Outlook Festival 2012: A New Outlook On Festival Life

Often prescribed to the average raver at heart as the medicine to rejuvenate a lacklustre summer, Outlook Festival , despite pouring rain and muddy hills, did provide soothing, relentless and just what the doctor ordered filthy drum n bass, jungle, break beat, reggae and dubstep for the soul! … so much so that the muddy patch on my fallen ass and gash on my knee (consequences of trying to skid down a muddy hill) just didn’t matter after 21 hours (more or less, stamina depending) of uninterrupted, unadulterated skanking.

I lasted a respectable 20 hours, which started when I arrived from Pula airport on Saturday September 1 and headed straight to meet my lads at the festival site for the Black Butter boat party with the Rudimental boys and John Newman. I partied hard (having to play catch up missing the first two days of the festival) with Rudimental producer Amir Amor for three solid hours who said, after seeing a packed boat go mental for their set (rounding off with UK Number 1 summer anthem ‘Feel The Love’ ) that Outlook was “up there with the very best festivals”. 48 other rocking boat parties were up for grabs, and with too many to cover, quick shout outs go to Outlook boat party sessions by True Tiger, Rinse FM, Broken Beat Assault and the Jamaica Party (celebrating 50 years of Jamaican independence) which will be reminisced over for many a year, or at least until Outlook Festival 2013′s next raves on the waves.

Next stop, the fort. Amazing to look at, even better to dance like a madman in, with acoustics and an atmosphere that are attractions in their own right (and where Dimensions Festival goers following Outlook come down especially to for techno and electro treats). Rooms from the ‘Dungeon’ to the cylindrical bass funnel ‘Ballroom’ were filled to the brim with back to back heart pumping sets, and for me it was a couple of hours of Mungos Hifi’s dub-reggae onslaught that truly settled the score – Outlook had become my official new summer festival home.

In between all of this, one might overlook Outlook’s other appetisers; a chill out tent for the laid back faithful (and bodies in recovery/reboot mode), a campsite which was typically dirty (we all have festival toilet horror stories so no need to divulge here) but unexpectedly offered pockets of mini-raves and much more of a lively community than others I’ve encountered (just ask young ex-farmer Rupert who quit the harvest life but won the award for friendliest Outlooker after buying us a beer and asking if we’d like to rave with him after holding his space in a cash point line), and lets not forget Pula town – down the road if you want a little break from the festival life, with a few local Croatian sites and munch that beats the traditional stomach ache slop on the festival menu. Then you’ve got the surrounding beach, which also has parties and break out sessions throughout. I managed to catch snippets of all the above. In fact the last memory I have of Outlook is watching the sunrise on the beach at my 20th hour with the last ravers standing; a couple of thousand of them, killing any sense of intimacy – but who really cared at 7am in the morning?

 I’m missing a large chunk in my review of the festival here, and that’s the remaining stages and harbour, all stocked with more DJ goodness – hours upon hours of Skream, Congo Natty, Goldie, Andy C, the Newham Generals and more which kept me and my fellow raving buddies moving from nightfall to sunrise. Oh yes, the withdrawal symptoms have been dire.

 I hope you enjoyed the highlights and my Outlook experience may just give you a new outlook on festival life. This Dj buffet caters for the rave up purists to the V Festival/Hackney Weekend regulars looking for that extra punch. So if that’s you, I will have to question why Croatia is not in your diary for summer 2013.

Photos: Tekla Balfour 
Illustration: Tom Pritchard

This review was also published in Live Magazine

Interviewed by Ushine Ishine

SO! It's been a while since my last blog post, having spent the last year and a bit grinding away as a Content and Community Manager at Livity - a youth engagement agency based in Brixton running some pretty astounding projects for young people across the UK (and the world in fact).

Want to know more? Here's a lovely round up in an interview I did for Ushine Ishine, the Youth Mentor and Production company: