning to the location where it all began, to Bayfront Park in Miami, from March 25 to 27. This news marked the reawakening of the international electronic music scene.

As the second-biggest event of this great festival family, Ultra Europe continues where it left off - continuing to set new records, bringing even bigger music stars to Croatia, discovering magical local sites, and creating unforgettable experiences for many foreign guests. Equally, it continues to generate immeasurable marketing and economic effects and continues to boldly step towards conquering the very top of the international festival scene. The 8th edition will be held with the support of the Croatian Government, Split-Dalmatia County, the City of Split, and the Croatian National Tourist Board, and special attention will be paid to implementing and respecting all measures related to Covid-19 to make the whole event and all destinations safe for visitors, the organization said.

The Ultra Europe festival has been recognized worldwide for years as the leading destination music festival. This is the only festival in the world that offers an unforgettable seven-day trip to numerous magical locations in Croatia in addition to top music performers and production. With more than 9 million visitors, Croatia has been named the most successful and safest European tourist destination in 2021, which is just further confirmation that Split, Dalmatia, and Croatia will be not only ready and safe for the summer of 2022 but also at the top of the most desirable tourist destination for tourists from all over the world.

The 8th edition of the festival officially begins on Thursday, July 7, when the Opening Party is scheduled, followed by the three-day Ultra Music Festival at Youth Park in Split, from July 8 to 10. Ultra Brac traditionally follows in one of the most beautiful open clubs in the Mediterranean, 585 Club. Finally, on July 12, festival-goers travel to the sunniest Croatian island, where visitors can expect a slightly different experience and a refreshed program concept. Namely, the afternoon beach party is moving to the Pakleni Islands, where, in addition to the Ultra Beach program, the evening program Resistance Hvar will be held at the Carpe Diem Beach Club. Resistance Closing Party Vis is the last destination station. It will take place on July 13, in the intimate and exclusive atmosphere of the 200-year-old Fort George Fortress on Vis, better known as Fortica. More will be known in the coming days.

What makes Ultra so unique and a 'bucket list' festival for fans worldwide can be seen in the figures recorded after the 7th edition of the festival. More than 150,000 fans arrived in Croatia from a record 143 countries, most from Spain, Great Britain, Norway, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Austria, the USA, Canada, and the Netherlands. There were more domestic fans than ever, over 35,000 of them, and the millionth visitor was recorded, making this festival by far the largest international event in Croatia.

For everything to work perfectly, more than 2,000 people participated in the organization. More than 250 DJs played on 12 stages in 5 cities. All this was carefully followed by more than 300 accredited domestic and foreign journalists. Youth Park shone with new splendor and powerfully presented itself to the world as the new host of the festival. It is important to note that the 7th edition will be remembered for the smallest number of interventions of all services in history.

The list of performers was impressive, including the mega trio Swedish House Mafia, who added Ultra Europe and Split among their first reunion shows. This was the most extensive and most expensive lineup ever. Among the many records was the 67.50-meter main stage, which went down in history as one of the longest stages in Europe and never seen before in our region. The equipment arrived in 50 trucks, including more than 1,800 light devices and more than 1,200 square meters of LED screens.

 

The Ultra Europe Aftermovie is another trademark of the festival, and so far more than 13 million people have seen them. Charly Friedrichs and Diogo Camargo and the Final Kid Films crew direct and edit the nine-minute work, which shows Zagreb for the first time, as well as numerous other fairy-tale Croatian locations. All shots were taken with RED digital film cameras and state-of-the-art equipment, and to make the visual experience complete, everything was shot in 4K resolution. More than 3 million kuna was invested in the production to remind festival-goers of the best moments. The live stream from Split was watched on YouTube and Facebook in more than 124 countries with more than 7 million views. This is another record of the year that will be remembered thanks to the live stream that could be watched for the first time on separate channels from Resistance and the main stage.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

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.

Saturday, 26 June 2021

It's Official: Ultra Europe 2021 is Canceled!

June 26, 2021 - Ultra Europe 2021 has officially been canceled, the organizers announced on Facebook on Saturday.

Ultra Europe, one of the world's largest electronic music festivals, will not be held this year either, the organizers finally confirmed.

The popular festival was supposed to take place from July 9 to 11 at the Youth Park (Park Mladeži) in Split, but Ultra fans will be denied the summer spectacle in Split this year as well.

The new date of Ultra is July 8-10, 2022.

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Ultra Europe has been held in Split for the last eight years, bringing more than 40,000 daily visitors and a total of 120,000 from 143 countries to the Dalmatian capital for three days of electronic music. The 2019 edition was the first held at Park Mladeži in Split, while the festival was held at Poljud Stadium in the years before. 

Record figures, and the millionth visitor at the new location, marked the seventh year of Ultra in Split in 2019. The 8th edition was meant to take place at Park Mladeži from July 10-12, 2020, but was also canceled last year. 

"It is with a heavy heart that, due to the ongoing pandemic stemming from COVID-19, the 8th edition of Ultra Europe originally scheduled for 10-12 July 2020 at Park Mladeẑi is being rescheduled to 9-11 July 2021.

The current health crisis is an unprecedented situation, and there is no higher priority for us than the health, safety and well-being of all our fans, as well as all those involved with the production of the event.

Tickets will remain valid and will be honored for use at the rescheduled festival. Alternatively, if you are unable to attend, you have the option to seek a refund. All purchasers will be contacted via email with more information on how to make their choice.

As we continue to monitor the ongoing health crisis together with authorities, we encourage our fans to stay home, wash their hands, practice social distancing and be good to one another. We look forward to reuniting next year in beautiful Croatia for Ultra Europe 2021!" the organizers wrote last May. 

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