Hideout Festival; a sun-drizzled Croatian exploit that welcomes an influx of avid music lovers to its beaches annually, the promise of sun, boat parties and beats enticing a plethora of clubbers and DJs alike. Croatia is now home to an abundance of festivals, including both Dimensions and Outlook, yet Hideout is one of the first to see the strobe lights, decks and welcome ravers to the country. Held over Zcre beach, the four day festival promises an unforgettable time – and this year? It couldn’t have got any better.
Now in its 4th year, 2014 played host to over 60 world class DJs, providing a fantastic line-up for any raver; from Maceo Plex to MK to David Rodigan, there was a different vibe at every set. The huge stages of Papaya, Calypso and Aquarius provided immense pool parties in the day, to deep and exotic raves during the night, playing right up until sunrise – and even then, the crowd would keep chanting for one more song, never once wanting the night to end; this is Hideout Festival, after all.
From wherever you leave from in the UK, it’s a long distance to travel – be it by coach or plane, it’s a bit of a tricky location, and everyone we spoke to seemed to have had a similar problem. However, arriving on the Thursday in Zagreb gave us a little time to really explore the beauty of Croatia, and with pre-parties in abundance, we were never short on things to do. We headed to the Doorly boat party Sunday evening, who blasted track after track on a four hour boat ride; if this was anything to go by, then the rest of the week was bound to be spectacular.
Opening day saw a realm of acts ready to build up the festival; the likes of Cassy and Apollonia provided a chasm of deep house interludes, alongside an atmospherically rich display of beats that certainly got fists pumping throughout the day. A surprising highlight came from Berlin based duo Tale of Us; the pair eased the crowd into their day-closing set, playing a mix of slow, deep tech that paved the way for a more up-tempo sound. We stood at the front of the pool, the sun beaming down in an incredible atmosphere that validated the duo as a superb and intense pair that evoked the crowd into a truly euphoric wave. As they entailed Josh Winks ‘Are you there’ within their set, their versatile range and combination of tech house and pure techno worked wonderfully, and the crowd was certainly warmed up and ready for the evening ahead.
As night fell, it was London based quartet Rudimental that were first to take the headline spot. You couldn’t help but feel they were the odd ones out at this festival; their mainstream, chart-topping genre ranges from soft drum and bass to garage – much different in contrast to many of the other tech/house acts present. There were whispers of disappointment amidst the crowd that this was a DJ set rather than a live performance, but as soon as they stormed onto the heaving stage of Aquarius at a peak time of 3am, this was all forgotten. From a previously solemn crowd, it was incredible to see the transformation the arena had undergone; an atmospheric buzz of hysteria and excitement drove the crowd into a frenzy as classics such as ‘Not Giving In’ and ‘Waiting all night’ were performed, with a sudden blend of jungle breakbeats and even a hint of motown validating them as one of the UK’s greatest breakthrough acts of recent years. Their stage presence and energy was automatically intense from the word go, and they showed a real passion for their music throughout the set. The climax of the event was when ‘Feel the love’ began to play, and a saxophone player hit the stage to play to the revel of waiting and enthusiastic fans simply lapping up every minute; Rudimental had certainly put on a hard act to follow, and I highly recommend anyone to see them if they get the chance.
After a stuffy and rowdy shuttle bus, we arrived at Zcre beach early to take in most acts of the day. Hot Creation’s wAFF was one of the first to open Papaya; only in his early 20’s, he certainly proved to have talent beyond his years as he played track after track of up-tempo beats that kept a clearly hung-over crowd alive and excited. I stood alone at the front of the stage, and was amazed to see within minutes that crowds began to surplus forward and join me in excitement, ultimately awakening as Infinity Ink hit the stage. The duo put on a fantastic performance, the sunlight and visuals surrounding the stage being perfectly in sync with the beats, adding yet another dimension to an experience you can’t get anywhere else but a festival like Hideout. Guti and tINI similarly put on a flawless performance over at the Aquarius pool, which is nothing unexpected from the Desolat artists. They thoroughly dominated the stage, providing a non-stop combination of Guti’s Latin tech side with tINI’s deep indulging sounds, both making use of vinyls in a dynamic, exciting and fluid set that most DJs strive to achieve.
As day became night, and another sterling appearance from Tale of Us, It was Maceo Plex who closed the Papaya stage at an ideal 4am slot. Maceo immediately launched into lavishly layered beats as his main synth developed slowly, experimenting into a more tribal style that echoed intensely throughout the coliseum-like stage. Known for his dark material, the audience certainly lapped up the set with ease. There was a slight air of disappointment that like many DJs present, Maceo chose not to play any of his own productions within his set, to which I overheard a few mumbles of frustration. However, with a stellar and liberating set such as this, it wasn’t too much of an issue for the Ellum Audio boss, and the focus on the quality of the set was certainly not lost.
