Sonus festival, which is traditionally at the end of August on famous Zrce beach in Croatia, was one of those events that we just didn't want to miss. Since Sonus celebrated the 5th anniversary this year, the organizers did their best to curate the biggest lineup thus far with names such as Carl Cox, Adam Beyer, Apollonia, Jackmaster, Jamie Jones, Loco Dice, Maceo Plex, Ricardo Villalobos, Richie Hawtin, Sven Väth and many others. We gathered our thoughts and memories into this review that will hopefully enlighten you our experience.
Photo by: Felix Hohagen
We headed to Novalja one day before the official start of the festival, still slightly tired of our SolvdMag summer event, which was the night before at the club K4 and it was freaking awesome. After we slept for a couple of hours, we loaded our car with all the necessary stuff and we started our five-hour trip from Ljubljana towards the final destination, island Pag. We did miss the road that would lead us towards ferry which would potentially shorten our trip and we've also witnessed an accident (luckily no one got hurt), but other than that, our journey went peacefully. We arrived in Novalja on Saturday 19th August around 11 am. That left us enough time to relax and to recharge our batteries for the Sunday's launch of the festival.
Photo by: Elephant Studio
We woke up in a bit windy weather but that didn't stop us to taste the salty Adriatic sea nearby our apartment. The sandy beach with clear blue water was just what we needed. After we treated our bodies with a nice dose of vitamin D, it was also time to heat up the grill and start our vacation with delicious barbecue. The opening day at Sonus got us highly anticipated all day long set from French trio, Apollonia. Our expectations for their set were quite big and there was also a moment where a guy felt scared like Kevin from the movie "Home Alone" when he was expecting Harry and Marv (the robbers). He used the opportunity to say the famous quote: "This is it, don't get scared now!" After we got our wristbands, we headed straight to Papaya where Apollonia was already warming up a nicely filled dance floor. As usual, Dan Ghenacia, Dyed Soundroom, and Shonky impressed us with their outstanding music selection which spread smiles and positive energy across the majestic club. The sun was heating up but the wind kept the right balance and we kind of had a sense of connectivity with people on the dance floor and DJ's on the stage. It's refreshing to see how the guys "feel" each other; while Dan is mixing in a record, Shonky is challenging him with his cut, and Dyed is already preparing some unheard gems that they've carefully picked for this occasion. We ended the first day of the festival with a strong set from techno master Rødhåd and with magical Maceo Plex, whose music took us into new dimensions. He ended the night with "Ricardo Villalobos - Dexter" which brought hands-in-the-air moment and the dance floor was just full of emotions; it was a brilliant ending of the first night.
The morning after "rewarded" us with a slight cold and a headache which unfortunately made us miss some of the festival's happenings. Despite the great offer of quality music from artists such as Nick Curly, Pan-Pot, Floorplan aka Robert Hood, Mano Le Tough and our regional acts Mimi, Felver, and Homeboy, we decided to relax few more extra hours before heading back to the Zrce beach. Relaxed and partially filled with energy, we returned to the Zrce beach. Our destination was Aquarius Club where duo Tale of Us once again proved that their special style of music places them amongst top techno acts. We also managed to capture a few moments with Adam Beyer, who gave us exactly what we'd expect from Drumcode boss; raw, straight four to the floor techno. Photo by: Felix Hohagen
The third day of Sonus started straight after Beyer's set and that meant only one thing - it was time for FUSE after hours with Mariano Mateljan, Archie Hamilton, and Enzo Siragusa. The local talent Mariano opened the morning session with his stunning mixing skills and sophisticated music. With his groovy and overall very tasty music, Kalypso woke up and danced into the Tuesday's aurora which was surrounded by a pleasant breeze. Smiles on the faces, friendly conversations, people dancing, connecting, ... all this could be seen and felt among the club's trees. FUSE's leading force Enzo Siragusa continued Mariano's story adding his flavour and touch which received applause and whistles from the excited crowd. We saw Mano Le Tough, Richie Hawtin and other DJ's joining this gathering and sharing the positive vibe. Archie Hamilton finished the morning in a style which was our finish line and we slowly returned to the apartment to get some well-deserved power nap.
A few hours later, we've headed down to Papaya, where we had an interview with Jon Rundell. It was a really lovely, relaxed chat where Jon revealed us some interesting things that you can read HERE. We joined Jon on stage while listening to the most energetic DJ in the universe, Carl Cox, who drained out our last atoms of energy. Nightly schedule brought us excitement with dynamic b2b set from The Martinez Brothers & Seth Troxler. Our energy level was quite low and for some reason, the trio didn't truly impress us. Perhaps it was our exhaustion or maybe we've had too many expectations, but the vibe was just not right. That gave us no other option than returning to the apartment for a decent rest.
Wednesday delivered us another thrilling moment with Jesus Loved You boat party. We saved enough strength to listen Slovenian legend Valentino Kanzyani and upcoming talent Archie Hamilton. Despite slight sound issues which stressed organizers at the beginning, we've had the privilege to enjoy the wonderful boat excursion mixed with quality music. The sunset, the musical conversation between Archie and Valentino, the friendly atmosphere and sea surrounding us everywhere... that moment could last forever. It was refreshing to see that organizers brought a doctor on board which made the whole experience even more pleasant. Luckily for everyone, he didn't have to do anything.
This exceptional boat experience gently turned into the night which lead us to Kalypso where we've listened to the sounds of the Romanians representatives, Rhadoo and Raresh. We can easily say that the duo was our highlight of the Sonus Festival. Raresh's set was out of this world and we are not the only one who said that. We wish that we could share those feelings with you. Who knows, maybe Raresh will feel generous and he'll share his set with everyone; that way you'll able to taste a fraction of our adventure. Photo by: Sonus Festival
Since we're only humans and we don't have unlimited energy, we've had to make sacrifices and we've decided to miss Papa Sven's set. We've returned to Zrce beach around two in the morning which was right on time to hear our native hero and Diynamic's head honcho, Solomun. Papaya was extremely packed and that made us move to Kalypso where we've caught Sonja Moonear and her brilliance. She perfectly warmed up for Ricardo Villalobos who needed quite some time to find the right rhythm and energy. It was after six in the morning when Ricardo shinned in all his greatness and he opened up another legendary segment of Sonus - the final after-hours chapter with Club Der Visionaire. Villalobos showed his skills and shared decks with Sonja as well, but somewhere during the week, we've emptied all of our energy supplies and that meant only one thing; this adventure ended for us. Photos by: Elephant Studio
In the end, we'd like to say that the Sonus Festival is really a great experience with the best underground electronic music that someone can offer. It was refreshing to see that organizers took an extra care of the safety during the whole week handing around a booklet with all kinds of interesting advice. Despite the fact that public transportation in Novalja is on a high level, we were quite sad to see many people using their own vehicles while they were intoxicated and therefore putting in risk not only themselves but also other participants. The critic doesn't appeal towards Sonus organizers but to each individual who should think more wisely about this serious topic. We'll be definitely coming back next year with a bigger team that will allow us even fuller experience.