Love System Festival Croatia
Croatia. 2013 and it feels like this place sits firmly in the back of all promoters minds, wedged firmly between agency fees and that door girl’s newly single status. And like the latter’s living room, this is new territory – not just for festival land – grab but for festival dynamic too. Petrcane , a small Croatian fishing town has been the unassuming but muscular launchpad for both the iconic Garden festival and the Yugo-& Boat Party Banger template Outlook over the last half decade. Fitting then that it should be the petite arena for a new angle on conventional festivals.
Love System Festival is the brainchild of promoter Danny Raper, whose brands 2020 and Kumasi music have asserted considerable influence in the UK for some time. Putting flip flops into new territory with his debut festival, Love System has placed renewed emphasis on a party-run line up, in place of a sharply tiered hierarchy of labels and international franchises the soul of Love System is built from a selection of smaller UK parties, with an egalitarian view on set times and stage allocation – which would have a subtle but powerful resonance on the festival.
Admitting himself that Danny often prefers building or modifying a venue from scratch rather than rolling with the status quo, Love System’s actual location within Petrcane is brand new. Set deep in Croatian forest, a collection of pop up beach bars and hammock strewn chill out areas frame stage 2 – a small but well shaped affair set into the side of the hill. The main stage was a flagship in every sense – wide wooden decking jutting right out into the Adriatic Sea, a DJ booth on one end, a lighting rig backed by the sea along a railing looking out over sundown. The result was an initial impression that ended up permeating the entire event- it felt both at once first-ever-event new, yet 90s-retro photo-forest-rave old as well. Instagram would approve.
The Line – Up
Love System packed a punch here – with a string of DJs that read like a whose who in the 2013 forum charts. Shonky, Finnebassen, Tom Demac, Midland & Ben Pearce rounded off a predominantly house line up, and the grass roots party nature of the festival was such that communication DJ to DJ and set to set was seamless, with many of the DJs even hopping in for impromptu back to back sets adding a novel dynamic.