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Croatia music festival guide

Your guide to this year’s music festivals, with line-ups, exclusive interviews, playlists and travel guides for festivals across Croatia

© Benjamin Eagle

To get you ready for the festival summer, we’ve put together your ultimate music festival guide for 2016. Swap your wellies for sunblock, and the summer-long scene of sunbathing, swimming and hedonism, all framed by the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic sea. 

Check out the best Croatia music festivals using our festival calendar. You can win festival tickets on our competitions page and discover artist line-ups and interviews with bands and DJ's.

Plan your festival summer

Croatia music festival calendar
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Croatia music festival calendar

Plan your vintage season at the seaside with our 2016 festival calendar, month-by-month, right through the summer.

The 10 best festivals in Croatia
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The 10 best festivals in Croatia

Of all the exciting things to happen to Croatian tourism over the last decade, the boom in boutique music festivals has come as the biggest surprise. A surge in party-loving punters flocking to the Adriatic has generated a cool buzz around the country, inspiring promoters near and far to set up temporary camp along its famously sun drenched coastline. And when it comes to Croatian festivals, you really do have the best of both worlds: incredible line-ups are matched by equally impressive locations. The choice here is massive – from sizzling hot boat parties and raves in abandoned forts to live music in the heart of Croatia’s historical cities. With over twenty festivals taking place this summer; it’s harder than ever to pick the right one. To help you decide, we’ve shortlisted ten of the best. RECOMMENDED: More Croatia music festivals

How Croatian festivals nail a good boat party
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How Croatian festivals nail a good boat party

RECOMMENDED: Your definitive guide to this year's music festivals Croatia does a lot of things well when it comes to festivals. The sound systems blast out at levels that would have your local council in fits, the beer is cheap and the sun nearly always shines.  Best of all are the boat parties that have become an essential and unforgettable part of any Croatian festival experience, not just for us punters, but for DJs and promoters, too.  The formula is simple: gather together some heavyweight speakers, a handful of DJs and a couple of hundred party people. Then stick them on a boat (with a bar, of course) and set off towards the horizon for a party that everyone on board has no choice but to join.  As Dave Harvey – director at Love International (which takes over from Garden festival this year) – explains: ‘It’s a captive audience: once you’re on the boat, you’re not going anywhere for four hours. It’s very rare these days to have so many people in one confined space. It’s not like in a club, where people go off to have a fag outside; the energy is very contained. You’ve got to work pretty hard not to have a great time!’  Musically, anything goes on a boat. Want to hear a DJ drop Roachford’s ‘Cuddly Toy’ to a crowd of grime-heads at Outlook festival? You can on a boat party (and yes, we’ve witnessed this). How about watching the sun slink away as the music switches from house music to mellow pop? Yep, that’s happened too: ‘I don’t think I’ll ever forget DJing on the Fu

Win tickets to Soundwave Festival 2016 and a Minirig Speaker
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Win tickets to Soundwave Festival 2016 and a Minirig Speaker

Boutique festival Soundwave is a heavily dance-influenced affair now in its 8th year. Set in legendary festival destination Garden Tisno, a beautiful fishing village where the Dalmatian Coast meets the Adriatic and the punters meet the Soundwave(s), this is a perfect opportunity to relax and sightsee as well as party until the sun comes up. It's an easy hop by boat to the nearby Kornati islands, a short walk to the pretty fishing village of Tisno and the beach itself is clean, the water cool and clear. Akala heads up this year's eclectic and exciting line-up, which lists big names such as Gentleman's Dub Club, Riot Jazz and Craig Charles. Other acts like Mala are returning for the second or third time. There are some relatively new faces too, so there's a chance you'll hear something you've not yet heard. A live art and film programme has been added to this year's festival, making this something of an all-rounder.  We're offering you the chance to win tickets to the festival on 4 - 8 August, along with an engraved Minirig - the mightily powerful, portable festival speaker worth £130. To enter, simply log in to Facebook and like the Time Out Croatia page and this post.     

