added: 29 Aug 2013
// gig date: 29 Aug 2013
reviewer: Alasdair Byers
End Of Summer Session in Novalja
We've seen more shuffling than a Michael Flatley reunion tour, parties on pirate ships, sessions in stadiums, been battered by epic thunderstorms and similarly biblical ATM exchange rates, interviewed happy DJs, hungover DJs, DJs on boats, DJs on tour and even DJs on the matter of facial hair so by the time Music-News arrived into Novalja for Sonus Festival, We knew for a fact that no conception apart from an immaculate one was off the cards.
Sonus festival is held on Zrce Beach, Novalja. Proclaimed by many a sweatily drunk journo to be 'The Ibiza of East Europe' yet you don't need a bottle of Belvedere or a girlfriend that looks like Rita Ora to understand why: Four presence-punctuating open air superclubs lie on a stretch of pebble beach some 300m long, with pre-game semi colons provided by a two further bars between the main venues. Two of these, Croatian monster Papaya and tropical paradise Kalypso provided the muscle behind the sleek outfit that was the first installment of Sonus.
It may be new in town, but there was nothing junior about the line-up. at Sonus. Tech House favourites Chris Leibing & Nick Curly set the tone for an apologetically driving, tech-house dominated festival, with the bassy rear set by gamechangers as pleasantly varied as DJ Sneak the Cocoon Heroes outfit and Meat . Programming was tight: there were no long changeovers, no music dips, and plenty of graphics. Additionally, a tech-driven flyer helped consistency throughout: all in all assisting the crowd as they moved into their departure phase
From dinner parties to dubstep raves: itís the crowd thatíll make or break the event. Here Sonus is onto a winner. A mixture of leggy Italians, affluent East Europeans, focussed-on-fun Germans and a few Lost Brits: a group of whom Music News runs into beach bar Noa at the end of the beach. Strobes on the sea, mainstream house playing (Noa's not part of Sonus, incidentally) and conversation peppered by the screams of people now wishing mid-air they hadn't bungee jumped toward the sea in the pitch dark. What do they make of Sonus? "It's like an amazing secret. There are hardly any Brits here!" Interestingly though: itís often majority crowds that cause problems. Without delving into stereotypes, too much of just one nationís attendance is never a good thing. At Sonus the 4/4 might have been consistent but the crowd were wonderfully varied.
At midnight, stepping onto the purple-light drenched sand of the playground that is Zrce beach, you couldn't fail to be hit by the vibe of this place: Sonus Festival exudes mellow. Not the slightly self-conscious escapism of some 'laid back' festivals, but a straight up air of professional nightlife. The lights, the sound, the bars are slick without being showy, a late summer wind comes off the beach knocking into clubbers in sync with rolling kick drums and sunrise starts making its way up over the beach and gradually the mostly-Italian dominated dancefloor makes its way onto crammed, disarmingly relaxed buses back to Novalja, ready for the boat party, for the pre-drinks, or the next big set in just a few hours time.
Love Novalja? Love Croatia but fancy something a bit different than the known-name festivals out here? Sonus is for you.
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