With a busy schedule of the likes of Dimensions, Outlook and Hideout already taking place every summer, locals might be bemused at the idea of another festival popping up along the beautiful Croatian coast; fortunately, Obonjan Island offers a quite different prospect. Not to be considered a festival despite playing host to a whole brigade of quality musicians this summer, the holiday destination is a serene haven for visitors aimed at providing incomers with their tailor-made summer breaks. Whether you’re seeking relaxation or a party location, the island has it all to offer. Now it just needs some people to enjoy it.
Left dormant for 10 years, the island near to Croatia’s City of Šibenik is a site of extraordinary natural beauty unspoiled by human interaction, inhabited only by Mirko, the island’s caretaker, and Jimmy, his faithful dog. Opened up for development this summer, Obonjan Island will finally be eased back into the public sphere, with an eco-friendly, low-impact ethos ensuring that Obonjan becomes a “forward-thinking and responsible 21st-century destination” for visitors. Offering the choice of beautiful forest lodges or spacious bell tents, the Obonjan Island Project deals in comfortable and striking accommodation, striking a balance between the freedom of being out in the wild and all of the modern comforts that you wouldn’t want to be without. Set up with the intention of being a place promoting wellbeing, the island has it all: music, arts, workshops, sports and ample opportunities for adventure.
Sat in the Adriatic Sea’s perfect blue waters, it’d be easy to believe that the location is too good to be true, with the unspoiled greens of the island’s pine and olive tree canopies and the beautiful sandy shores offering perfect spots for sun or shade. Thanks to the stunning bars, restaurants and cafes there’s fresh produce from land and sea to fill your stomachs, as well as any workshops, fitness classes and water sports that you might need to work up a hunger. Manage to exhaust the seemingly endless list of things to keep you blissfully occupied on the island (you won’t, but let’s pretend for a second), and you’ve got the stunning Kornati Islands and Krka National Park just a short boat ride away; boredom is out of the question.
Where this natural relaxation destination does take on elements of the summer festival then, is the lineup of artists set to play, with some of the finest DJs and live acts from all across the dance music spectrum taking to the island’s exceptional amphitheatre venue. Early August boasts sets from The Invisible, Auntie Flo, Kate Tempest and a big group of friends, before Four Tet and Pearson Sound play on the 13th. Horse Meat Disco, Shura, Mr Scruff, Gigi Masin, Gilles Peterson and Romare follow, with the month finishing with shows from Anderson .Paak and Local Natives, both supported by yet more fantastic guests. Covering everything from late night raves and reggae roasts to ambient soundscapes befitting of the miraculous land, Obonjan offers the pinnacle of modern music, with a cinema and regular comedy offering plenty of evening alternatives. Throw in art installations found all across the island and the only problem you’ll be grappling with is how to fit it all in.
Music kicks off on August 7th with Floating Points, Lindstrom, Kozmodrum and Dave Okumu enjoying the luxury setting for the very first time. A place in paradise awaits.
Words by Andrew Kemp
Photos courtesy of Obonjan