Find music festivals by month

May
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May

May 2016 sees the start of the Croatia music festival calendar, with the giant EDM-bash Zrće Spring Break and the impeccably hip Lighthouse Festival

June
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June

June 2016 is packed with Croatia festivals, with events like Hideout, Zagreb's city fest INmusic and Love International.

July
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July

July is a stellar month, with old favourite Electric Elephant kicking things off, and hip-hop leaning Fresh Island bringing the noise to Zrće

 August
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August

With Soundwave, Sonus and Dimensions leading the pack, you're guaranteed to find something to suit your tastes.

September
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September

The Croatia festival season ends with a bang. Outlook Festival returns to Pula for more bass-facing antics, and Dekmantel checks into Tisno for its first outing.

Festival news and features

Michael Kiwanuka confirmed for INmusic 2017
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Michael Kiwanuka confirmed for INmusic 2017

British singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka has been confirmed as a headliner for INmusic 2017. Delicately soulful Kiwanuka, most definitely in hock to Bill Withers and Al Green, topped the BBC's Sound of 2012 list and picked up a Mercury nomination for his debut album. One of the most popular rock festivals in the region, INmusic has put Zagreb definitively on the music map. Each year organisers coax the best modern rock bands, cult heroes and world musicians to Lake Jarun, a beautiful venue on the outskirts of the capital. Michael Kiwanuka joins Arcade Fire and Alt-J as confirmed acts for 2017. The full-line up is yet to be announced, but previous years have included a great crop of headliners, including PJ Harvey, Florence + The Machine, Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys, Placebo and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. Early bird tickets are between €27-€40, ensuring InMusic remains one of the best-value events in Europe. Tickets are available here.      

Alt-J join Arcade Fire as INmusic 2017 headliners

Alt-J join Arcade Fire as INmusic 2017 headliners

Alt-J have been confirmed as headliners for INmusic 2017 in Zagreb. One of the most popular rock festivals in the region, INmusic has put Zagreb definitively on the music map. Each year organisers coax the best modern rock bands, cult heroes and world musicians to Lake Jarun, a beautiful venue on the outskirts of the capital. Mercury-prize winners Alt-J will be playing from a new anticipated album, and join Arcade Fire as confirmed acts for 2017. The full-line up is yet to be announced, but previous years have included a great crop of headliners, including PJ Harvey, Florence + The Machine, Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys, Placebo and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. Early bird tickets are between €27-€40, ensuring InMusic remains one of the best-value events in Europe. Tickets are available here.    

Love International's 2017 line-up announced
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Love International's 2017 line-up announced

July's inaugural Love International Festival, the successor to the legendary Garden Festival which finished for good in 2015, was a huge success. It returns to Tisno next summer for round two - and the first wave of names has just been revealed. Love International's 2016 line-up (Joy Orbison, Eats Everything...) read like a who's who of today's top sonic tastemakers, and this year's programme looks set to be just as good, with a genre-blurring mix of house, disco, funk and techno. Ben UFO, who played at Love International 2016, will return to Tisno for what promises to be a highlight. So far, he's joined by The Black Madonna, Horse Meat Disco,  Palms Trax, Optimo, Craig Richards, Paranoid London, Jazzanova, Horse Meat Disco, Leon Vynehall, Mood II Swing. More names are yet to be announced. Love International will run from June 28 - July 5 2017, and you can already book your ticket here. 

