To sum up four nights and four days in the stunning setting of Pula’s Fort Punta Christo (on top of a night in the equally impressive Amphitheatre) is quite the task. Most festivals may have one or two quirky or unique stage settings, whereas Dimensions Festival have managed to find themselves with an abundance. When you couple this with a discerning and eclectic crowd and a lineup to rival any such festival across the globe, the result is special.
Wednesday night brought about a rare opportunity to experience Floating Points in full force with an orchestra/band debuting new material from his upcoming album, Elaenia, on his only newly launched Pluto label. The Amphitheatre turned out to be the perfect setting as the Eglo Records man backed with a full rhythm section, strings and a selection of doubling wind players brought together an atmospheric set of both serine and at times powerful music.
Little Dragon found themselves sandwiched between said performance and the night's headliner Four Tet, and although were not exactly what some, including myself, were quite looking for at that moment, a hugely energetic live performance got the crowd moving following the more ethereal performance that came before. Four Tet followed, bringing the opening concert to a close, upping the energy levels and seeing off the evening in style, working his way through a mostly tough and bassy live set, entwined with material from his recent and celebrated Morning/Evening release.
Thursday was the first of many days spent horizontal on the festival beach taking in the sounds of Cosmic Slop, Mo Kolours, BADBADNOTGOOD, Dimensions Sound System amongst many others, recharging the batteries for the night before's antics and ahead of several lengthy nights to come in The Fort.
Thursday night kicked off in Arena 1 with London based DJ collective and record collectors, Six Million Steps, who served up a care free yet deep selection of disco and boogie, with TS Monk - Candidate For Love and Chicago’s Street Player (featuring that Louie Vega/Bucketheads sample) causing a hands in the air moment to close the set. The rest of night saw Max Graef deliver a sublime set in The Garden (following a hefty and oddly programmed Space Dimension Controller set), before even more disco in the form of Horse Meat Disco and Kon finished off the night.
A day later and we were met with potentially the only disappointing moment of the week as Moodymann cancelled his J Dilla tribute set resulting in an awkward gap before Lil Louis’ brought Chicago to The Void stage. Despite a slightly shorter set than the programmed three hours, the Chicago veteran pulled out all the stops for a seriously classy and tough upfront set, all done shirtless of course and through the meatiest sound system the festival had an offer.
Although the following night (Saturday) was littered with memorable sets, notably from the 22a Label Showcase in The Garden, it was out at sea that Saturday’s real highlight occurred as Motor City Drum Ensemble and Jeremy Underground went back-to-back for three hours of pure class. The Audio Asylum x Abandon Silence boat party saw the two DJs bring together a genious selection of rare groove, modern soul, disco, boogie, house and beyond, all the while battling the elements using record sleeves to protect the turntables from the wind. It was the last quarter of an hour of the party that will stick in my mind however. Jeremy dropping the timeless To Be In Love (Masters At Work), that was met with fists in the air and raised hands throughout the full 10 minute work out of searing vocal builds, keys and bouncing bass followed by Danilo drawing the party to a close with the imperious Atmospheric Mix of Kerri Chandler – The System, was up their with the best club atmosphere’s I’ve ever witnessed. The 15 minutes of “one more tune” chanting that followed whilst the staff desperately tried to usher everyone off the boat goes some way to saying that many others felt the same. If you were there, count yourself lucky.
The final night saw The Clearing, the largest stage of the festival, host Dr Funkinstein himself, George Clinton. The Parliament Funkadelic crew may have been a few members short for the show and there may have been some noticeable mic issues throughout the performance, but that didn’t take anything anyway from what was a characteristically wild show featuring supped up renditions of P-Funk, Give Up The Funk, Mothership Connection, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard On You and a host of others from the limitless George Clinton back catalogue. All that was left was for Moodymann, Jeremy Underground and Motor City Drum Ensemble, including half an hour back-to-back from the latter two, to bring the festival to a close.
Dimensions will forever book great acts, and will always have a setting that will be envied by promoters the world over, but at the risk of sounding cliché, it is the way that the atmosphere of the whole experience gels together these aspects that makes it the real success story that it is. See you next year…
Words by Alex Ogilvie
Images courtesy of Dan Medhurst and Ross Silcocks