Dimensions Festival, Fort Punta Christo, Pula – Croatia
Saturday night was the night when everyone lost their rationale. It was the last night to go mad as Sunday night, no matter the self-inflicted state you’d left yourself in, was gonna be strenuous either way. Thomas Martojo set The Courtyard to the perfect level of 90s grooving. I saw the weirdest shapes being made with everything from pony-tailed girls in exercise gear, each needing a 5-foot radius to spin themselves round like a horrible 90s music video, to big fish little fish, cardboard box making an appearance. Squeezing through the queue into The Ballroom for Robert Cary, we fell into a vibe of pumping classic house and pitch topping female vocals. Locked Groove followed up, playing a techno set much heavier than expected from his latest releases such as his ‘Heritage EP’. Pariah closed off The Clearing with a heart throbbing, stomach churning set, both deep and heavy enough for the Northern Soul of Manchester.
For me, the last night was about three acts: Lawrence, 3 Chairs (Rick Wilhite, Marcellus Pittman, Moodymann, & Theo Parrish), and Pantha Du Prince. Maybe it was because the masses were all too rough and preparing for their final entry into the fort or perhaps the 8.5-hour set from 3 Chairs was just too good to miss… but Fort Arena 1 was dead as dead can be for Lawrence, one of the main men behind Dial Records. That was a real shame, because his set was one of the most pleasurable sets I’d had the chance of hearing the whole of the festival. He was up there in his button-up shirt and bottle of red, purely enjoying the opportunity. Humble, he came down into the crowd a few times just to stand in the middle and do a sound check. Self-pleasing basslines would roll along as bottom lips were bitten, eyes shut, and heads swayed from side to side. Glassy notes danced overhead as piano keys performed their routine beneath. It was a crescendo of volume and bass.
Pantha Du Prince played ‘live’ at The Clearing, beginning with walls of bass that acted as audio illusions with impending greatness. Full of chimes and deep claps, you just wanted to shut your eyes and get sucked in to the noise. The three-dimensional sound built itself up into a massive force of feel, provoking mention of Reload’s kickdrum and Aphex Twin’s ghost. 3 Chairs educated the masses Outside the Fort, a venue most like any festival venue we’d be used to back in England. Even more so, on this night we felt the first drops of Croatian rain, a welcome sensation. Marcellus Pittman brought an acid feel to the mix, with sputtering, ketty motorcycle engines and chugging bass. Special thanks goes out to Moodymann for dropping Kraak & Smaak’s ‘Built For Love’ featuing the late, great Romantony.
I’ve got plenty of things that I wish I’d done while at Dimensions. I wish I’d spent more time at the Beach Party. I’ll admit, the days were about recovery and relaxation. Even as banging artists ranging from Romare and Mark E stole the crowd, more sets from the likes of Mr. Scruff and Floating Points might have matched the calm rhythm of the sea. And it would’ve been easier if I’d camped. You know, just roll out of the tent and crawl down to sea for some immediate pain relief. It wouldn’t been right to go on more boat parties – Made up for missing a certain boat which will remain nameless though. Apparently that ship let an incontinent man aboard… Ain’t nobody got time for that. I wish I’d seen more live acts or that more were just available. In addition, perhaps next year the fort could be utilised more in the daytime (e.g. workshops). It’s too monumental of a space to only be experienced in darkness. There weren’t many complaints going around, save for the severe lack of female representation among the line-up in addition to the ‘thousand-mile stares’ off the security guards, who sometimes exhibited a considerable lack of professionalism. But all in all, the festival blew me away, providing the perfect setting for a real education and appreciation in and for house and techno. No lonely night spent in Stansted Airport with only a £15 neck pillow named ‘Mr. Bump’, no 3-hour journey from Ljubljana or 5 to Treviso, no stopped credit cards or depleted phone credit could stop me from having such a perfect adventure. Until next year Hrvatska…
Photography: Benjamin Eagle Photography/ Zoe Lower