Echo Festival, Croatia
The details are shady as to who or what caused an army of police to descend on this seriously-clean-cut feeling party but whether it was a money grabbing manoeuvre, or potentially because there hadn’t been money moved to the right people previous to the festival, the police arrived at the end of night two and arrested approximately 1 in 10 festival goers for drug use or possession.
56 Arrests. That’s about as many as there are a month in Afghanistan, and presumably about 80 years in Switzerland. The ramifications for this were twofold. 56 people had to get to neighbouring town Umag, to then be sent to a nearby village court and fined between 60-100 GBP. The second – curious consequence was a sudden insistence on there being no alcohol allowed to be brought into the site apart from drinks bought at the onsite bars. Whether it was the authorities, or thin-on-the-ground festival owners that initiated this is unclear, however, whilst this is standard practice for most festivals, for Echo – the resort-festival – it had a considerable impact; numbers at stages dead until near midnight, and a notably quieter crowd. Another shout should be once again given for the likes of Fred P, Magda and Lenzman for managing to pull the crowd back up to ideal heat once more on the third night.
An unusual experiment produced unusual results. Promoters Nick, Marcus and Lauren’s vision is an instant sell: fantastic resort – build a tight community on site a la Snowbombing and the ski festivals. So much about this festival was right: the beach stage with flip-flops splashing in the sea as DJs play well into the morning, the field stage with mellow crowds all interacting in a beautifully lit main ground. Even the last night: which experienced an epic thunderstorm, had cheerful goers camped under hastily erected umbrellas – huge lightning flashes illuminating Slovenia just across the water. The power died, the crowd laughed and a string of unofficial ipod-dock powered apartment afterparties took place. That event in itself summed up the whole festival, drama and inconsistency illuminated throughout, but the crowds unanimous response was to laugh it off, head to Stevo’s for that last bottle of Jager, then shoot down the beach for sunrise.
This festival site has everything going for it. Further, if the core crowd can be retained, then next year will be sure to be a fantastic party. However, Echo needs to more than a holiday with music. Promoters: You’ve got a lot right here: but don’t do this alone. Speak to artist management, to labels and to the police – a great festival is in the making.