For the very first time prime UK label Defected decided to organize a festival in Croatia, simply named Defected Croatia, which toook place in the wonderful area of THE GARDEN TISNO, in Tisno from August 11th to August 15th. Before Uk brands like Suncebeat came to the dreamy bay a few years ago, Tisno used to be a small fishing village with only little tourism at all. Now the area is home to quite some festivals during the summer season and Defected did hit some right buttons to use the bay as well simply because of the many positive and unique facilities the event area offers. There’s no need to build stages as they are all there, there’s a solid accomodation for artists and employees and there of course is that wonderful aura the region spreads with its sublime sea and habitants.
In general four areas have been recorded: Main Stage, Beach Stage, various Boat Parties and prime club Barbarella’s. The lineup included basically the who is who of the Defected artist roster represented by all its labels like Defected, Soul Heaven, Strictly Rhythm or DFTD.
Headlined by Dennis Ferrer, who has a new artist album out on Defected soon, Roger Sanchez, Basement Jaxx, Kenny Dope or Riva Starr the Main Stage was all about peaktime underground House and Deep/Tech House Music. Powered by great audio and light animation, that stage probably was the one for the masses hitting everyone’s taste in a way.
On the Beach stage some magic moments on the floor took place, when Sonny Fodera played a driving set filled with plenty of Defected’s own records on Sunday or the great Spen & Karizma showed their huge technical skills and music taste in their outstanding set on Friday night.
Other memorable sets on the Beach stage included Tommy Bones, Atjazz & Fred Everything, Joseki, Purple Disco Machine, Josh Butler or Lee Walker.
One of the big assets oft he Croatian festivals are of course the diverse boat parties which have been a highlight of Defected Croatia throughout, starting with a huge Kittball label showcase with Tube & Berger and Riva Starr followed by one of the standout performances oft he whole festival, when Defected founder and A&R Director Simon Dunmore and legendary US Disco don John Morales dug out the greatest music of the last four decades to create a continuous hands in the air atmosphere. The boat party offering was rounded off by another highlight, the Classic Music ride courtesy of Luke Solomon, Honey Dijon and Freerange label head Jimpster.
20 minutes bus drive away from the festival area, the huge Barbarella’s Club is located-which has been the setting of the night sets of Defected Croatia. For those of you who haven’t been at this magic place yet, it is surely one of the best open air clubs of Europe. Dancing under the stars to some great tunes is obviousely something special, superb sets from Sam Divine, Sandy Rivera, Eli Escobar, Nick Curly or Guti (who did a live performance) underlined the aim of Defected to leave a serious stamp in Croatia.
Speaking of the host country, it is important to mention the huge international music talent Croatia has: acts like Peznt, Blacksoul or Tom Bug all hail from this beautiful country and played a very important part at Defected Croatia. Not only because of their outstanding performances and sets, but also to lead the way as ambassadors for local people to bring the music to local people who are possible attenders in the future.
All in all the Defected team (also big ups to team members Andy Daniell and Wez Saunders who as well delivered some promising DJ sets) has done a very good job to create a new festival in Croatia that fuses all forms and formats of House, from Soulful to bangin Tech.
There are certainly things to improve with marketing (branding of the different stages and label performances, too high prices for food and drinks inside the festival area especially for locals) but in general this first attempt has been a promising one for one of the most consistant record labels on this planet.