Dimensions 2015 - The Review
Boats, beaches & bodytonic, what could possibly go wrong...
Fort Punta Christo – The Unsung hero
Dimensions unsung hero. That’s a more appropriate description for the festival’s beautiful setting - a 19th century fortress built to protect the Dalmatian coastline. Sprawled over 10,000 square meters it was left abandoned for 60 years before a preservation programme envisioned its potential and decided to rejuvenate the site. What could make a better playground than an old military base complete with a deep moat, stone forts, underground tunnels all complemented by a magnificent coastline, redesigned and reconceived into 10 world class stages, from the small (Noah's Ballroom) to the spectacular (The Void), it is chock block full of places to dance, chillout, wander, explore and more, unlike the usual field in the wilderness festival set up. The site has become Dimensions 12th man and what was once used to safeguard the port of Pula from invaders now shields and defends us from the real world.
Dimensions Festival has always been about setting the benchmark for the overseas festival - from seamless production, a killer line up and top buzzer staff and this year it has continued to elevate things to another level. Add that to guaranteed sunshine, lark happy crowds and a twinkling sea –everything from build up, buzz and banter has a sense of tickled pink fun.
It’s hard to believe it is such a young festival given the polish of the production and organisation (this is just year number 4) and you would think after 2 years of us sending a topless Conor L and a load of crazy paddies their way, they would be shot of us, but luckily for us this year we were invited to host a stage, along with our annual boat party stint. Did we rise to the challenge? Judge for yourselves….
Ballin’ @ The Beach Bar
Technically the festival doesn't start until Wednesday's opening concert but the campsite and beach bars offer some R&R entertainment pre-festival. Anyone checking out the beach Tuesday evening probably had the intention to ease slowly into the week before the real madness kicked off - We however had other ideas. Reporting for duty with bags of records (and our best Bermuda shorts) the Bodytonic boyos, Conor L & Shane Linehan, got the Pula party officially started. Few could resist the lure of Strafe - Set It Off (Walter Gibbons Mix) , Larry Heard – Burning - and let's face it, it’s not a holiday without a birra Kleeer. By the end there were 100 or so party exiles taking refuge in Margie Joseph , Midnight Express Exodus and Rozlyne Clarke. Forget happy hour cocktails or tan lines - this is what holidays are for. The Dimensions Sound System lads followed our lead and had the beach bar booming with Detroit Experiment – Think Twice , Lil Louis – Club Lonely and Peven Everett – Stuck. Dimensions was now officially open for funny business.
21st Century Boys
The festival officially kicks off on the Wednesday each year in the impressive Roman amphitheatre in Pula city centre for their opening concert and once again the venue becomes a show stopper in itself. Construction on the amphitheatre began in 27 BC and it’s the only remaining amphitheatre to still have it’s four side towers intact. While it has seen many a gladiator combat it’s 21st century function is to host Dimension Festival's opening concert. It gets an Emperor's thumbs up for an amazing atmosphere, super friendly staff, Little Dragon’s fantastic stage light show and for headliners Four Tet for what was a fitting way to start the party proper.
Great from the Get Go
The disco fort shimmering
Thursday night was opening night of the main festival site back up in the fort and it was all systems a go- go. Bodytonic's top picks? K15 commanding the Void Stage, Space Dimension Controller making everyone gravitate to The Garden and Horse Meat Disco in Fort Arena 1. Jim turned the 20 foot stone walls that encased the Fort into a giant shiny discoball and brought a touch of Vauxhall to the Croatian coastline. There were collective shimmys to Margaret Reynolds – Keep On Holding On, Tangerue – Don’t Stop The Music and Harvey’s epic edit of Winners – Get Ready For The Future, before sun rising and smiles all round, we retired to casa Bodytonic for some R & R ahead of the big one.
Filling that Void
Louis not happy with where we stuck the banner
Our previous Dimensions boat parties were fairly lively affairs to say the least, from John Heckle making 200 people sound like 2000 to the sound of Telex - Moscow Diskow in 2013, to this last year with Space Dimension Contoller and this year we were asked to bring a bit of the madness ashore, taking over The Void stage on the Friday night. For takeover we had our tactics to a T. Recruiting a crack (and craic) squad of our favourite DJs and an insanely powerful sound system we could not have felt more at home. Conor and Shane initiated proceedings followed by Radio 1’s marvelous Moxie and then Horse Meat Disco and Conor L took charge (super subbing, going B2B with Jim after James couldnt make it). It was a blazing 100,000 welcomes that included Gwen McCrae, Voyage and Phyllis Nelson. They handed the blowout baton over to a top form shirtless Lil Louis (He knows how we like to party) and a blistering Bicep took us us to 6am. It was a night of epic tunes, dancing swinging limbs and a full house of smiling sun kissed faces . You know it’s been a good night when sentimentality sets in on the stroll home - memories really do make the best souvenirs.
Gimme that medicine
This sight would cure any hangover
After THAT experience Friday night we somehow found the energy to do it all again thankfully our cure came in the form of Dimensions Soundsystem in Fort Arena 1. Warming up for Loefah’s history of Chicago set with some thundering Chicago and Detroit house collective hangovers and spirits were lifted when they dropped Marcellus Pittman - There's Somebody Out There. Likewise, over at The Moat, when the tag team troop of Hunee and Antal served up Martin Solveig’s Remix of Salif Keita - Madan and the instrumental of 1983 italo classic Mr Master - Dog in the Night everything felt right with the world again. With the Epoch’s Enda Geoghegan flying the Paddy flag to a full stage at Arija (throwing in some vintage Dave Clarke for good measure) and Intergalactic Gary closing the monstrous moat with All Night Passion and Hills Of Katmandu we were officially restored. Space Dimension Controller tore the arse out of the overhauled Clearing - the stage was storm battered last year but in true Dimensions style it came back bigger, better and brighter and no better place to end the night. The Belfast boy showed us a tougher set dropping Capricorn – 20hz and hammering home Black is the Number. More of this rougher stuff please .
Like Stadio Luigi Farraris all over again
Definitely a face you would trust to steer the ship through choppy waters
Our Italia 90 themed boat party was kicked off with our answer to Houghton, Aldridge and Staunton - Al, Steve and Conor - who set the boat up nicely for our qualifying round circling the Croatian coast. Sea air spirits were high and marine mischief was a plenty- it was all down to the sailor shuffle soundtrack of Central Line , Gino Soccio - Dancer and Laura Branigan. With 2 hours to go the Bodytonic crew were substituted for Intergalactic Gary who volleyed the boat with his bag of acid house and hi NRG before dropping the likes of Sylvester – Rock The Box , Disco Circus Over & Over and Change - The End. Things took a more cosmic turn when Daniele Baldelli took charge - we were led to glory in 1990 by an Englishman but in 2015 the boat's fate lay firmly in the hands of an Italian. It was an interplanetary experience with Gazza style tears when he unveiled this . Back on dry land (and planet earth) we set our stall up at the unmissable Clearing for the night. We drank up those last few epic hours of Moodymann ( yesss to Isaac Hayes) , Jeremy Underground Paris and MCDE, who for the final stretch of our Dimensions 2015 adventure, joined forces and record bags for a spectacular 60 minutes. I don't think there a more fitting finale than this Arian track - everyone's hearts were in headlocks as we sang along. https://youtu.be/DKGwSc3sUFM.
Conor L & Alvey share a tender moment after it was all over
Dimensions Festival 2016 (Taking place 24th to 28th August) is now open for registration, just in time for those early christmas pressies. We already asked Santa for some new speedo’s so see you there
Check out the rest of our pics from Dimensions here