Early last month while Berlin sweltered through heatwave numero uno, we (Bron + sunseeking babes) packed up a rental Skoda and road-tripped down to Tisno on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast for the 10th and final edition of The Garden Festival. While more than familiar with the Croatian festival vibe (experienced on the reg via Dimensions & Outlook), it was our first venture further south, onto the Dalmatian coast to experience the one that started the whole idyllic Adriatic festival thang.
This 8 day-affair (6 for us) was – in short – total heaven. From the most perfect, seaside setting to friendly and feel-good crowd to the hours and hours of schönest house and disco at various stages, boats and after-hours. Predicting the dreaminess, we packed a handful of disposable cameras to capture the bliss, and the results plus a few highlights are below.
THE FESTIVAL SETTING
The Garden Tisno is really something special. Based around a small cove on the edge of town, the site complete with apartments & camping, is intimate and totally schön with the harbour stage a particular pretty highlight. Just down from the harbour and bringing in the cove, lies a small pier leading to the boat party boats – the Argonaughty and Barba Ive – which host all the good times at sea (And fuck are they a good time – I think everyone just gets a little more offshore?). The Argonaughty in particular is a real beauty – wooden, giant mast and an intimate (in a good way) dancefloor . Off-site – Barbarella’s – see below.
THE TUNES – CAN I GET SOME FEEL GOOOOOD
That right there is Gerd Janson & Job Jobse on the Resident Advisor boat party, not long before the Argonaughty boogied back into shore to an all-in singalong to Abba’s Lay All Your Love On Me. And that was the general vibe of this line-up slanted heavily in the direction of feel good. Hand raisers, choruses, the danciest vibes and DJs having a ball playing what they wanted in the searing Croatian heat.
Other highlights included Jackmaster at Barbarella’s (I have a note that says Doc Daneeka into Floating Points into Floorplan – which as my memory is hazy may or may not have happened in that exact order, but it followed by a whole lot of jibberish which I assume means a good time?), Solar (who we only caught the start of but have been reliving over here) and Tim Sweeney, well just be generally very good at what he does. We missed loads – DJ Harvey, Midland, Ben UFO, Bonobo – but rolling in and out as you pleased was one of the joys of this lengthy festival.
What surely has to be one of the best open air clubs going around, Barbarella’s (Barbs by the end) played host to Garden’s after hour program, where we danced under the stars to delicious tunes (including sets from all of the above ^) on a huge, totally al fresco dancefloor from 10pm-ish until the sun rose. I only ever want to dance outside in summer.
TISNO & NEIGHBOURS – WHAT A DREAM
Garden was in Tisno, we stayed in Jezera the next tiny town, 2km of beautiful coastal walk away (or a 5 min taxi). Both are ridiculously pretty. We’re talking a coastal view at (almost) all times, cute east-meets-Med holiday apartments, gardens full of bright flowers and fresh produce, friendly locals and too much choice when it came to delicious, fresh seafood restaurants. Both towns were also really tiny and totally manageable by foot, as well as when walking into the festival, which made the whole trip even more relaxed and a with a part-of-the-community feel. On top of all of that, comfort was at a high with a tonne of (most totally adorable) Airbnb options available in each town at a wide range of rates – no need to sweat things out in a tent (unless wanting to).
No really – shout out alone right here. Clear, wonderfully salty, neither cold nor bath temperature (as it tends to get towards the end of the season), the occasional fish and mostly bordered by rocks perfect for sunbaking and diving off. Water babies rejoice, this liquid was magical.
Punters and Garden crew alike – this was one friendly and chilled group of people, probably the result of loyal regulars that return every year and generally a bit of an older crowd who know a thing or two about dancing through the night without turning into raging dickheads. The staff and security we encountered were also really chilled – which enhanced that welcoming feel.
THE LEGACY – REINCARNATION VIBES
Kicking off in 2006, the Garden has long established itself as the go-to for Croatian beachside lazing by Tag, banging Garden parties by nacht and a whole host of vibey boat parties and after parties in between. They’ve really nailed their thang – as highlighted above – and the Garden’s legacy will long live on in both sunny flashbacks and as recently-announced, via their successor, Love International. Debuting June/July 2016 and organised by some of the same team we’re promised a little sister with a new mix of artists and partners, yet all in line with The Garden’s unique ethos. SIGN US UP.
Last image, Credit: Maude Churchill
To give you a bit of a back-story on The Disposable Camera Project – in the Spring of 2012, Lucy set off on a trip with someone she didn’t really know – for a 2′ish month long road trip. Traveling the girth of America they had 35 disposable cameras on hand. When they finished up? They had 11 left over. Lucy has given these cameras out to people she likes/ loves/ adores – for them to use/ send back and for her to develop/ put on the blog.