How many music festivals do you think take place each and every year year? Competition is rife between the commercial, the boutique, the quirky, the tendy, and the ultra niche (Andrew Weatherall festival anyone?) So just why has Dimensions Festival managed to outshine and out fun the rest of the competition? There is the beautiful Adriatic setting, the hell yeaaahhhh lineup, the ‘we’re on our jollybobs’ location, and the guaranteed #nofilter beach and sunset photo opps (coz only the ducks like rain). Dimensions is not just a festival, it’s a 360° adventure made up of big things and little things……
The Big Things?
Those small little tweaks year on year that make the festival and venue worth coming back to. This was year 3 for me and my Dublin to Pula Eurotrash adventure consisted of 2 flights and a bus transfer. So seeing freshened additions to the site (like decor, signage and revamped stages) and overall production (for the first time they streamed live from The Fort stage), it didn’t feel like a rehash of 2013 and 2014. Also security was that littlllle bit friendlier and less invasive suggesting that they might have digested visitor feedback . While they recognise they have other festivals to compete with, more importantly it shows they want return visits – and for them user experience is paramount.
The Void Stage Friday Night
On Friday night Dublin’s Bodytonic hosted The Void stage – what I now refer to as the physics lesson. From 8pm to 6am there was infinite energy passed around between DJ’s, the crowd and the INCREDIBLE much applauded sound system (take a bow Neuron Pro Audio) . They say energy cannot be created or destroyed just transferred and there was a bouncing infectious giddy drive that hooked anything that came within a listening distance. I witnessed this Pied Piper effect at the portaloos when two girls turned to me and said “Just WHAT is happening in there” nodding at the stage. The night began with hostess with the mostess Bodytonic from 8, then on to magical Moxie (NTS/BBC Radio 1) before we were tickled pink by Horse Meat Disco (B2B with Super Sub Conor L). Next up there was a proper Chicago leathering from Little Louis before a colossal final two hours of a walloping galloping Bicep.It was a tag team of kinetic power that bounced about between stage and crowd – giving rise to deluxe dancing, belly laughs and bear hugs. My feelgood flashback moments? My disco wifey rushing to find me as General Johnson began (Thank you Super Sub L). Our hug it out reunion was like a pinace film noir scene (sans long cigarettes and a train station goodbye) . And the ‘like a boss’ bangiiiin Bicep boys finishing with their Dominica edit of ‘Gotta let You Go’. Not only was it ringing in everyone’s ears on the walk home it became the unofficial festival anthem . At every portaloo and food stand for the rest of the week there was a chorus of “Gaaattaaaa let you goooo.”So while the stage takeover was for one night only, memories lasted well into and after the festival.
DIMENSION WAS INCREDIBLE THIS YEAR, WAS VERY IMPRESSED WITH THE SOUND AT THE VOID STAGE! INSANE CROWD TOO! BOAT… http://t.co/Dm81Xn0l8m
— bicep (@feelmybicep) August 30, 2015
The Clearing Gets A Makeover
The Clearing stage had a makeover for 2015 and what a transformation it was. The new beaming triangle frame surrounded by fearless lights deserved a proper welcome and boy did The Clearing throw the most incredible housewarming. After witnessing Juan Atkins followed by Space Dimension Controller I honestly don’t think there was anything left to pack away come festival end. The Clearings new set up was literally JACKHAMMERRRRRRRED all week – talk about tearing something a new one, energy and enthusiasm levels were literally level red.
Croatia and Moodyman mix incredibly well. That’s the second year in a row I’ve spent his set with my hands either in the air, around my mates or across my heart. All power to you Moodyman.
