Croatia's capital of Bass
The coast of Istria can rightly claim to be the earliest Croatian destination of the modern tourist era, its beautiful towns beaches made accessible to the elites of Europe via the country's first international rail connection. But in the century that's passed, improved transportation has gone on to reveal the whole of Croatia. Dubrovnik, Split and its islands took centre stage in the story of Croatian tourism, stealing the limelight from the sparkling northwestern peninsula. All that began to change ten years ago with the arrival of the international festival scene in Pula. First came Outlook Festival, the leading global event of the UK-born bass music scene, which incorporates drum n' bass, reggae, dubstep and subgenres. Next, its sister festival Dimensions appeared with a swish lineup of world-conquering house and techno DJs. Not only did the music of these festivals draw global plaudits, but so did the festival site, Fort Punta Christo. Its sprawling arenas were enhanced with lights, sound and production that marked these events as the best in Croatia and among the greatest in Europe. And when the press started to publish pictures of the festivals opening concerts, held within the spectacular backdrop of the city's astonishingly well-preserved amphitheatre, readers were amazed. Pula’s music festivals suddenly topped many's must-do lists. Within the decade, Pula became the third most Googled place in Croatia behind Dubrovnik and Zagreb. But the arrival of these two int
13 years and 6 albums in, multi-instrumentalist Zach Condon and his comrades in Beirut continue to combine indie, rock and pop elements with a huge dose of world musics, including the traditional folk and dance sounds of France, Italy, Mexico and other Latin American countries. Since day one, there's also been a hefty Balkan influence at present in their work. The band's name is obviously derived from the Lebanese capital, a city where musics and cultures collide. Such collisions in the Balkans have similarly enabled a massively rich stream of traditional musics to emerge and it's perhaps this familiarity that has made Beirut such a popular band in this region. The group's 2019 album 'Gallipoli' was recorded, as you might expect, in Italy and this European tour is undertaken to promote its new songs, like 'Landslide'
Croatia's best homegrown music festivals
Croatia is now famous for holding some of Europe's best-loved music festivals, its summer season on Zrce beach, at The Garden in Tisno and in Pula playing host to some of the most internationally well-known DJs. But festivals like Outlook, Dimensions, Love International, Ultra and others were not the start of the country's festival scene. Croatia has been taking advantage of its beautiful summers to hold homegrown music festivals for many years. Here are our picks of the ones you should look out for.
The best rock concerts in Croatia this spring and summer
Most of the music action is usually centred around Zagreb, but with their cultural calendar fuller than ever in the run-up to 2020 European Capital Of Culture, Rijeka also has some fantastic highlights in the coming months. Summer festivals are just around the corner and festival-famous cities like Pula share their event spaces with some great rock acts this year. Plan ahead so you don't miss out on any of the highlights.
Anderson .Paak plays final Dimensions opening gig in Pula Arena
Dimensions Festival have announced pioneering U.S singer and rapper Anderson .Paak as the headliner for the festival's 2019 opening concert in Pula. Held in the city's spectacular and wonderfully well-preserved amphitheatre, this opening concert has previously brought legendary names such as Massive Attack, Grace Jones and Kraftwerk to Croatia. 2019 will see the amphitheatre used as the opening concert venue for the very last time. A highly creative and individual talent, Anderson .Paak (pictured) makes a distinct, adventurous and often playful sound that takes in soul and hip hop. He has so far released three standout albums under the name, his fourth 'Ventura' is due to be released on April 12. He recently won his first Grammy (for Best Rap Performance on the track 'Bubblin') and announced he will be releasing yet more new material made in collaboration with hip hop legend Dr Dre. He will be accompanied at the Dimensions gig by his backing band The Free Nationals. Other names today added to the already released Dimensions 2019 line-up include Japanese techno chap DJ Nobu, frequent visitor Dan Shake, drum n' bass DJ Om Unit, Joy in Repetition label boss Eliphino, the often experimental Silvia Kastel, Youandewan, Christian Jayprovide and re:ni.
Discover Croatia's best nightlife venues
The best live music venues in Zagreb
Zagreb may not have the star-power of other European capitals but the city punches well above its weight when it comes to awesome music venues. From giant stadiums to scuzzy rock bars and sweaty techno clubs, let our experts point the way with this handy guide to Zagreb's best music venues. RECOMMENDED: music and festivals in Croatia.
The best clubs in Zagreb
Visitors don't always discover the best clubs in Zagreb. Lurking in unlikely locations, they're guarded by a close-knit circle of regulars and are largely unadvertised. But if you're looking for somewhere to party, you might be surprised at Zagreb's proficient offerings - behind the city's pretty facade lies a thriving subculture, whose holy houses are the post-industrial warehouse clubs scattered around the city. As with neighbouring capital Belgrade, Zagreb's party scene has a hint of Berlin about it, with its unwavering focus on electronic music and that special sense of camraderie that comes from co-raving for whole weekends. Here are the best clubs in the city. RECOMMENDED: more great nightlife in Zagreb.
Dubrovnik nightlife guide
Dubrovnik nightlife is unusual - while the city has an abundance of bars, clubs are relatively few. But what they lack in quantity, they more than make up for in quality. Clubs here tend to capitalise on the city's brilliant architecture; you might find yourself raving in a cavernous 16th-century fortress or between the stony walls of ex-quarantine barracks. Head to one of these places after hitting one of Dubrovnik's many spectacular bars, and you're guaranteed a special night. RECOMMENDED: more bars in Dubrovnik.
