People Who Are Addicted To Music
As oil prospectors, savvy media types or any other self respecting strain of bacteria will tell you – the best results can be found by getting in early, and no matter how Catholic your morals are, festival conception doesn’t come much earlier than this. Love System Festival, born from the frenetic mind of Kumasi Music’s Danny Raper, hatched into life on 29th May in one of Croatia’s favourite birthing chambers: Petrcane; original home of now near mythical events Outlook and Garden Festival.
The Line Up
UK festivals boast 4 levels of differing VIP Glamping, US festivals more pyrotechnics than Pompeii and Croatian festivals routinely have as their centre piece Boat Parties. Love Systems initial offering was diverse, 2020, Kumasi, Bad Apple & Micron among the brands looking to get wet. Ironically, a number of the parties (scheduled at 2 a day, 1 lunch and 1 sunset ) didn’t make it out owing to a few days of rain that, according to locals, was the worst Croatia had seen since it had been Croatia. Those that did make it (including the 4 listed) were a mixture of Petrcane Sunset and Perfect Storm but throughout a combination of canvassed over decks, DJs playing on tables at dance floor level and – despite there being a cash bar on board – and unofficially crew endorsed BYOB system in place kept things moving along nicely. Special mention must go to the Kumasi and Micron boats: the latter a perfect closing to the festival : Ben Pearce & Tom Demac playing a fantastic, long build of a set while passengers (at long last) sunned themselves on the top deck; the former an altogether more dramatic affair, Kolumbo, Scion & Kreature setting a pitch only matched by an equally oscillating hull as passengers danced furiously, while all around them a lightning storm punctuated a black sky.
The Crowd & The Vibe
Love System is small. Perhaps sub-700 people small. Any festival whose population is less than main room Ministry of Sound has an inversely scaled challenge to make sure attendees get that transient vibe that only festivals can offer. At its best, Love System had that feeling, but more than a festival, it had that seminal feeling, like that house party you stumbled into years ago, suddenly entranced by electronic music. Perhaps it was the boat parties, with DJs playing on tables strapped right onto the dancefloor, crowd once again rammed together mid deck as s positive consequence of the weather, or sitting in the quiet cafes at the beachfront at night for a low key Pre-drinks with the new community of other goers, a third of which you now knew, whilst bassline echoes rumbled over the glass like bay from the forest beyond. Or it came from moments like discussing Midland’s upcoming releases, with the man himself, at a late night burger stand, where in place of that curious event apartheid that dominates too many parties, DJs, promoters and festival goers: a 700 strong concoction of last-minute-lets-go groups, DJs personal friends, Croatians and a sprinkling of gorgeous American backpackers all sit together, DJs beaten to the cash bar by a group of graduates from Manchester and new signings from Hot Creations exchanging pleasantries with a Russian journalist who got lost here on the way to Zadar. At its best, Love System felt at once still-packaged new and early-days sunrise at illegit-rave old fashioned.
-The numbers. A group of people small enough that you began to feel part of a community, whilst drastically, 1 in 20 people there were DJing, making for a rare sense of integration between DJ and crowd on and off stage.
– Little could be done about torrential rainfall for parts of the event, and credit is due for the organisers quickthinking with roofing erected over both stages and all boats. Like all first festivals, a couple of details were forgotten, ranging from centralised communication on line-up changes, to Shonky’s attendance on one of the boats. (They picked him up halfway through ). Other than that, the blueprint is in place here for a fantastic event.
Love System represents a growing trend in new festivals. Foregoing huge backing and a focus on selling biblical numbers of tickets, the event was essentially an amalgamation of known UK parties, relocated to a proven launchpad in Croatia, diehard followers, artists’ mates and a selection of others in tow. The Result? A vibe that felt like a fantastic house party, or perhaps a pounding private party you crash whilst on holiday.