Bodytonic Boat Party
‘No Standing Only Dancing’ warned the sign as we jumped on board the annual Irish Bodytonic nautical knees up – and we were more than happy to oblige. Could there be a more apt launch out to sea than sailor shuffling to Central Line and raising a Becks to the disappearing shoreline (Cheers Al Murphy) . The Bodytonic guys turned the evening into a sundown adventure that morphed into a space odyssey. Intergalactic Gary transformed our boat into a spaceship that whizzed through a giddy orbit before handing over to Daniele Baledlli who sprinkled us all with space dust for an hour of cosmic disco delights. Thanks to the music, banter, sea air and afro disco wigs we definitely entered some kind of fun force field. It was the fastest 3 hours of my life.
Sunday Night @ The Clearing
Talk about going out on a loved up high. Sunday night at the revamped Clearing stage MCDE and Jeremy Underground played individually and then B2B for the final hour of our Dimensions journey. Who could resist shouting along in unison to You’re In My System – where a thousand thought bubbles floated about as we all reflected on that person we were REALLY singing at (Sorry Robert Palmer – that person ain’t you). As they closed with ‘Your Love Makes Me A Winner‘ there were victorious lumpy throats all round. Thanks to the ultimate record selectors hearts, minds and souls were given a spotless spring clean.
“Your love! … Makes me a winnerrrr” 🌚🌚🌚 A video posted by @jeremyunderground on
The Little Things
Play Within the Rules
There was no escaping the talk of local police and their zero tolerance to drugs that was enforced with a no exceptions €400 fine. The organisers make this very clear – we are visitors in another country and rules must be adhered to. Secondly the Resident Advisor Boat party leaving 20 minutes early meant there was a few disappointed faces down at the port – although tickets do say to be boat side and ready to board no later than 30 minutes before departure time. There were a few sad shoreline faces as we realised we had literally missed the boat. Overall there is so much frolicking and fun to be had, but you just gotta play within the very broad rules. But in fairness if these were the only 2 things to note over 6 days, that really is saying something.
Dimensions is not just a festival it’s a beach holiday so enjoying cocktails and a first or final dance at Pacino’s beach bar pre or post festival is a nice way to stretch that holiday feeling. Very nice touch if you want to keep the fire burning.
Taming The Moat
People seem to have a love/hate relationship with the Moat. As a dark and narrow tunnel surrounded by high walls it can be slightly aggressive and alarming (it’s a 19th century Moat- tis built to be intimidating).You can feel uneasy and a little unsure at first but 2015 was the year we made friends and I finally tamed the beast. While it can be tempting to play it safe and hang at the back I say embrace the unknown. For Daniel Avery we decided to conquer the crowd and go front or go home. So take it from me, take a deep breath, buddy system up, grab a sleeve and make your way to the top. Its 100% worth it.
The Dimensions crew are very protective about their brand and carefully curate and value their partnerships. While many a festival are happy to go down the corporate sponsor route, this crew are very picky about partners . Boiler Room, RBMA, NTS Radio and Berlin Community Radio all streamed live from the event and for the second year the Knowledge Arena “a space dedicated to music production, creation and conversation” was available to all. Run in association with CDR HQ, Native Instruments, Ableton, SubPac and Urbanears the area hosted conversations with artists including George Clinton and Underground Resistance. With no head scratching corporate branding, Dimensions Festival recognise the value of partners, but do not let it dilute them. They are viscous in protecting their product – it’s collaboration not commercialisation and subtle not stupid.
Production and Sound
You can easily take for granted just how good a job the production team to here – this fort was built in 1863 don’t forget (I doubt the blueprints had any idea what was ahead). It would make your head spin to think about just what goes into the organisation and running and it’s all done to a 007 standard of slickness. Incredible.
Leave Those Egos At the Door
For 7,500 people to dance, drink and beach detox together for a week it’s incredible that there wasn’t one sniff of aggro or trouble from the crowd. It was one big beautiful gang of happy as clam buzzers.
Lies, Little Lies
Those little lies you tell yourself that 2015 will your last Dimensions adventure. (fuc*kin FOMO) It sold out in advance last year and 2016 registration is already open. Don’t sleep – seriously.
Click any image below to view gallery.