This year, Dimensions opened the doors to the 19th century playground that is Fort Punta Christo for the fourth time.
At this point, the festival seems matured; after a series of tried and tested programmes as well as a few seriously unfortunate weather incidences, the well-loved event is ironing out the creases and finding its stride. By now, Dimensions know just what works for their crowd within the strikingly unique structure that they call home, as they continue to invite their now regular cast of acts to perform to an increasingly loyal clientele.
Music at this year’s opening concert in Pula’s 2000-year-old amphitheatre was delivered by Dimensions regulars Four Tet, Little Dragon and Floating Points, all performing live. The exquisite Floating Points ensemble treated the audience to a smattering of unreleased material, presumably from his forthcoming debut album, while Little Dragon gave a more conventional performance, igniting the party atmosphere. Closing the show was the ever magical Kieran Hebden, who’s set began with soft bursts of ambient that steadily escalated into a colourful explosion of some of Hebden’s best dancefloor-focused tracks, performed live effortlessly and with precision.
This year the stand out sets carried an element of theatrics, from the sweat-soaked funk of headliners George Clinton & The Parliament Funkadelic to Paranoid London’s jerking wigged out acid and the collective force of Underground Resistance’s Timeline show. Although his tribute to J Dilla was cancelled, Moodymann, as usual, brought his bag of absolute heat and microphone antics for his own set later on in the week. Other highlight acts have to include Telephones’ Balearic-tinged set, Gerd Janson, Objekt and a showcase from one of the brightest labels in dance music at the moment Giegling, a foursome of Dustin, Konstantin & two live shows from Vril & Edward. As usual, the line-up was packed with those selectors who make each record seem like their own, with set clashes between the likes of Hunee and Antal’s clash with Sadar Bahar leaving many scratching their heads on what to do.
The boat parties provide another jewel to the crown of Dimensions. The NTS party featured an all star line up of residents like Kutmah, Moxie, Shamos and the power coupling of Jon Rust and Charlie Bones. The whole thing was such an ecstatic affair that a conga broke out, taking nearly everyone by surprise. A big mention had to also be made to the Audio Asylum and Abandon Silence boat party with Motor City Drum Ensemble and Jeremy Underground – while boat parties usually produce the most unabashed bangers of the event, Motor City Drum Ensemble’s heady disco and classy house produced an electricity like no other boat party I’ve ever experienced. Meanwhile, Lex Record’s Badbadnotgood and My Love Is Underground head honcho Jeremy Underground also provided some impeccable moments on the often-overlooked beach stage.
Much of Dimensions Festival is starting to feel routine, which is hardly a surprise considering it is now entering its fifth year. But with Dimensions it’s the minor changes that make for big improvements. The festival has slowly and consistently expanded its programme of live music, while housing the maximalist tendencies of the artists in question with increasing ease. The festival also remains intimate, with the flow between stages seeming to have improved this year too, while the returning cast of artists and the firm festival favourites – the moat, the opening concert, the boat parties – run as smoothly as ever. We’re not sure what can be improved on next year, but we’re looking forward to finding out.