Already one of the most interesting and upcoming tourist destinations in the world, Croatia also has a booming festival scene that is just about to get louder.
It is a country with a turbulent history. Only 15 years ago Croatia was in a violent struggle for independence yet now it is an essential stop on the popular Eastern European inter-railing route and home to an impressive catalogue of festivals.
INmusic, which has taken place in the Capital city of Zagreb for the last 8 years, set the trend for Croatian festivals. This year it had a lineup that rivaled many major competitors boasting names such as Arctic Monkeys, Basement Jaxx and Bloc Party.
More recently however, the craze has centered on electronic music. Outlook Festival is in its 6th year, Hideout is in its 3rd, Dimensions in its 2nd while Unknown and Sonus premiered this year. With these and several others, Croatia is attracting fans of House, Drum n Base, Dubstep, Techno and more in their thousands.
What makes these festivals especially enticing, aside from their eye catching line ups, are the unrivaled locations. Hideout and Sonus take place in four open air super-clubs on the incredibly picturesque Zrce beach, while Outlook and Dimensions are situated inside an abandoned fort providing some of the most unusual stages in the world.
Meanwhile many other festivals are struggling. Recent years have seen ticket sales decline for several British events with some even being forced to cancel.
Ticket prices must have an impact on this. This year I went to Hideout in Croatia and Benicassim in Spain which both cost £120, around £100 cheaper than most big UK festivals, and included 4 days/nights of music. Obviously there is the price of flights on top of this but it is becoming increasingly popular to combine a foreign festival and a summer holiday and why not? Hideout had the atmosphere of any party holiday with its beautiful beach, scorching temperatures and insane nightlife, plus the bonus of seeing world famous DJs every night.
Many festival goers will still have their trusted favourites (Leeds fest will always be mine!) but with the massive increase of new, exciting festivals in places like Croatia it’s definitely worth looking at the options for 2014.
By Kate Whitaker