Outlook Festival 2012 @ Fort Punta Christo, Croatia 30 Aug - 3rd Sep

Our resident Low End Lowlife headed to Croatia to celebrate Outlook's 5th Birthday

Sep 1st, 2012 at Fort Punta Christo, Croatia / By Matthew Bayfield
Outlook Festival 2012 @ Fort Punta Christo, Croatia 30 Aug - 3rd Sep This year saw Outlook Festival turn five. Through its humble birth in P├ętrcane, squabbles with local fishermen and nomadic teething troubles in its second year, it would appear the family has finally settled down, with 2012 being the third year of the festival housed within the walls of Fort Punta Christo in Pula.

This year promised to be the biggest yet, with the double celebration of that first major milestone of surviving a half decade on the summer calendar along with winning the 'Best Overseas Festival' at the 2011 Festival Awards. So it was that time again: to wave good bye to Britain (and shaving equipment) and head out for some sunshine and bass music of all strokes; from reggae to dubstep, drum & bass and all those other fabulous ones that people keep making up obscure names for... And maybe some jelly and ice cream too.

After a particularly moistened thirty hours from London on the Sunshine Bus, which in terms of humidity and hygiene could probably give a Vietnam veteran flashbacks, it was straight into the fray on Thursday lunchtime with the Hit & Run Boat Party, representing the North, courtesy of the likes of Compa, Chunky, Skittles and organiser Rich Reason, who got in early with a solid gold entry in the lairy shirt contest.

Thursday night saw Fat Freddy's Drop effortlessly take the Harbour stage with their mutant strands of reggae, dub and funk and whatever else felt appropriate beautifully executed through their jam band aesthetic... Sort of like a bass weighted Grateful Dead. Fresh from the boat party Compa kept things dark and heavy in Ballroom, a grand circular arena with a stage some ten or more feet above the crowd. However the evening had to really go to the double header of Black Box's audio siege of the Fort Arena, and Swamp 81 tearing down the unique sonic bottleneck of The Moat for the second year running.

Friday again started with another boat party (without doubt the jewel in the Outlook crown) featuring a selection of Archetype Artists including Thelem, DJ Madd, Killawatt and Seven, with emcee duties handled by UK dream team The Four Owls, on loan from High Focus Records. Noticing the deck was swaying substantially more after disembarking the boat it was down to the Harbour again for the (quite literally) mind boggling double header of Max Romeo followed by dub master Lee 'Scratch' Perry. The night was then brought down in typical style at the Dock Stage by some of Rinse FM's finest, including Plastician and P Money, who have become to UK bass music what tracksuits and Cubans were to Jimmy Saville. Pivotal.

Saturday brought the storms, and, after missing the Wheel & Deal boat at lunchtime (alas due to gin, not the weather) it was time for some classic hip-hop on the Harbour with legendary Hieroglyphics crew members Souls Of Mischief and The Beatnuts reminding us what's really important in hip-hop in a time ruled by Soulja Boys, Tinchy Stryders and various other shit that sounds like brands of children's footwear. Outlook has always had a fine tradition of quality hip-hop music, and it was good to see this year was no different. Disclosure (pictured), a duo who have generated a ridiculous buzz in under twelve months easily justified their hype with a fabulous set too, and it was certainly one of the most talked about things around the campsite the next day alongside the quality of the food on offer, which, much like last year, was absolutely atrocious. I'm not sure how the caterers manage to mould a block of salt to look like a piece of pizza, but more power to them, the profit margins must be phenomenal. Anyway, slice of heart attack in hand and with the rain and thunder whipping down more like a weekend on the Farne Islands than the Brijuni's, the Harbour Stage was fast becoming a health and safety sad acts' wet dream, with areas of localised flooding, slippery surfaces and sharp rocks a plenty for all. Thankfully, as the legendary Digital Mystikz took to the stage with front man Sgt Pokes, most ravers decided to throw caution to the wind, and it was nothing short of joyous to see everyone soggy and skanking in puddles to the peerless selections of a group who are a foundation block of the dubstep sound. There was literally no need to move from the Harbour for the rest of the night either from then on, courtesy of a blisteringly cinematic set from Joker and an as ever unhinged set from Skream, ably assisted once again by Sgt Pokes.

Sunday of course brought about the advent of the last day of the festival. There were no need for tears however, as the sun was back with a vengeance, the rapidly drying pools of clay made the whole place look like it was sculpted from toffee flavoured Angel Delight, and down on the beach at the Dub Smugglers Soundsystem there was a party to be had courtesy of Mungo's Hi-fi, who for my money are the finest reggae collective currently grafting anywhere on Earth. There was also sterling support from Dub Boy, who definitely gets bonus points for dropping some Willie Williams. Then it was down to the docks to catch a ride on the infamous Skream & Plastician Booze Cruise. To call it pandemonium would almost be an insult. Upon boarding Sgt Pokes informed all that swearing would not be tolerated and neither would drinking from the right hand. For a man who already had four whiskey apples from the bar, two of which carried in his right hand, things were looking hazy. They then more or less got worse. With motley crew members including P Money and Sparka acting as plain clothes officers on deck, and Pokes spotting offenders from the bridge, no one was safe from being forced to sink numerous drinks and of course, as with any good drinking game, the drunker you got, the worse you were at playing. The Booze Cruise has become the stuff of legend at Outlook, and with antics such as a whole boat doing the 'Thriller' dance, Dismantle dropping the 'Countdown' theme tune (to which everyone had to finish a drink) and Plastician winning the recently made up Bearded Tune Of The Festival with Phil Collins 'Two Hearts' this year proved to be another one to remember...

...In saying that the next two or so hours were a complete mess. There might have been music, there was probably slurring of speech and definitely some falling over. Either way I came-to, still mildly shitfaced and caked in mud (like I said, definitely some falling over) with a gin and juice in hand (old habits die hard) whilst Distance took the Dockside soundsystem to the cleaners as his Chestplate label locked with Kryptic Minds label Osiris Music for a bit of an epic sound clash. It was then a stagger, stumble and skank to The Fort where Quest wrapped up both Bearded's evening and festival perfectly...

So there it was: Outlook Festival 2012. I can't remember half of it, and the other half will stay in my mind long after the tan (and mud) have faded... So if you want to get all technical about it that means the whole festival was completely unforgettable. Happy 5th birthday all!

www.outlookfestival.com