Breaking with the traditional convention of ID’ing tracks, regurgitating set-lists and insisting that you must listen to this life changing techno track straight outta Berlin that will give you the same out of body experience as any Dimensions reveller experienced at 5am at the Moat, is not what this review will consist of. If you’re after recapturing/imagining moments of this ilk – you may be better off here https://soundcloud.com/dimensionsfestival.
In-keeping with the honesty and frankness that many of Circulation’s event reviews are focused on – I’ll attempt to fill my quota with a general overview of what you can expect if you’re thinking of heading to the stunning Fort Punta Christo next year. Dimensions, first off, is much much smaller than its counterpart Outlook, having only ever attended the latter, I was surprisingly warmed by the intimacy and ease of a smaller festival in this truly beautiful location. The music might have been more intense, but the atmosphere was far more relaxed. Due to my own personal tastes being more genre-diverse than the largely electronic/techno/house origins of Dimensions, I felt my heart at times longing for the more mainstream line up of Outlook that was plastered around the festival (usually at 6am when really all I wanted was some soothing SBTRKT and a peppermint tea). Despite this I found myself able to become fully immersed in the spirit of Dimensions, a festival which refreshingly, caters for people who really do care about the music, how it sounds, looks and is experienced. There was no way you could be standing in the Fort Arena 1 and not be completely overpowered by the potency and quality of the music, regardless of whether you class yourself as a techno fan or not. The pyrotechnics were flawless at every stage, everything was extremely considered and made for an exhilarating aesthetic experience. The beach catered for those that felt able to face bright light during the day, with emerging acts such as NAO standing out as a synthesis of sunlight and dreamy vocals that make the perfect soundtrack to that rose-tinted festival retrospective. The main evening stages – very similar to the layout of Outlook were curated by big name labels/collectives/blogs each night. This made it easy to plan your evening if you knew what genre/theme you were after without too much of a curveball being thrown if you were looking for somewhere to have a dance or mellow out and extend your limbs a bit more. There are also a plethora of boat parties for you to choose from – make sure to get on these early as they often sell out quickly.
Events were kicked off with the ever-ethereal Dimensions opening ceremony x boiler room at Pula’s beautiful Roman Amphitheatre. Having attended one of these a few years ago, it was always going to be something special. Four Tet, Little Dragon and the show stealing Floating Point’s incredible live performance set the bar for what continued to be a truly stellar week of electronic music. Highlights throughout the rest of the week are understandably subjective by nature but Loefah’s History of Chicago set – in the intimate setting of the 75 person capacity Noah’s Ballroom definitely stood out as did techno heavyweights Underground Resistance’s stimulating tech-funk that laid the groundwork for George Clinton’s inimitable performance as the headline act on Sunday night. One may have begun the evening with grand plans and a strict timetable of who to see, when to change stages and how to avoid missing out on performances, but this often quickly disintegrated once the night progressed. Yet the authenticity of performances and sets at Dimensions meant every performance was utterly charged, nothing felt recycled and revellers were never disappointed.
Most people I met were able to confidently rattle off which acts they were most excited to see or who had already impressed, illustrating their passionate motive for travelling overseas for a festival experience. Bar a couple of rogue Australians who had travelled thousands of miles purely upon recommendation of the festival’s reputation – this was a place for fans of these kinds of nights in their home cities to collectively experience the power of EDM in an unforgettable setting, not a grim warehouse or. Dimensions is incredibly easy to navigate, all the stages easy to find – and at no point felt overwhelmingly gritty or like it was trying too hard to force the absurd hallucinogenic aesthetic that events such as UK’s BOOMTOWN and SGP assault you with. Nothing was forcibly trippy, acid wasn’t mandatory and you could honestly always enjoy yourself at any given time of the day regardless of how you were feeling, something I feel is crucial when heading to a festival that is spread over a number of days. The combination of idyllic setting, beach ambience and what appeared to be a genuinely goodnatured host of attendees – made the perfect base for a really enjoyable festival.
If you haven’t been to Pula – for Dimensions or Outlook, I would definitely suggest that you go. The combination of festival and beach holiday is a hugely appealing one, nothing feels as bad as it would if you were in a rainy field – it’s ALWAYS sunny and you can literally deal with your headache with a pina colada on the beach, not getting caught in the never-ending rain/wanting to die in a portaloo. This is a perfect festival for those who have a vested interest in any electronic music genre to impress others, you will be able to assert your knowledge of DJ’s and discography to much aplomb. Even if you’re not as self-assured about this kind of stuff, you can always grab a copy of Mixmag in the airport – no one will be any the wiser. But regardless of your knowledge, you’ll still have an incredible time – embrace the fact you don’t know all the underground names and enjoy the unparalleled atmosphere. Keep an eye on ticket releases http://www.dimensionsfestival.com this year tickets sold out quicker than you can say Motor City Drum Ensemble (who was great F.Y.I).By Holly Hunt