Barbs and Boat parties to Sunrise Sessions: Love International, the definition of Pure Bliss
From boat parties to Barbarellas followed by Sunrise Sessions, it is hard to know where to start when explaining the magic that was Love International Festival in Croatia. The 8 nighter flew past like a colourful adriatic dream of enchanted Gardens.
From day one the intensity of this dreamy event was higher than expected. With 24 hour music, yet picturesque settings, it was easy to get lost in the dreamland that was The Garden Resort. Apart from the quaint little town of Tisno, the site was surrounded by nothing but the clearest turquoise sea and mountainous green countryside, scenes that continued to take my breath away even by the last day.
As you set off on each boat party you get even more immersed in the amazing adriatic scenes whilst aboard authentic wooden boats, with spot on sound systems and excellent selectors. We were lucky enough to hop on a few of these voyages. Palms Trax on the Argonaughty was a lovely introduction to our week but it was the Midland B2B Octo Octa boat that really kicked off. You would think four hours on a boat would feel long but boy did it fly by. The DJ’s were buzzing off eachother dropping non stop bangers under the Croatian sunshine. Back at the site no one wanted to get off the boat, especially as they finished of their set with the cheeky jungle tune Total Science – Make Me Feel, and by god did we.
Barbarellas is now possibly my favorite Club ever. Taking a 10 minute shuttle bus from the festival site to even more into the middle of nowhere, with nothing but adriatic coastal views for miles and miles, you come to this open air club, stripped back to a few lights, disco balls and another smashing sound system. It’s got the vibes of how I’d imagine the origins of Ibiza clubs back in the day before the rich and famous got their hands on it. From 2am to well past sunrise, 7 nights in a row – this was routine. Authentic adriatic clubbing at its finest. With the impressive selection of each nights lineup it never got tiring. No night was a disappointment. The first night of Optimo b2b Young Marco gave an impressive introduction to the club. Their unique set that didn’t hold back, establishing from the start that it was going to be a week to remember. As you got stuck into the night they were dropping everything from rock tracks to Madonna into Abba. Other Barb highlights for me are of course Craig Richards B2B Ben UFO as well as the founders themselves for Fridays Futureboogie night which was nothing but banging groovers from start to finish. Love International creator, Dave Harvey knows exactly what he is doing with this whole show and it was definitely reflected in Friday’s set. The Barbs week finale was a hip shaking set from Horse Meat Disco, rounding off with a giant conga line at sunrise.
Although the festival itself only had three stages they were more than enough. Staying on site meant that our little mobile home was rattling all day from the constant bass, the sound was incredibly clear. The garden stage was the biggest but still managed to feel intimate, hosting incredible sets from the likes of Saoirse and Joy Orbison.
The Beach Stage was like something I have never seen before, literally on top of the water shelling out all day and night. This wasn’t the kind of beach you come for a peaceful swim yet the vibe was still somehow super relaxed throughout the day. During the sunshine festival goers bop about on lilos in the refreshing sea to nurse their comedowns from the night before, getting back on it and doing it all again. At night time the stage was lit up as its pinks and blues lights reflected off the water. Techno legend Avalon Emerson’s set there was special, mixing the likes of Grooves Is In The Heart into two stepping percussion techno.
A little bit more hidden away but easy to find if you follow the noise is the Olive Grove. A real little den, this enchanted stage burst a special charm. Yet again each set there was never the same as before. Midland’s Friday night set there was another musical highlight of the week.
For the party people that didn’t want to stop after Barbarellas there was the Sunrise Sessions. Picture this: 6am sunshine glisterning of the clear blue water through pine trees draped in hammocks and the buzz of unrested people. It was Glastonbury stone circle on holiday, throw in a DJ set, every morning. Add Craig Richards, Gideon and Felix Dickinson playing a dub set and you’ve got yet another moment of pure bliss. Even Mr Love International, Dave Harvey, had his toddler dancing around the booth.
For the festival that just kept on giving it is also worth mentioning the magic of the last days Secret Island Party. We boarded The Argonaughty again, this time for the Wild Renate DJ’s keeping the party going by playing some absolute classics from Dr Beat to Ghostbusters, there was no holding back on the last day. Once at the (not-so-secret) island we were each given a lovely little pack lunch and the crowds chilled amongst the shade of the trees whilst others refreshed themselves with a swim. Meanwhile the soundsystem got going and before we knew it as the afternoon sun began to set and people were on their feet for the final party. Too soon we had to board the boat for two more hours of boogie before the end of the festival drew closer. As The Argonaughty sailed back to The Garden and the sun disappeared behind us, the realisation that it was almost time to go back to reality started to kick in.
Love International really did welcome everyone to the party with open arms. The intimate affair is for everyone and anyone with a passion for dance music and true understanding for the culture that comes with it. Although weary from the week I could have happily had a few more nights at Barbs because really I just didn’t want it to come to end. Little over a week later and now it feels like a hazey yet extraordinary dream.
Poppy is new to lo key, but her opinions are our opinions lol. She also plays better Techno than her boyfriend. Check out the lovely playlist she’s put together for all our perusal – enjoy and subscribe to our YouTube channel…