Croatian Music Festivals – Is this the most exciting one out there? – words Amy Woolley

We’ve all been there: the long, shameful trudge back home from a music festival.

Dishevelled, exhausted and broken, cake in mud and in genuine fear of trenchfoot, your festival-induced comedown is making every minute an agony. You’re covered in mysterious stains, you smell like the acrid pit of a washed-out bonfire and horrified commuters are shaking their heads as you walk past.

By the end of your typical, hedonistic music festival, you’re usually in need of a lengthy holiday. Why can’t festivals leave you feeling rejuvenated rather than remorseful?

 

 

Croatian Music Festivals have changed the game in recent years. Touted as ‘Europe’s first arts and wellness island’, Obonjan is a new festival that aims to leave you feeling refreshed and strengthened. And you can forget about wading through swampy farm fields: Obonjan is an island off Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, enjoying full-o Mediterranean sunshine for most of the summer. It could well turn out to be one of the festivals in Croatia 2017.

Of course, Croatia has long been Europe’s festival hotspot. Since Soundwave and Outlook, each passing year has seen a new raft of festivals popping up on the Adriatic Coast. It’s not hard to see why. Mediterranean weather, unspoilt seas and fun-loving locals all make Croatia an ideal place to party.

Obonjan aims to take Croatian music festivals to the next level. Rather than squeeze in all their acts and performances over a long weekend, Obonjan’s range of live acts, DJs and talks is spread across July and August, meaning that you can visit when it’s convenient. The island is a fully-fledged holiday resort, with bars, beaches and restaurants, so there’s plenty to do even when you’re not dancing.

Although it’s not your typical festival, the line-up is up there with the best – Four Tet, Anderson .Paak, Kate Tempest and the legendary DJ Shadow are all set to kick off Obonjan in some style.

But Obonjan aims much higher than your average music festival. It stands out for its emphasis on artistic and spiritual wellness, with a diverse programme of talks, workshops and art exhibitions alongside the musical acts.

After all, once you’ve experienced the bleak hollowness of the post-festival week, a combination of no sleep, so sunlight and no nourishment, it’s natural to look for a festival experience that leaves you feeling whole rather than empty.

Taking place in a purpose-built geodesic dome, the talks are a key part of Obonjan’s mission to create a more rounded festival. East London’s modern mystics, She’s Lost Control, will host spiritual residences from their Zen Den where you can get lost in sunrise sessions and classes led by globally renowned practitioners such as New York’s UNLIMITED, The Numinous, and Guru Jagat. A special ‘Yoga for Hangovers’ class will ensure that you won’t have to rely on a fistful of paracetamol to keep you going, either.

A host of health and fitness activities should help to ensure that you do yourself some good. There’s a dedicated Wellbeing Centre, offering massage, meditation and yoga. Or you can take a kayak out to sea and explore the Dalmatian Coast for yourself. Krka National Park, one of Croatia’s most prized nature reservations, is just across the bay, with the Medieval settlement of Šibenik not much further. So it can be a real Croatian holiday too.

Most importantly, Obonjan has been organised with sustainability at its core. Low-impact design and environmentally-friendly techniques mean that the festival’s 44-year lease of the island is likely to last. And as you’d expect, the food on offer is all locally-sourced, sustainable produce, with five retailers set across the island.

With specialist staff recruited from EdenLab (a creative partner to the Eden Project) and international design firm Scott Browning should ensure that Obonjan doesn’t get spoilt. Having been uninhabited for eight years before the project began, the founders are keen to retain the island’s beauty. Obonjan are committing themselves to ensuring that there are never more than eight hundred people on the island at any one point, meaning it should never feel too crowded.

This is the future of the music festival – more sunshine, more activities, and more wellbeing, bringing the best aspects of fests together with the comfort and relaxation of the holiday. The Croatian Music Festivals scene just got even better.

Obonjan (www.obonjan-island.com/) will welcome guests from 28 July through to 6 September with prices ranging from €70 per night. A great addition to Croatian music festivals 2017. Prices include accommodation, access to the entertainment programme on the island and a free yoga class. Food, wellbeing and excursions are priced separately.

Getting there – from Split or Zadar airports, it is a 40-50 minute road transfer to Šibenik followed by either a ferry (40 minute) or speedboat (20 minute) transfer over to Obonjan. 

For bookings, call +44 (0)203 808 733, email concierge@otokobonjan.com, or book online at http://www.obonjan-island.com/

Croatian Music Festivals – Is this the most exciting one out there? – words Amy Woolley

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