When your visitors have travelled across Europe to arrive at the idyllic seaside spot of Tisno, it’s easy to fall back on the setting alone as their only welcome. Not Electric Elephant. Our arrival for their 2016 edition was greeted by festival staff of the friendliest order, with local rayika shots on the house and wigs, hats and glitter being offered out from all angles. Even a Ryanair flight couldn’t dampen our spirits after that.
We breezed down to the calming bay of water that was the focal point of the festival, to find Jane Fitz keeping an excited crowd entertained on the beach stage. Despite being only our first set, our foray with Fitz unearthed a number of our festival favourites that would endure til the journey home, including Transform’s mystical ‘Transformation’. Jumping in a cheerful Croatian taxi to the delightful outdoor party spot Barbarellas, we were greeted by a crowd buzzing to see Kerri Chandler’s headline set, blurring old chichago house with some disco classics.
After acclimatising to the beach and club on day one, we took to the water on our second, navigating the Adriatic with Gilles & James of Secretsundaze going back to back with Eamon Harkin of Mister Saturday Night. The synergy couldn’t have felt better between New York and London’s leading party institutions, which was all the more impressive, considering Eamon was playing out of Optimo’s record bag, after losing his own at the airport. From killer disco jam ‘Ma-Cum-Ba’ by Tantra to Simoncino’s ‘Beyond the Dance’, the music remained light and vibrant, whilst also whirring the crowd into a frenzied last hour that set everyone up for a great night ahead.
Perhaps it was the musical contrast that put a dampener on Nick Hoppner’s subsequent set, but thankfully his Barbarellas outing was saved in the last hour, with well-received numbers including Bicep’s Dub of ‘Cold Wait’ by Ian Pooley and KiNK’s ‘Strings’. Jumping on after Hoppner, AUS music’s Will Saul pumped up the energy in a closing set jumping from grooves from Local Talk to classic ear worms off AUS like ‘Wanna Go Bang’, which kept the small crowd’s energy high ‘til the closing hours.
Off to the renowned afterparty spot, Vortex, we stumbled upon some of the best people at the festival, alongside Optimo’s Jonnie Wilke, who we had the pleasure of joining for a few too many whiskies, followed by a dip in the Adriatic. Our time at Vortex, was symptomatic of one of Electric Elephant’s strongest assets. A cross section of ages and nationalities gelled seamlessly, and we left the festival with new friends from Glasgow to New Jersey. Open minded people, who don’t want to hang around in cliques, but rather form new relationships on the dancefloor. We’ve rarely found a dancefloor so chatty, but not in a disruptive way. Everyone had a long history with dance music, and their appreciation for Electric Elephant’s diverse programming wasn’t lost behind an appreciation for its equally diverse dancers.
The Saturday met us with an exceptional warm up set by Nightmares on Wax who played a typically eclectic selection ranging from latin to deep jazz , all the time keeping the crowd uplifted, especially with ‘Thus Girls’ by Junks & Cookin’. Hard to live up to such heights again, his boat party the following day fell short of the peerless standard set the night before, but X-Press 2’s ‘Muzik Xpress’ and Soundstream’s ‘Soul Train’ still rounded off a musically diverse and entertaining boat party.
To wrap off the final day in Tisno, we were rocked by the vibrant HomoElectric boat party, whose cry for “homos, heteros and don’t knows” couldn’t have summed up the crowd better. A mix of pure party people, glittered and limbered up created a jubilant atmosphere, which perfectly segued into the disco marathon with Greg Wilson that night. Our favourite boat party, Psychemagik’s set was one of the best sea-faring parties we’ve been to. Tracks like Dan Shake’s ‘Glitter Disco’ and Marshall Jefferson’s ‘Move Your Body’ summed up an electric atmosphere. After another glorious Adriatic bathe, and a short dance at the beach stage, we headed off to Barbarellas for our final dance under the renowned stewardship of Greg Wilson. Starting off heavier than we’ve come to expect from him, and peaking with a fantastic edit of Blue Monday’s ‘New Order’, it was a set packed with nu disco stompers, and showed us the versatility of one of the UK’s longest serving selectors. A stand out set from the festival, and a fitting end to one of Croatia’s longest-standing and accomplished festivals.
Here’s 100 tracks we heard at the Adriatic. Catch Electric Elephant take over the Stone Boat at Festival No. 6 (1st – 4th Sep)