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The story behind Unknown Festival – Croatia’s newest party

Sam Moir

UnknownImage 300x199 The story behind Unknown Festival   Croatias newest partyThis September, hundreds of electronic music fans will descend on Rovinj, North Croatia’s sun-kissed coastline for the inaugural Unknown Festival.

The debut event sees promoters behind the esteemed Hideout Festival, The Warehouse Project and Field Day join forces to celebrate the last days of summer in the hedonistic and immersive party paradise Croatia has gained a reputation for.

The seeds of this event actually started while working on Hideout Festival in 2010. Mark Newton, director at Sound Channel, approached the Hideout team with the concept.

“We loved the site,” Mark says, “But it didn’t suit the Hideout event so we bounced ideas around until the end of last year when we had a solid idea of what the concept for Unknown would be.”

With both fan bases located in the North, they opted to bring a London partner on board. Enter Tom Baker and the Field Day team. Croatia’s idyllic landscape and the opportunity to put on a party outside of the capital is what attracted Tom to the project.

“It’s a beautiful place – you can swim, lie in the sun and see your favourite bands and DJs in a delightful holiday environment,” says Tom. “It’s not far from the UK or other European cites and, from a Field Day perspective, we’re very excited to host and be part of something outside of London.”

With Unknown concluding this summer’s festival season in Croatia, it now means there are a host of events along the coast of the Adriatic Sea. Next month sees the world’s biggest dance festival franchise, Ultra, bring EDM superstar Avicii to Split.

“Croatia has unlimited potential to become a major destination for the next generation of party-goers and travellers alike,” says Kirsty Smith, co-founder of The Warehouse Project.

“The country is beautiful with not only areas ideal for festival sites such as Novalja, where we host Hideout and Rovinj, Unknown’s new site, but also cities such as Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik hold so much history and culture, as well as being located on the picturesque Dalmatian coast.”

The success of Croatia’s current festivals now means the nation is a serious contender to music meccas, such as Miami and Ibiza. Kirsty points to the music policy as a key factor in making Unknown stand out from the ever increasing number of festivals setting up in Croatia.

“The music policy is very different to everything, our event has a really good balance of band and DJ-based talent, with both electronic and live acts performing. We’re really happy with the talent we’ve secured with it being a first year festival,” she explains.

Label partners involved with the festival range from Berlin-based house connoisseurs Innervisions, Michael Mayer and his Kompact label from Cologne and Erol Alkan’s Phantasy label, who Hideout have worked with in the past.

The launch of Unknown will also see some of the most exciting brands across the UK unite for its debut, from Secretsundaze, Bugged Out, Drop the Mustard, Mono Cult and Zutekh.

“The music policy is simple,” Tom says. “It’s all about bringing together DJs and bands that can sit alongside each other, make you dance and are visually engaging.”

These range from live shows from Actress, Clean Bandit, Disclosure and Django Django to DJ sets from prominent DJs such as DJ Koze, Floating Points, Jamie XX and Richie Hawtin.

And what can a festivalgoer heading to Unknown expect to walk away with?

“I’d like to think they’ll leave excited and inspired having seen some of their favourite bands,” Tom says, “Hopefully they’ll have discovered some new music and had a great holiday in the sun.”

For more information visit www.unknowncroatia.com

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