First taking place in 2012, co-adopting the dramatic slice of the Adriatic that sister festival Outlook settled on in 2010, this year Dimensions Festival celebrated its eighth and final edition in Pula for the ‘Last Dance’, For those looking for an astounding depth and quality of music and an opportunity to soak in a Mediterranean spot unique in its breathtaking beauty, look no further.
You’re located close to the Slovenian and Italian borders along a meandering coastline lapped by turquoise shallows, overlooked by towering pines in which Fort Punta Christo itself hides on high ground. Camping stretched throughout the forest and hugged the water, offering breezy respite from the often sweltering late morning temperatures as festival goers slept off the night before, or took early morning swims in crystal clear water to relieve tired legs.
As detailed below, the weekend offered a chance to catch both the highly in demand and those just forming on peoples’ lips. Herein lies what makes this festival special: an exhibition of sorts detailing the latest and greatest. Spaces such as the Ballroom, Moat, Garden and Beach offered a dynamism that was reflected in the different acts that made them their home. Lazy day times were complemented with a selection of acts by the beachfront, consisting of bands and eclectic selectors, whilst the Fort stages offered a labyrinth of tight and moody spaces to explore into the small hours. The deeper one progressed into the festival, the less open and expansive stages felt – from The Clearing to The garden, past the Moat and towards the fort itself.
Here are six standout sets and 120 IDs from the Last dance at For Punta Christo.
Afrodeutsche (Saturday, The Moat)
Nestled appropriately in the Fort’s wildest acoustic environment, Manchester-based Afrodeutsche demonstrated her diverse origins through her rousing approach to techno – channeling an earsplitting, driving sound, smattered with triplets and samples reminiscent of her Ghanaian/West African heritage. Fellow attendees wore ear to ear grins as the white-knuckled ride progressively filled the dance floor as word seemed to stir throughout the site. A consistent talking point for the remainder of the festival – Afrodeutsche balanced a vibrancy with thudding minimalist picks.
Cosmic Slop (Sunday, The Garden)
Just before Gilles and Scruff on the ever varied and interesting Garden Stage, the Cosmic Slop DJs managed to fill the three hours with all the euphoria deserved of a final evening. A variation of the instrumental, disco led and stripped back filled us all up when legs were at their most tired – nothing short of what one expects with one of the UK’s best loved charitable parties. Working their way to midnight, the energy was lifted and genuinely special – smiles all round as their profile deservedly grows and grows.
Courtesy (Sunday, The Moat)
Denmark’s Courtesy channeled a tribal-esque, trancey and altogether experimental vibe through her characteristically pitched, stomping and melodic approach. It felt unique and cerebral as a result, making her stand out as perhaps the weekend’s biggest surprise. A quick peer through the wooden slats that overlooked the stage piqued interest, culminating in enjoying her set in its entirety – walking away as new enthusiasts for an innovative and inventive DJ.
Gene on Earth (Saturday, The Void)
Gene, following on from an array of impressive Summer releases, including June’s homage to Bristol’s infamously surreal Turbo Island, led a cerebral and trippy experience in the Void. Often acidy and Romanian in sound, well suited to the festivals decidedly eastern setting and the Void’s vivid lighting arrangement – a deft and talented touch was on display that took us on a thrilling journey – putting Saturday night’s wheels firmly in motion.
Gilles Peterson and Mr Scruff (Sunday, The Garden)
A good humoured and altogether legendary closer that brought together two giants in the Garden. Music meandered through floor filling boppers, complemented by added backing vocals courtesy of Scruff, to balfolk knees ups that shook the crowd into absurd frenzy. As is typical of these two, the energy created had people deep in sweaty hugs as the festival neared its emotional, nostalgic conclusion. Perhaps the icing on the cake was a Mr Scruff photobomb that encapsulated the fun loving and at times silly feel.
The Iron Glove (Sunday, The Clearing)
Instrumental, psychedelic and often jazzy in his selections, this London based selector sifted through a really well judged opening run of tunes. Orchestral arrangements gave way to a Dan Lissvik b-side that chugged through psych guitars – to dissipate into a moodier, dance pick. Energy was in ebbs and flows as the Istrian night fell. Placed in the Clearing, an expansive stage often overwhelming the music itself – the artist’s moving, extended selections reverberated through the space well. Unbeknownst to us before his set, The Iron Glove’s undeniable ear and finesse makes renders him as one to look out for in the capital’s scene.
Listen to a playlist of 120 Track IDs heard at the Last Dance in the Fort.
Photo credit: Daisy Denham, Rob Jones, Jamie Rosenberg.