Defected Festival 2017 line-up announced
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Defected Festival 2017 line-up announced

This legendary Ibiza party swapped shores last year, defecting to the Adriatic coast for five days of solid house hedonism. It returns to Tisno in 2017 with a sizzling hot line-up. Defected In The House, Strictly Rhythm, Glitterbox, Classic and DFTD will host a range of different stages and events during the festival. The Main Stage, Beach Stage and Boat Parties will send reverb fluttering over the Adriatic waves, while Barbarella’s Discotheque hosts heady after-hours clubbing. No corners are cut on the line-up front: the headliners this year are MK, Eats Everything, Dennis Ferrer, Roger Sanchez, Todd Terry, Julio Bashmore  and Soul Clap. The full list: MK, Eats Everything, Dennis Ferrer, Roger Sanchez, Todd Terry, Julio Bashmore, Soul Clap, Joey Negro, Spen, Karizma, Riva Starr, Sonny Fodera, Sam Divine, Sandy Rivera, Crookers, Luke Solomon, Josh Butler, Franky Rizardo, Purple Disco Machine, Eli Escobar, Dario D’Attis, The Shapeshifters, John Morales, Simon Dunmore, Man Without A Clue, Deepah Ones Pete Gooding, Dennis Cruz, The Deepshakerz, Get Down Edits, Sef Kombo, DJ Liciousl, Blacksoul, Andy Daniell, Wez Saunders, Henry St. Social, Brown SIDQ, Tom Bug, Peznt + Many More TBA    

First wave of Suncebeat 2017 line-up revealed

First wave of Suncebeat 2017 line-up revealed

SuncéBeat festival finished less than two months ago, but organisers are already looking ahead to summer 2017. The event is confirmed to be returning to sun-drenched setting The Garden, Tisno from 19 - 26 July, and the first wave of acts have just been announced.  SuncéBeat's eighth edition will continue its tradition of world-class house, R & B and disco. So far, the line-up is topped by David Morales, the internationally renowned, Grammy-winning house DJ. His emotional 2016 set paid tribute to the late Frankie Knuckles, and had the crowd in raptures. He's joined by DJ Spen and Karizma, as well as a string of US stars including LA's Doc Martin and revered hip-hop/ house producer Spinna, and Paris's finest, Jeremy Underground.  More names have yet to be announced, but if you've already got your mind set on summer 2017 you can snap up early bird tickets now.  Here's the full line-up so far: David MoralesDoc MartinSpinnaDanny KrivitDJ SpenKarizmaJosh MilanBlack MotionJazzuelleJeremy UndergroundSandy RiveraTerrence ParkerGreg GauthierJamie 3:26Ge-OlogyJohn MoralesRich MedinaRahaanMr MendelMarcel VogelAlexander Lay-farGroove AssassinMad MatsBiggerAfshinRonnie HerelAndy DaviesTerry JonesCraig SmithSouldynamicNeil PierceDavid BaileyJonny MillerDavid FioreseMark StoneSteve ButlerGavin KendrickLil StevieJames MorganBen BrophyNatasha Kitty KattBob JeffriesJimmy AllenGordon Mac  

Sonus Festival announce 2017 line-up
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Sonus Festival announce 2017 line-up

Sonus Festival returns this year to celebrate its fifth birthday with five days and five nights of partying, with a line-up featuring house and techno heavy weights from around the world. Renowned beach playground Zrce is home to Sonus, which is a relatively new face on the ever-growing Croatian festival scene. Topping the bill are  Marco Carola, Richie Hawtin, Loco Dice and Ricardo Villalobos, as well as underground hero Sonja Moonear. They're joined by this impressive  line-up: Adam Beyer - Apollonia - Archie Hamilton - Binh - Chris Liebing - Dorian Paic - Enzo Siragusa - Fabio Florido - Hito - Jackmaster - Jamie Jones - Jesse Calosso - Joey Daniel - Joseph Capriati - Karotte - Leon - Loco Dice - Marco Carola - Meat - Monika Kruse - Nick Curly - Pan-Pot - Ricardo Villalobos - Richie Hawtin - Richy Ahmed - Rødhåd - Sam Paganini - Seth Troxler - SHDW & Obscure Shape - Sonja Moonear - Tale Of Us - The Martinez Brothers - Vril Live Sonus 2017 takes place between 20 - 27 August, and you can already book your tickets here.  