As day 3 of the festival arrived, we chose to go on a boat party; as many party-goers said to us, this is certainly the best way to see your favourite artists in such a close proximity. We opted to go on the Digital Soundboy boat. Shy FX, Stamina MC / B-Traits and Dismantle all played back to back, playing an absolutely brilliant and colourful drum and bass set with favourites such as Golddust, Somebody New and My Bassline, and finishing off with Celebration by Kool and the Gang – not something you’d expect from Digital Soundboy, but the masses absolutely lapped it up and it was ultimately one of the highlights of the week.
Back on the beach, and the pioneer of ska, reggae and dancehall sounds took to the Aquarius Pool to show the crowd that even after four decades, he still knows how it’s done; this was David Rodigan MBE, an icon in his own right. He unleashed his long-anticipated reggae magic to an awaiting crowd, with songs such as Toots & They Maytals ’54-56 was my number’ echoing in the arena, Rodigan stopping swiftly to say: “GIMME SOME SIGNAL!’ to a crowd that most definitely responded. It was a bizzare change of pace to the festival, but the crowd were simply amalgamated by Rodigan’s pure passion, extenuating why he is such a figurehead within the reggae scene today.
After a swift and exciting ride on a jet ski – just one of the great activities available on Zcre beach – we saw a plethora of artists that certainly secured their place on the lineup. Justin Martin and Waifs and Strays delivered a delicious house set at Kalypso, with Dense and Pika nicely closing the Papaya pool for the day. But as night came, it certainly belonged to one man. As Loco Dice took to the Papaya stage at 3am, the Desolat guru proved to be the highlight of the evening. With a warm progression of deep beats bellowing through the crowd, the German maesto blended an abundance of deep and dark sounds, including Radio Slave ‘The Clone Wars’ and Jimmy Edgars ‘Strike’ to perfection. The set staggered primarily between tech house and pure techno, with impressive and ambitious build-ups that are unparalleled by any DJ that I’ve witnessed throughout the week.
The final day of the festival saw a sea of hangovers attempting one last final push as the sunny week drew to a close; house giant MK took to the Papaya stage at 5pm, Hideout being one of many on his list of festivals through the year. Ever the crowd pleaser, MK made sure to mix his own songs such as Burning and Look Right Through to a screaming, wild and absolutely heaving crowd. It was a certainly a different scene at the pool today; underwear was thrown. A home made banner was held up. Screams could be heard for miles. MK was certainly making his mark on the festival, in a much different way than anyone else had this week. But oddly enough, the set made for an incredible time, and everyone I spoke to said it was one of the best they’d seen all week.
After a plethora of fantastic acts, it was time for Surrey dance duo Disclosure to take the main stage at Papaya. The queue reached far beyond the arena, with hundreds of moaning and disgruntled fans having to turn away and opt for another venue. But inside, the towering projections of the glorious Disclosure signature were morphing into animation, as the pairs set effortlessly took off, much to the pleasure of the fans that had queued for so long to see them. Across the previous year, Disclosure have cemented their name firmly within the charts, and it’s easy to appreciate why; effortless songs such as ‘Latch’ and ‘You and Me’ are pure lyrical gems, and when played cause an eclipse of singing voices hitting a hollow of incomparable intensity. The crowd were full of smiles as hit after hit was played, blended with upbeat dancefloor hits that proved the pinnacle of Disclosure’s success; the boys certainly put on a fantastic show, and one that was certainly worth the wait.
Berlin based DJ Scuba played the final set of the weekend at Kalypso, a much darker contrast to previous acts across the day. With deep emphatic songs such as Dense and Pika’s ‘Black Deep’ and Pele & Shawnecy ‘You And Me’ mixed with ease, Scuba certainly bid the crowd a good morning as the sun began to rise in the distance in an irresistible environment of a rave. Scuba’s distinctive vibes combined with drum sounds was almost euphoric, and the sunrise revealing the realities of everyone’s weird faces around us was almost brushed aside. He was certainly leading the pack, and closing down what had been one of the most unforgettable, intense and impressive festivals we had the pleasure of attending.
All in all, it’s certainly been a prosperous journey for Hideout; celebrating its 4th anniversary, this year’s line-up was essentially a who’s who of the most relevant house and bass acts all over the world. With a bungee jump, a clear sea, a revel of party goers and DJ’s to match, it certainly delivered an experience above and beyond my expectations, and one that has proved to be absolutely unforgettable.