Born off the back of the success of it’s older sibling, Outlook, over the past eight years Dimensions Festival has cemented itself as one of the globe’s premier underground music festivals joining the dots between all things house, techno, jazz, funk, disco and beyond. Earlier in the year, 2019 was announced to be the final edition of the festival at the famed Fort Punto Christo. Built at the end of the 19th century with breathtaking views of the bay of Pula and the Brijuni National Park islands, the Austro-Hungarian fort offers one of Europe’s most unique festival locations with a selection of incredible natural open air stages and a coastline to be envied. To say the loss of the venue was met with a collective sadness from past attendees and those who never managed to get their act together to experience it first hand, would be an understatement.
Opening up on the Wednesday at the arguably even more impressive Amphitheatre in Pula centre, the festival welcomed a headline slot from US export, Anderson Paak. Given the festival’s bread and butter of house and techno and the rest of the opening concert lineup featuring detroit legend Jeff Mills’ live show alongside Afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen, a brand new conceptual performance from Object and Dimensions favourite Hunee, it did seem like an odd headliner billing but the American went on to deliver one of the festival’s highlights. Joined by a full compliment on stage, an energetic set lit up the 2000 year old venue before ending with a heartfelt tribute to Mac Miller.
Beyond the opening, the full lineup for the ‘final dance’ in the fort may have been a bit short of live acts, a point grumbled at by many, but beyond that it was one which spoke to all corners of the electronic scene. Be it minimal house and techno, drum and bass, dub, deep house, electro or beyond, all elements were presented and carefully curated.
But perhaps one of the festival’s strongest points is the contrasting environments experienced through day and night. By day, two stages on the idyllic beach play host to chiller sounds with the likes of Manchester hip-hop duo Children of Zeus, London based jazz collective Steam Down, funk officenado Dâm-Funk and Brilliant Corners regular Donna Leake all standing out amongst this year’s performances. Think scorching sun, crystal clear water, ice cold beer, a relaxed atmosphere and an incredible soundtrack… Not bad eh?
Fast forward to night time, the sun’s gone down, the temperature’s dropped (slightly) and the music and buzz across site has ramped up significantly. Across the course of the week it was sets from Francesco Del Garda on the impeccably sounding Void stage, Binh, Jane Fitz in The Moat, Paula Temple and Thursday in The Garden with Leeds based LGBTQ party Love Muscle residents Michael Upson and Lucy Locket that stick in the memory. Come Sunday night however, the real musical highlight of the week arrived as the man credited with turning house music deep, Larry Heard, took to the stage to present a new live show alongside Eglo Records songstress Fatima and French jazz pianist Paul Cut. Stringing together classics including What About this Live and The Sun Can’t Compare alongside lesser known tracks from his now fabled back catalogue, the Mr Fingers leads trio created a special set for an emotional finale in the fort.
After 8 glorious years at Fort Punta Christo, the future for Dimensions Festival is very much uncertain. The rumour mill of what will happen next and where the event will find it’s future home, or homes, is in full swing. The minds behind the scenes will do well to find something that offers what the now legendary fort has presented over the years but be sure to keep your eyes peeled as if they come even close to doing so, we’ll all be in for another treat.
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