Hideout Festival 2017 line-up announced
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Hideout Festival 2017 line-up announced

The first wave of names on the line-up for Hideout, one of Croatia's leading dance music festivals, has just been announced. The festival is set to return to party beach Zrce next summer for its seventh year.  The line up includes: Major Lazer Soundsystem, Marco Carola, Stormzy, Diplo, Jamie Jones, MK, The Martinez Brothers, Hannah Wants, Hot Since 8, Rodhad, Giggs, Elrow presents: Rowlympic Games, Bicep, Darius Syrossian, David Rodigan, Disciples, Dusky, Heidi, Kurupt FM, My Nu Leng, Paco Osuna, Redlight, Richy Ahmed, Skream, T.Q.D. (Royal T / DJ Q / Flava D), Alan Fitzpatrick, Barely Legal, Craze, Denis Sulta, DJ Yoda, Doorly, Friction, Hype B2B Hazard, Icarus, Jasper James, Mak & Pasteman, Mike Skinner, Ryan Elliott, Theo Kottis and The Dreem Team. More acts will be announced in the new year, but you can book your tickets on the Hideout website now. The festival takes place between 26 June and 30 June 2017, near the small town Novalja on Pag island. 

Soundwave 2017 line-up announced
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Soundwave 2017 line-up announced

Soundwave, one of Croatia's longest-running summer festivals, will return for its ninth edition this summer, and the first wave of names has just been announced.  Heading the line-up is iconic funk, soul and jazz pioneer Roy Ayers, who'll be joined by the UK's most influential DJ Gilles Peterson. Mercury-nominated trio GoGo Penguin, Yussef Kamaal and Horse Meat Disco all feature on a characteristically eclectic line-up.  Set in legendary festival destination Garden Tisno, boutique festival Soundwave is a heavily dance-influenced affair, but it's also a perfect place to relax and sightsee as well as party until the sun comes up. It's an easy hop by boat to the nearby Kornati islands, a short walk to the pretty fishing village of Tisno and the beach itself is clean, the water cool and clear.  Soundwave have also announced that they'll be commissioning street artists from across Europe to transform the Garden Resort into an even more spectacular setting. And the open air cinema will return, screening independent and Croatian films - so Soundwave 2017 is set to be as diverse and laid back as usual.  The festival runs from July 27 - 31st, and you can already book your tickets here.   

Croatia to get new festival Labyrinth Open in 2017
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Croatia to get new festival Labyrinth Open in 2017

A new festival called Labyrinth Open will take place in Croatia from July 8 - 11 next year. The four-day festival will offer a varied programme of music, workshops and activities in Omiš near Split. Labyrinth Open is run by Labyrinth Productions, the company behind Belgium's Extrema festival and Antwerp's Labyrinth Club. Speaking of the venture, Ugur Akkus, founder of the project explains: “It was always the plan, but I waited for the right time and more importantly the perfect location.”  As plans unravel, the first of the line-up announcements are set to be revealed early next year with an array of international DJ’s and live performances from across the scene. Registration for tickets is now open.  

Watch Outlook Festival 2016 highlights in new video
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Watch Outlook Festival 2016 highlights in new video

If you were at Outlook Festival this September, you'll know that it was as wild and wonderful as ever. The official highlights video has just landed - so, as registration for 2017 opens, you can relive the party. Set in the abandoned Fort Punta Christo in coastal city Pula, the ninth edition of the festival continued its tradition of celebrating the best in dubstep, reggae, drum & bass, hip-hop and more, and it all opened with Damian Marley's unforgettable set in Pula's gargantuan roman amphitheatre. Watch the best bits in the video below:      If that's got you counting down the days until the next Outlook Festival, you can sign up for early bird tickets now. Register on the Outlook 2017 website before 20 November to get discounted tickets, which go on sale on 21 November. Last year, tickets sold out in record time, and with next year being the 10th birthday party, they'll probably get snapped up even sooner.     

