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Futureboogie on the Adriatic Shuffle

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Dave Harvey is a gamechanger. Shy of press and conservative of his own abilities he may be but his agency, management and label outfit Futureboogie deals with some of the biggest names in the game, including Eats Everything, PBR Streetgang, Bonobo and Waifs & Strays. Late Jan saw him out in Brazil involved in putting on free parties in Rio, March this year will see him take the sound to the slopes via Alpfresco Festival. However, perhaps Futureboogie’s most impressive legacy lies not in South America or the Alps but in the Adriatic, where since 2006 almost every festival, stage, afterparty and villa in Croatia has been graced with Futureboogie’s eclectic artists. DTcatches up with Dave on all things Dalmatia. 

To begin at the beginning – how was Futureboogie born?

Myself and business partner Steve had been running nights up in Leicester in the late 90s when we got an offer to run parties at a great venue called Level in Bristol. We began running a regular night, Seen. We had a real diverse range of bookings but we did find that it often went down the Gilles Peterson end of the spectrum, but was as broad as Carl Craig and also we were one of the first people to book Dixon outside Germany. From there, it grew organically. Some artists were friends of our own current favorites, we both looked after the events whilst Steve began running the operation as an agency, and overtime it just evolved to what it is now.

How did your involvement with Croatia start?

We were part of the original crew of artists to head out to this new quasi-secret party called Garden, back in 2006. I think like a lot of people flying out to Zagreb to make the epic 6 hour bus journey down the coast – before flights to Zadar, Pula and Split became available – we had no idea what to expect. A festival in Croatia? Not even a festival, a few hundred promoters and friends on a beach. But, we got out there and that first year was amazing. There was a lot that wasn’t perfect but something, something just fired us up. The way the crowd and the artists all gelled, the style of music, the whole deserted beach & boat party thing making it feel like a sort of pre-commercialised Ibiza, we all went home in agreement that it should be a regular thing. Sure enough, we kept in touch with Nick and the promoters, and we came back again, and again, and we watched the festival just get busier and busier, Most impressively, the promoters ethos stayed the same. There was this driving theme of keeping it as a laid back, beach-holiday kind of event above all else. We massively bought into that. Some time around the 4th year – around the time that Outlook was kicking off and Garden was graduating up to Tisno, the owner Nick explained that owing to his hand being full with the logistics side of things he was up for us taking a more an active role in the bookings and line-up creation process. So over time, that led to Futureboogie more or less running that element of the festival.

What’s it like being at the helm of a festival line-up then?

Garden is fantastic. Budget wise, it should be a total nightmare, in fact at times it is. It’s a relatively small festival, just 2500 people, and they’re reasonably priced too. So we don’t necessarily have a lot of budget to play with – not compared to a lot of the bigger festivals now setting up camp out here. Generally we are very fortunate though – pretty much everyone who comes and plays loves it and wants to come back, it builds a word of mouth buzz about it and most of the time agents “get it”. It’s one of the best booking jobs in the world as you get to book great djs not just people who are gonna put bums on seats – half the people who play these days are friends and it grows organically every year – one of the main problems is fitting everyone in – we’d always like to include more but there just isn’t the space!

Festivals are no longer the remit of summer. Futureboogie are a case in point – you’re off to Alpfresco in March – you’ve been involved in the More Love free party in Brazil in January – in the years this has developed, have you had to adjust your marketing and promotion for this?

I don’t think so no – we tend to just with what comes along  – and yes you’re right, it does seem to be growing and developing but it’s mainly an organic thing as opposed to some strategy led thing – all these events are being run by friends who are getting us involved – Zeina – who we work with on Love Saves The Day has just done the More Love party in Rio and the Alfresco guys from Bristol are behind Alpfresco so it really is just mates doing things and us getting involved!

Let’s go back to Croatia. It’s never been quite explained why it of all places has taken off the way it has – and you guys, with Garden, have been there since the beginning. What do you think it is about the place that caused this transformation? 

Ultimately I think Garden was the very start of all of it – without it who knows if anyone would have ever thought about doing anything out there in this way – just circumstance and all the pieces fitting into place – which has in turn kicked off all the other events that now exist over there. I think Croatia as a country was also obviously accepting and up for this influx of events as well. It’s a beautiful country, relatively cheap and really easy to get to from the UK so I think everything combined just really works!

There’s been a few new developments in Croatia: German and Italian-run festivals, the emergence of some big EDM style stuff in the shape of Ultra Europe, how do you think the future will look here?

To be honest I think it will continue to grow and expand – there will always be the more niche events like Garden, Elephant etc then  you will get the slightly bigger ones , still specialised but drawing a bigger more diverse crowd and then the huge events which appeal to their own audience. There’s room for all of them as ultimately they all appeal to different crowds – as long as we keep booking interesting line ups I’d like to think we’ll be able to continue in our little pocket, our crowd seems to be developing year on year and there really is just something really special about Garden that isn’t going anywhere soon…

The Garden Festival is on the 2-9th July in Tisno, CroatiaBoutique accommodation, luxury Shikar tents from India and apartments and villas are both on The Garden Tisno site and spread around the locality, along with many fine restaurants and bars.Head to www.thegardenfestival.eu for more information and tickets

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