Outlook 2011 Reviewed

Outlook 2011

13,000 people, 600 artists and a whole lot of bass. One word: EPIC.

Situated on a wooded peninsular surrounded by the glistening Adriatic sea near Pula, Croatia, lies Fort Punta Christo, an abandoned Roman fortress which holds a dark maze of rocky courtyards, drawbridges, and even a dungeon. A few hundred metres away the sun-soaked pebbled beach and campsite with stunning views over the ocean complete this raver’s paradise that was Outlook’s home for the 2nd successive year.

Billed as Europe’s leading bass music and soundsystem culture festival, Outlook’s line-up featured a who’s who of dubstep from superstars like Skream to breakthrough acts such as Girl Unit, and pretty much everyone in-between. Dub, drum and bass, grime and hip hop were all heavily represented, while more diverse acts also got a mention, from Nottingham’s Lone to Detroit’s Kyle Hall.

This year the organisers took a risk by almost doubling ticket sales to approximately 10,000, which still sold out with months to go. Several new stages had been introduced to cope with the increase in numbers, namely the Harbour arena – a massive outdoor rig with idyllic views across the bay, and the nearby Dock stage powered by the mighty OBF soundsystem. One of the daytime hidden gems, the Dockside arena hosted daily soundclashes, notably Hessle Audio vs Swamp 81, which rapidly turned into a free for all of dubplates and general debauchery as random DJs disembarking the boat parties drunkenly chose teams and vied for the decks.

Outlook 2011

Other daytime action took place at the Beach stage, which provided a more chilled out vibe to relax in the blazing sunshine and prepare for the next onslaught of bass mayhem. On-point programming saw Bristol’s Phaleah closing daytime proceedings on Sunday with his lush electronic textures, dropping ‘Afterglow’ as the sun set to magical effect.

A quick scramble up the dusty path to the fort found the Hyperdub showcase, featuring hard-hitting funky and grime instrumentals from the likes of Kode 9 and Scratcha of Rinse FM’s Grimy Breakfast fame. Instra:mental destroyed the place on Friday, blurring the boundaries between dubstep, house, techno and electro, with the soaring piano chords of Joy O’s current anthem ‘Ellipsis’ providing brief respite from their hypnotic subbass assault. Saturday saw Rustie and Hudson Mohawke drop back to back bass bombs like only these Glaswegian badmen know how, setting the dance on fire with euphoric synth-dripping bubblers such as ‘Hover Traps’ from Rustie’s forthcoming album ‘Glass Swords’.

Following a reportedly lengthy excavation, an impressive addition to the venue this year was ‘The Moat’, a 100m long 5m deep bass-trap, which on Saturday played host to label of the moment Swamp 81. Performance of the festival was probably Oneman, who departed from his usual party classics to demolish the moat with a darker selection of aggressive house, grime and classic UKG cuts such as Menta ‘Sounds of Da Future’. True to form he still managed to sneak in a few bangers such as Prince ‘I Would Die For You’ to lighten the mood. Other Swamp highlights included Boddika, whose raw futuristic rhythms such as Instra:mental’s electro-tinged monster ‘When I Dip You’, typified the imprint’s hybrid sound. As the sun came up and the powerful 808 rattled the walls of this dirty great rave trench, one thing was certain: this was not what the Romans intended it for.

Having attended Outlook every year since its 2008 debut in the tiny Croatian fishing village of Petrcane, the progression from a 1500 capacity British party to an established international festival has been dramatic. The hype surrounding a festival sold out months in advance was always going to be hard to live up to, and despite murmurings from some that the increased capacity resulted in a loss of its intimate feel, Outlook continues to be the best festival Disconnected has ever had the pleasure to attend. Congratulations Outlook, once again you delivered. Not that we ever doubted you of course.

Words and pictures: Faye Clarke

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2 Responses to Outlook 2011 Reviewed

  1. m3taphor says:

    Actually, it’s not a Roman fort. It was built during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in 1863. Nice review btw. 😉

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