Music festivals in Croatia

Lighthouse Festival
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Lighthouse Festival

Lighthouse Festival is one of a kind. It’s as much about underground electronic music as it is about crossing borders; led by the Viennese team behind Pratersauna, it’s an international effort, with crew coming from all over Europe (Munich, Zurich, Venice, Rijeka). The line-up is wide-reaching and impeccably cool: Austria’s Elektro Guzzi promise their signature post-punkish mix of analogue and electronic dance music, while Michal Zietara interrupts his residency at the Suxul Club in Ingolstadt to bring his sound to Lighthouse. And then there’s Black Coffee, whose brand of Afropolitan House is fresh and infectious.

Zrće Spring Break 2016
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Zrće Spring Break 2016

Line DJ Juicy M, YVES V, Djs From Mars , Novka, Kid Chris, Rubin, An7onio, Colin May, Exotic Dancers, Led Robot and more As its name suggests, Zrce Spring Break demands the kind of behaviour you’d reserve for your girls/ guys Zante holiday, and is the perfect way to release all that exam tension. Now in its fifth year, the festival has gained an international following of hardcore party-goers, and is a primary suspect in Croatia’s ever-growing reputation as Europe’s hedonist capital. It takes place at two of Croatia’s most buzzing clubs, Aquarius and the open-air Kalypso club, both on Zrce beach on the northern island of Pag. It extends out into the Adriatic, too, with regular, wild boat parties on offer. The line-up includes DJ Juicy M, who’s opened for Black Eyed Peas and Skrillex; DJ and producer Yves V, who’s international acclaim earned him a spot in the annual DJ Mag Top 11; and DJs From Mars, Youtube celebrities and masters of the mashup scene. Tickets are purposefully student-friendly, with package deals saving you loads of cash. The standard one – a steal at £131 – includes a private apartment, unlimited transfers and food discounts, and can be upgraded to include a boat party ticket and entrance into the beer pong tournament (yes, there’s a beer pong tournament). Spring Break is basically an extreme version of that age-old fail-safe combination: sun, and fun.

Deboto
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Deboto

You may never have associated food with electronic music, but you’re about to have a reason to. Taste meets sound in Deboto, an unlikely, innovative event that takes over the streets of Sibenik. Local and international DJs will offer their blends of jazz, electronic, and other cutting-edge music – all to the tune of delicious food and quality wine. The exciting line- up includes Berlin-based electric orchestra Brandt Brauer Frick and innovative musician and composer Aron Ottignon, with DJ names spanning from the eclectically-minded, groove-loving Alex Barck to hip hop trickster Chris P Cuts. So it’s a feast for the ears, a treat for the stomach, and a banquet for the eyes: the Šibenik Region is outstandingly stunning, with views over the crystal-clear sea, a wealth of lush national parks, an array of idyllic islands and traditional towns drenched in history. One of the most remarkable Deboto stages is St. Michael’s Fortress, and one of the most memorable events is the boat party, which departs from Skradin, with a traditional risotto party in the harbour.

Electro Dance Madness
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Electro Dance Madness

Laser shows! Day-glo! EDM! This four-day extravaganza marks the start of the Croatian spring break, bringing some top mainstream beatmakers to the summer party beach of Zrce, Pag Island. Line-up TBA.

INmusic festival
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INmusic festival

PJ Harvey, Florence and the Machine, and The Coral are among the rock behemoths at Zagreb's INmusic Festival

Love International
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Love International

The Garden Festival waved goodbye last summer, but expect more full-on fun from Love International

Hideout Festival
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Hideout Festival

Cutting­ edge dance music in a hip, beachside location

Electric Elephant
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Electric Elephant

House, tech, balearic, disco and funk beats over five sun-kissed days.

Fresh Island Festival
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Fresh Island Festival

Three days of hip-hop and R&B on a stunning Croatian island is what you'll find at this festival

SuncéBeat Festival
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SuncéBeat Festival

SuncéBeat is for the slightly older but equally enthusiastic party crowd who have been raving for years.

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