Outlook Festival 2018 Highlights
As the dust settles on another epic edition of Outlook Festival, they’ve once again cemented their position as one of the best bass festivals on the planet, and for good reason too.
Unique settings, selectors and soundsystems, coupled with a mind-blowing opening concert set in Pula’s infamous 2000 year-old Arena; 11 years strong and the event has stayed true to its roots, consistently inspiring artists to bring their A-game and creating an incredible atmosphere for bass-loving aficionados.
Here are just a few highlights from this year’s festival…
The Drum&BassArena boat party
What happens when you set sail with Randall, Storm, DLR, Visionobi, LowQui & Joe Raygun at the helm of a sold out boat at sunset along the stunning Adriatic coast? Pure magic, that’s what.
As guests arrived to board the vessel you could sense a couple of days in the fort had started to take effect. Slight fatigue in the air as we entered the second-last day of the festival, but as soon as the engines started and Randall pressed play on the first of many mind-blowing tracks, it may as well have been day 1 with a renewed sense of energy and excitement in the air.
Randall managed to erase every last remnant of a hangover with his signature selection of jungle rollers, each even weightier than the last, ensuring there was no shortage of obscenities and gun-fingers thrown about. With Visionobi & LowQui both hosting the set in their unique styles, smiles were essential, vibes were through the roof. This is how every boat party should begin. This is what it’s all about.
Storm then followed with a serious schooling, unleashing some stone-cold classics from the likes of Digital & Spirit, Calibre and loads more, her energy just as infectious as the killer cuts she was unleashing. There’s something special about hearing crisp drums through those crisp sound systems, and Storm knew it too, bouncing away with a signature smirk on her face, loving every single minute of it, just like the crowd was.
As Storm ended her set with Digital & Spirit’s Phantom 2018, the sunset casting a magic glow on the boat and everyone on it, it was hard to imagine how this could possibly get any better.
Stepping in for Total Science who couldn’t make it to the event this year, his presence was already a huge force at the festival with ‘Looking In From the Outside’ (his highly-anticipated forthcoming Dispatch Dubplate) already a staple in many sets. From the moment he pressed play, down to the very last tune, he once again proved why he is one of the most well-respected artists in the scene. The kind of artist who plays something different every time you see him. This was a seriously suave finish, rolling into the docks with all these legends on board after a picturesque sunset was not a moment we will soon forget.
Special shout out to the other boats we passed along the way, exchanging friendly fire each and every time (we won though, of course). The boat parties are a staple at Outlook Festival, with the soundsystems just as crisp as they are on the stages. Massive thank you to everyone who joined us for our vibey sunset session!
25 Years of V Recordings on the Garden Stage
Celebrating 25 years of one of drum & bass’ foundation labels at Outlook Festival was always going to be special, and that’s exactly what it was. Soundtracking the Garden’s lush backdrop were Artificial Intelligence, Bryan Gee, Dillinja, Jumping Jack Frost, Safire and more.
Seeing Marky bring his signature sounds with the absolute Don that is GQ hosting the set was an emotional one. Two legends bouncing off each other on stage was a real moment.
Top it off with Serum closing the set with Visionobi & LowQui and you’ve got yourself a perfect finale packed with cricket bats, gut-punching bass and hideous bass faces. What a night.
Dispatch vs. Symmetry on the Void Stage
Another highlight of the festival was seeing Dispatch and Symmetry going toe to toe on the infamous Void sound system. If you’ve ever stood in front of this beast of a system, you’ll know of its sheer breath-taking power, and you’ll also know this is a label night more than worthy of this incredible system.
With Break rolling out a multitude of dubplates, Dispatch head honcho Ant TC1 unleashing a mean selection like it was nobodies business, as well as DLR, Zero T, Beta B, Boston and Dispatch favourite Kyrist all presenting stellar selections, this was the stuff of dreams for any D&B-loving adventurers.
Exit Records x Metalheadz x Star Warz on the Garden Stage
When you’ve got the likes of Exit Records, Metalheadz and Star Warz together for an evening, you’ve got a lifetime of knowledge and experience going B2B for a proper schooling session.
Imagine how good the selection is when you’ve got dBridge going B2B with Goldie, or Zed Bias going B2B with Fixate, Blocks & Escher bringing their signature sounds, or Ant TC1 unleashing the fury. We imagined it, and it was better than we ever could have imagined.
Doc Scott & Randall closing the stage was a real moment. Two titans going B2B, the finesse and level of selection was mind-boggling… Salute to each and every legend who graced us with an incredible performance.
The Beach stage
The Beach stage is a must for any Outlook wanderer. This is where you can wash away all your previous night’s sins with some easy listening ranging from dub, roots, reggae, to grime, hip-hop and dubstep. The Beach stage is often where you’ll find yourself discovering new artists, and doing some serious head-nodding. Everyone needs some downtime at festivals like these, and the Beach is where it’s at.
Some standout moments were DJ Marky B2B Patife, Zero T & Bryan Gee repping Liquid V right up to sunset on opening night, Levelz bringing their infectious energy on day 2, plus the wicked beats of Johnny Clarke & the Dub, Kat Brown Sugar, Numa Crew and more on day 3, followed by some murky sonics with the Deep Medi crew on the final day. Maximum vibes.
Andy C Presents on the Clearing
No matter how many times you’ve seen him play, Andy C is guaranteed to floor you with his sheer wizardry behind the decks, and his set at the Clearing was certainly no exception. Accompanied by Tonn Piper, this was a masterclass in mixing and selection, in true Andy style.
Recruiting the likes of Noisia, Randall & GQ, SpectraSoul and more on the night, vibes were high from start to finish. Once again showcasing an incredible roster of artists, this is what Outlook is about – something for everyone, no matter what day it is.
Each and every soundsystem
From the boats, to the beach, stages and the depths of the moat, each and every soundsystem at Outlook Festival was powerful and crisp enough to give you goosebumps.
Outlook’s unrivalled attention to detail to the technicalities of each soundsystem is what makes it so special (oh, that and it’s one of the most unique festival sites on the planet).
Other festivals take heed – this is how music should be heard. This is how music should be celebrated.
Thanks for the memories – roll on next year…
Feature image courtesy of Callum Chaplin