Fort Punta Christo, Pula, Croatia
28 August - 1 September
Signing off, after eight unforgettable years on the paradisal Istrian peninsula, Dimensions called upon old heads and newcomers to gather for one last dance at Fort Punta Christo.
There are three things that a Dimensions crowd will go wild for: breakbeats, vocal interludes and any DJ who isn’t afraid to test their dancefloor stamina. While sister festival Outlook is known for its bass-heavy billers, Dimensions rallies together a swarm of acts that relish in the freedom realised by a style of open format DJing that recounts the past, present and future of dance music.
From midday to 9pm attendees laze beachside in the sweltering heat, dipping their toes while grooving to more palatable house and disco sets from Hunee and Mr Scruff. Come sundown the Ibiza-styled hordes set off in search of aloe vera gel and mosquito repellent, journeying into the labyrinth of stages housed by the 19th-century fortress.
On Thursday night Leeds promoters Love Muscle takes over the iridescent Garden Stage, during which the pit of loyal Motherbeat dancers crown Eris Drew the queen of breaks. Throwing down an all-vinyl set, Drew scratches with fast and fun 90s Chicago house hits, paying homage to the golden era of rave through her impressive turntablist tricks. An adoring crowd revels in her high energy polyrhythms, and chants the artist’s name as she fans herself with a 12” before diving back into the assortment of gems hidden inside an overflowing record bag. Canadian selectors Peach and Ciel follow suit with their rolling bassline sets, each propelling the night forward through a varied mix of barging techno and moody electro. Meanwhile, in the Dungeon, Low Jack spins baile funk, hard drum and gqom-style beats to a sparse, yet enthusiastic squad.
Somewhere between 2-3am on Saturday, wandering between the maze of stages among Punta Christo, there’s the unmistakable rumble of The Prodigy’s 1996 breakbeat classic Firestarter. That morning, the same track can be heard echoing across the expanse of the fort another two times. The next day sees electro legend DJ Stingray recruit Silvia Kastel and SPFDJ to harness the power of the relentless Void sound system, while across the way, Courtesy rattles the 80-foot deep Moat with her assemblage of jolty techno heaters. Back in the historic city centre of Pula, within the damp subterranean tunnels of the low-ceiling venue Zerostrasse, Josey Rebelle, Call Super, Blawan and rising DJ re:ni shake the rugged site to the point where it feels like the edifice may crumble. Built into Pula’s underground in the 1900s, the former war shelters provide ravers with an ideal chilly environment, perfect for sweating through Blawan’s dark selections.
Rain put a damper on 2018’s festivities and onboard this year’s boat parties artists were quick to jump on the mic and praise the sun. Groups of middle-aged ravers float nearby on smaller recreational boats, drifting starboard as they wave Croatian flags high above their heads while fist-pumping along to the thudding bass that rocks our packed-out vessel. Ben UFO, Pangaea and Pearson Sound soundtrack the Sunday evening voyage, hosting their annual Hessle Audio takeover with Call Super. Out at sea, the four journey through UK bass, house, techno and grime, mixing in tunes from Ghanian MC Bryte and Jamaican reggae singer Koffee. In the early hours of Monday morning, the trio of label heads go back-to-back in the Moat, closing out the final hours in the overflowing fortress.
As the final day programme draws to a hush, crowds flock back towards the coastline to catch a glimpse of the sky and its velvety tangerine hues. Nostalgia hangs in the air as artists and attendees clutch onto rumours that the festival is in the process of securing a new location, outside of Croatia. With such a devoted crowd of punters and artists alike, it’s hard to imagine that this is truly the end for Dimensions.