Introducing... Harvo Jay
Harvo Jay are a young trio from the city of Osijek in eastern Croatia. Some of that city's youth grumble there aren't so many things to do in Osijek; rather than complain, singer/guitarist Hrvoje Dešić, bassist/singer Marko Pernarčić and drummer Šimun Padovan spent their time getting really good at their instruments and writing songs, making their own fun (they also curate Osijek's sporadic, multi-faceted arts parties, Slamanje). Diverse influences such noise rock, Talking Heads, grunge, psychedelic pop and post hardcore don't always come across in their recordings, such as their two EPs, released in 2015 and 2016, or on debut album Sok od agonije (Agony Juice). 'We like to say we play Turborock,' says Pernarčić mischievously, their hard guitar-based rock and sometimes screamed, simplistic lyrics overtly expressing emotion. They are perhaps Osijek's best band of the moment and in 2018 will appear at Nigdjezemska in Zadar (3 Aug), SuperUho Festival in Primošten (7 Aug), Hoomstock Festival. Time Out are happy to debut the video for their new single 'Mlijeko', which will soon join the rest of their material on Harvo Jay's Bandcamp.
There are almost no international bands visiting Zagreb throughout August, but this nearby music festival will cure the cravings of music crazed consumers. Taking place in Hum na Sutli, about an hour's drive north of Zagreb, next to the Slovenian border, this two-day festival costs less than 100 kunas but features very exciting names from the region's music scene. Ex Haustor frontman Darko Rundek visits with his Ekipa ensemble, playing songs from his nearly 40-year career. Other highlights include cult Rijeka singer Damir Urban and band, plus Belgrade psych-garage trio Dogs In Kavala. Don't miss Osijek’s Harvo Jay; they're one of Croatia's best alternative rock bands of the moment. The festival cooperates with nearby spa Terme Tuhelj and offers a free bus service between the festival site and pools. There's free camping and a bus service from Zagreb found on their Facebook page.
Let 3: 'I went to high-school in Bakar and we beat each other onto the school bus. It was great.'
Let 3 are Croatia's most provocative rock act. They come from Rijeka. Formed in the ‘80s, in the days of the city's lively post-punk scene, they have been challenging cultural taboos with their prankster-like behaviour ever since. Their shows are among the best rock concerts you could ever experience in Croatia, and for many young Croats, seeing a Let3 gig is a rite of passage. Founding members Damir "Mrle" Martinović and Zoran "Prlja" Prodanović still front the band. A curious and inspired soul, Martinović also appears alongside his wife Ivanka Mazurkijević in the experimental MrLee & IvaneSky band. But Martinović's artistic endeavours do not end there. For several years he was co-curator of Hartera, an alternative arts space located in a former paper factory inside one of the city's many abandoned industrial sites. The venue, and its Hartera Festival event, brought many famous names to Rijeka, including some of Europe's top DJs, and was cherished by the city's youth. Hartera may have closed, but Martinović is back co-curating another festival. Sailor Sweet & Salt Festival is again a multi-faceted endeavour, with Martinović ambitiously collaborating with Rijeka's science community to turn the sound of their city into a piece of visual art. The event is a key part of Rijeka 2020 Capital of Culture and has an exciting music programme attached. It begins on Friday 27 July with a live concert featuring Darko Rundek & Ekipa, Urban&4 and Mr.Lee & IvaneSky, continuing on Saturda
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
AKC Medika • Zagreb
Still going strong despite the municipal authorities' threat to dramatically raise the rent, this shrine to all things alternative grew out of Zagreb’s anarchist movement and is still run as a non-profit-making collective. A courtyard decorated by some of Zagreb’s best street artists has a café-bar on one side, and a concert venue-cum-club space on the other. Events range from anarcho-punk gigs to dub reggae DJs and cutting-edge dance music, with all kinds of other styles thrown in for good measure. Visual arts association Otomptom throw impromptu film evenings screening animation and shorts. Popular with a broad spectrum of Zagreb’s club-hungry youth, Medika is much more than just a gathering point for the grungey underground.
Arsenal • Zadar
Set in an expansive renovated 18th-century warehouse, Arsenal is unique in Croatia, in terms of size, ambience and the sheer variety of events and attractions. These include a gallery, cocktail bar and a popular à la carte restaurant upstairs. The spacious stage hosts world music, local klapa choral singing, name DJs and local bands. The sound is superb, thanks to installation by the Garden crew, and there’s a show of some kind most evenings. Tables between the stage and the bar allow for lounging, sipping and snacking from the extensive menu – the space is cleared for gigs and dancing.