"Porat loves Lee Burridge"
Lee Burrdige deejaying at the Porat Club, Croatia

With an ever increasing offer of quality music festivals both dance and rock oriented, Croatia has become popular over recent years as a viable holiday destination for UK festival-goers. And with good weather almost guaranteed from May to September, prices cheaper than the rest of Europe and cheap flights from most major UK cities, it’s not hard to see why.

Throughout July and August, the Porat club has been opening up for a run of 16 continuous days in a festival celebrating the best in dance music from Europe to the United States and beyond. Unpretentious, ambitious and quality-conscious are 3 areas that immediately stand out about Porat. Celebrating it’s 10th year this year, Zagreb based dance music visionary, club owner and promoter at Porat, Sergej started the annual clubbing event with just a 2 decks a set of big speakers and a portable generator. “I was looking for somewhere near the sea where people wanted to party in a relaxed, natural environment,” he adds, “my grandfather was from this area and I have many happy memories of the area from my childhood holidays.”

Located in a serene woodland glade just 20 minutes away from Vodice the outdoor club is a magnet to hip locals, Italian tourists and chic urbanites from the nearby cities of Split in the south and Zadar to the north. Conveniently located on the Dalmatian Coast, halfway between the two cities means that flying in is not really a problem with low cost airlines flying to both destinations, offering tourists the option to spend a few days in one of Croatia’s old walled cities of the Adriatic coast, combined with a beach holiday by day and clubbing by night.

With a distinct lack of commercial banners, adverts and sponsorship of any kind, Porat is refreshingly independent and relaxed in its approach to putting on a good festival. Everything goes through founder Sergej and his team of close-knit friends and faithful helpers and devotees. This year though, Sergej pooled his know-how and contacts with the Italian based club Tenax to bring a genre busting international line up of DJ’s to the Adriatic including original Hacienda spinner, A Guy Called Gerald, Richie Hawtin, Magda, LTJ Bukem, Lee Burridge and the legendary Andrew Weatherall amongst others.

The night I visited, it was the turn of London based Lee Burridge to headline. Playing a very melodic and rhythmic tech edged set that had its roots in disco and old school house, Lee craftily built the sound up from 2am, taking the enthusiastic and very up-for-it crowd right trough to 7am. The crowd had definitely come to party, and despite this, there was no rowdy boisterous element to the club – these were pure pleasure seekers who were as much into the experience of chilling in the three relaxing chillout areas of this nocturnal forest paradise as they were the music. Of course people came dressed for action and ready to rock but music more than posing seemed to be the main priority of the night.

Boasting entry fees and drinks priced well below anything in the UK, the Porat experience runs well into the next day and through sunrise until anywhere between 8 to 9am. Friendly bar staff and a carefree crowd, with ample chillout seating strategically placed in nooks and coves all around the club give Porat a luxurious yet hippy vibe but without the hefty price tag or wild dogs and feral children running about the place! The outdoor bbq kitchen cooks huge chicken breasts, pork and fish and is a welcome addition for those who need that extra sustenance that you just can’t get from crisps and peanuts.

A short drive back to my hotel and 6 hours later and I was waking up literally 20 meters from the sea and enjoying breakfast in the shaded garden pondering my next move. With a huge national park and hundreds of tiny off shore islands nearby, there is plenty to offer those who don’t just want to sit on the beach. Or you could just sleep it of and get ready for another night at the rather fantastical Porat clubbing festival.

Words by Al de Perez


View an accompanying photo gallery from the 'Porat Loves Lee Burridge' event HERE.

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