2017 was someone what of an anomaly for Dimensions Festival. The quaint town of Pula was hit by a weekend of unexpected and unwanted rainfall. A cynic would suggest that the rain might dampen proceedings. But this was simply not the case. Dimensions has developed into a truly incredible festival that can rival any of its European counterparts. The staff handled the electric storm remarkably well, a few hours of silent stages was not enough to spoil a weekend of outstanding quality.
The stark difference between the night and day is remarkably effective. The solitary beach stage during the day gives festival goers the chance to kick back by the sea and sweat out the sins from the night previous while enjoying expertly curated music as they do so. This well thought out curation at during the day is certainly an underrated feature of Dimensions. Stand out acts from the beach stage included drummer Moses Boyd, who followed on from his performance at the opening concert with a complex combination of live looped samples and breathless drum solos. Stamp The Wax ambassadors Harri Pepper and Aaron L also impressed, providing the perfect soundtrack to a lazy afternoon on the Adriatic Coast. The duo blessed the beach with a catalogue of rare selections that drifted down the beach until sunset.
Outside of the music, Dimensions continues to impress with its extra-curricular activities. The popular Knowledge Arena was brought back by popular demand, a hub for forward thinking music activity offering attendees the chance to free play on cutting edge production equipment and take part in tutorials and industry seminars from the likes of London Modular Alliance, Adrian Sherwood & Dam-Funk.
The evenings at Dimensions brings in a change of mood, the bridge to the Fort Punta Christo is opened to reveal eight unique stages. While these all have their own story be told, the most intriguing was the smallest of them all, Noah’s Ballroom. As I entered the pit inside the crumbling walls of the 18th Century Fort, the instrumental to Spiller and Sophie Ellis Bextor’s ‘ (Groovejet) Is This Ain’t Love’ bounced off the circular walls. Hearing this Millennial classic in such a classically romantic setting was a perfect juxtaposition to kick proceedings off on Thursday night.
While Noah’s Ballroom is certainly the most alluring stage, the crowning glory of the festival is without doubt The Moat, a dark and intimidating space dug deep into the grounds of the Fort. After descending a set of winding steps, you are met with a smoke filled, 100-yard tunnel. The atmosphere is intense and the DJ is often hard to pick out, playing out of a pizza oven like slit raised above the crowd below.
This lack of vision creates a strong sensory experience, forcing the emphasis onto the flawless sound coming out of the homemade sound system. These, built for roots and dub, have been developed to harness the deepest of bass tones in perfect clarity. The drawn-out shape of the stage gives the sound no choice but to flood towards the crowd, creating a mind-blowing sound that hits just as hard with techno as it does with dub.
None more suited to these conditions was special guest Nina Kraviz, who closed the Moat on Sunday with an onslaught of brutal, acidic techno.
There were a whole host of notable performances throughout the weekend. Dan Shake rocked the Clearing Stage with an effortless mix of soul soaked disco cuts to the equally soaked crowd in front. Henry Wu, Thristian and MNDSGN’s funk infused sets aboard the Worldwide FM boat party was perfect listening for a Sunday afternoon cruise. Romare’s increasingly impressive live show brought together bongos, flutes and more in an immersive, tribal performance.
There were many standout performances from across this weekend, yet it was the festival as a whole that truly stood out. The organisation, music and most importantly the unparalleled laid back atmosphere is what makes Dimensions what it is. Same again next year?
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Words: Angus McKeon
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