LGBT+ guide to Zagreb
The rainbow flag doesn't flutter quite as brilliantly in Zagreb as in nearby European capitals, but that's not to say Croatia's capital hasn't got a characterful queer scene of its own. Although compact, a range of organisations and queer-friendly venues work hard to make sure the city's LGBT+ scene is as inclusive and buzzing as possible. Read on for the best gay bars and queer spaces in Zagreb.
Recommended live music events and concert venues
Introducing... Mel Camino
Mel Camino, who hail from Velika Gorica, just outside Zagreb, have been active for the last 12 years, although out of the spotlight of the mainstream music scene. They have released four studio albums to date 'Kapadokija', 'Kolumbo svoje duše, 'Avion bez uzletne piste' and their latest 'Kad?Sad!', all of which can be heard on the group's Bandcamp page. The band has a free concert in Zagreb's Močvara on 29th November and to coincide with this they are releasing a video for their latest single 'Vidova'. Mel Camino's sounds cover ethno melodies, classic/alternative rock, electronic, or mixture of each. Support at the concert comes from Feral Instinct, an alternative metal band also from Velika Gorica/Zagreb and Solarov, a Zagreb band with rock and electronic influences.
Introducing... Kensington Lima
Originally from Split, Josip Radić is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He has lived in Zagreb since 2005 and Kensington Lima is his new band project. Radić's name may be familiar to existing fans of new Croatian music; he is one half of the extraordinary Valentino Bošković, alongside Branko Dragičević, who have released three spectacular albums since 2014. 'Valentino Bošković is a collaboration,' explains Radić. 'We are both the authors and performers. Kensington Lima is my solo songwriting project. And on the recordings so far, I also play most of the instruments. Some of these songs have been lying around for the last 15 years. After I turned 30 I decided it was time for me to record them.' In contrast to the sometimes zany, sci-fi quoting and humorous pop music of Valentino Bošković, Radić's Kensington Lima project is more of a serious, heartfelt affair. Kensington Lima is frequently acoustic, barren of the electronic or synthesizer sounds sometimes audible in the duo. In Kensington Lima he is clearly combining American country and rock music elements, often to stunningly beautiful and epic effect. 'Kensington Lima's music is informed by pretty much all of my influences, which range from The Beatles, early Pink Floyd, The Kinks, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Jackson Browne to more recent acts like Wilco, Beck. Or Dawes. They're one of my favourite new bands. It's that kind of west coast rock, Americana sound.' Their sound is not the only difference Ken
Introducing... Mimika Orchestra
Being eight years old, Mimika Orchestra needs much less of an introduction than other groups featured in this column, particularly to those in London where the orchestra was formed and performed over several years. But, for the last two years, the outfit's composer and leader Mak Murtić has been back in his home city, Zagreb. His prolific output and ceaseless musical adventuring has since had as significant an impact as anyone's in the city. Plus, Mimika Orchestra have just released their third album, the fascinating and accomplished 'Divinities Of The Earth And The Waters', so it's a great time to talk about them.Mak Murtić spent seven years studying and working in London where he became absorbed into a young and exciting music scene of infinite musical possibilities involving an infinite number of fantastic players. Some of the musicians he played and collaborated with there are among the most talked about names on the now internationally recognised, new London jazz scene, such as saxophonists Shabaka Hutchings and Nubya Garcia, and tuba player Theon Cross (whose brother Nathaniel Cross plays the trombone in Mimika). 'There were all of these jam sessions going on,' says Murtić, 'I don't think it was really my studies which inspired Mimika.'Meeting so many talents, Murtić's ideas and Mimika's line up expanded drastically; they are now an orchestra who can number anything between 12 and over 20 members in live performance, containing two singers, several brass instruments, st
Introducing... JeboTon ansambl
JeboTon ansambl are a much-loved group of street musicians, frequently found serenading the public of their home city Zagreb, especially in and around Cvjetni trg (Flower square). Their extensive line up can hold as many as 15 different musicians at any given time and even more appear on their debut album, the very recently released Širi Ljubav Ili Šuti (Spread Love Or Be Quiet) which is available to hear on the JeboTon ansambl Bandcamp page and on Youtube. Songs contained on the album have been written and honed in live performance over the last three or four years, the ensemble growing out of the JeboTon collective of Zagreb bands which currently includes Peglica i Komandos, Porto Morto, Sfumato and Trophy Jump. JeboTon also used to contain the much-missed bands Lobotomija, Druker, Hren, Prazna Lepinja, Spremište and Antidepresiv. Members of all these fallen heroes can now be found within the JeboTon ensemble or the current JeboTon bands. JeboTon ansambl is an acoustic outlet for these musicians, many of them playing in more electrified form within their other projects. Their sound is one of acoustic guitars, bass and hand percussion, backed with brass and violin, their vocals delivered collectively in rousing and largely optimistic manner. Like many, the group have ditched their home city of Zagreb this August in order to tour the coast, promoting Širi Ljubav Ili Šuti, bringing good vibes wherever they go and making healthy seaside-dwelling teenagers feel good about the