While it is clear that music is the life force behind EDM, no one can argue that dance music would not be where it is now without the driving force of its festival scene. From Woodstock in the early 1970s to the early days of EDC in Los Angeles in the 2000s to the massive underground festivals of Europe, music festivals have been deeply ingrained into the world’s culture.

In a new weekly series, EDM.com is shining the spotlight on lesser known festivals around the world that are on par with marquee festivals like Electric Daisy Carnival, Ultra, and Tomorrowland. These festivals are highlighted for the atmosphere, the people, and most importantly, the music and the talent that they bring. From Austria’s signature Snowbombing festival, to ZoukOut in Singapore, to Shambhala in Canada, this series will be your one-stop guide to some of the best hidden gems in the festival scene around the world.

This week’s pick is the Outlook Festival in Croatia.

Outlook Festival, which was started as a subsidiary of the Leeds event, SubDub, is a four-day long celebration of the soundsystem culture and bass music. Held just outside of the city of Pula in Croatia, on the shores of Fort Punta Christo, Outlook Festival is the largest soundsystem culture festival in Europe, and the festival strives to bring together the biggest names from the all walks of dance music.

The festival is based out of an abandoned Roman fort in Stinjan, Croatia, set right on the shores of the beaches surrounding Fort Punta Christo and perched right above the Adriatic Sea. All of these factors come together to create a festival ground and festival atmosphere like no other in the world, as stages at Outlook are created in various tunnels and in parts of the abandoned Fort Punta Christo.

With a location nearly unmatched by any other festival in the world, Outlook uses the beautiful scenery and the history surrounding the festival to its best advantage, creating eight, unique, distinct stages that all draw from its surroundings, in addition to a number of beach parties that go on during the week of the festival. The main stage of Outlook, the Harbour Arena, houses all of the live acts and headlining acts slated to perform during the festival, and the stage offers idyllic views across the ocean into the bay of Pula, in addition to a world class sound system, stage, and lights. One of the most impressive stages of Outlook Festival is The Moat - and it’s exactly what it sounds like. Taking over the moat surrounding Fort Punta Christo, Outlook Festival has turned the snaking moat into a 100 meter long strip with a stage at one end and the bass reverberating off the 7 meter tall walls to create a listening experience like no other.

Photo Credit: Outlook Festival

For those that prefer to be outdoors at festivals, breath easy, as Outlook Festival has three unique outdoor stages as well - The Void, The Clearing, and The Garden. The Void serves as the most “typical” festival stage at Outlook, set right outside the walls of the fort with a big sound system, LED panels, and an impressive stage. The Clearing sits on the peninsula between the campsite and Fort Punta Christo, offering the perfect reprieve for those making their way back to their camp, or the perfect stop before a long day at the festival. The Garden was introduced to Outlook in 2014, and it offers a quieter stage setup away from the noise of the Fort in a secluded clearing.

Photo Credit: Outlook Festival

With an abandoned fort sitting on the festival grounds, Outlook takes full advantage of everything it offers, with three stages set-up inside of the walls of the fort - Mungo’s Arena, Noah’s Ballroom, and Fort Arena 1. Previously an open air arena for the Romans, Mungo’s Arena offers a fully-immersive, atmospheric festival experience. Fort Arena 1 sits at the entrance of Fort Punta Christo, where attendees are surrounded by the 20 foot tall walls that encase the fort.

Days at Outlook Festival are spent at the numerous beach and boat parties held right on the campgrounds held from midday until sunset, when the parties moves back up the hill into the fort. Think BBQ, snorkeling, sunbathing, and numerous other water activities while listening to some of the best sun-soaked music in the world. While other festivals typically book up-and-coming artists for smaller midday events, Outlook Festival is not like a typical festival. Both headlining artists and up-and-coming stars play the beach and boat parties at Outlook, offering a chance to catch a headlining set from the likes of Skream or Jamie xx on the most intimate of venues - on a ship out at sea.

As a bass music festival, Outlook leaves no stone unturned looking for the best, possible talent to play at the festival. For those expecting a set from the likes of mainstream bass music heavyweights like Excision and Skrillex, the lineup at Outlook Festival may come as a disappointment. Outlook defines bass music as, “underground dancefloor music, whether it be house, techno, dubstep, reggae, dub, hiphop, garage, grime, electronica, etc.,” and they are the best of the best at finding it. Outlook welcomed the likes of Busta Rhymes, Kaytranda, Stwo, DJ EZ, Groove Rider, amongst many others in 2014, while the 2015 rendition of Outlook will feature performances from Run the Jewels, Dusky, Noisia, Araabmuzik, SBTRKT, and much more.

Outlook Festival will be held September 3rd to 6th in 2015, with the opening concert being held on September 2nd. Tickets are available for purchase still here, so grab yours now, and don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind festival experience.

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