One of the top events on the Croatian festival scene this year (and all preceding years!) is the excellent Soundwave Festival. Although the event will be celebrating its 10th birthday this year, sadly 2018 will also see the very last Soundwave Festival take place. But don’t be too sad – instead, snap up some tickets and join the party to say farewell to Soundwave!
Concluding what has been an epic odyssey on its tenth birthday – making it one of the longest running festivals in Croatia – the sublime Soundwave has very much always taken its own adventurous path, staying true to its original roots built across a beautifully diverse music spectrum whilst weaving a mesmeric holiday and festival into a glorious weekend. The last Soundwave is an opportunity to return to the idyllic Dalmatian coastline one more time and savour some of the world’s finest live artists and DJs from across broken beat, reggae, afro, acid jazz, hip-hop, soul, funk, drum and bass and much more.
Here we have an interview with Soundwave Festival co-founder, Noah Ball, to discuss the reason behind calling time on Soundwave, what drew them to start a festival in Croatia in the first place, and what they’ve experienced in those ten years in Croatia.
Interview with Soundwave Festival co-founder, Noah Ball
1. We’re so sad to hear next year will be the last ever Soundwave! What was behind the decision for calling time on the festival?
It is sad isn’t it! We’ve had the most amazing ten years out in Croatia and it’s been a dream come true to see Soundwave grow, exceeding all expectations in the process. I think anyone who has ever attended the festival, ourselves included, look back on it with very fond memories and this is the main reason that we’ve decided to make the tenth event the final one.
There is always a temptation to keep pushing these things once you have built them up over such a long period of time and invested too much into them. We imagine it’s like a child you who have bought up and invested huge amounts of love, time and money into – once they reach a certain age and are ready to leave home, you don’t want to see them go!
But Soundwave has been so special, so it would be criminal of us to squeeze everything out of it and be left with something only half as special as it once was. Instead, we feel it’s time to say farewell and keep those amazingly fond memories., and to finish on what is going to be an amazing high.
2. Can you share any highlights (we’re sure there will be many!) that will be taking place at Soundwave in 2018?
We won’t be doing anything too different for the final Soundwave as we’ve had a winning formula since day one – lovely people, lovely music and a lovely location – we’ll have this in abundance again this year.
One thing that will be very special, is seeing both the original Soundwaver’s (the ones who were there 10 years ago who have many more responsibilities these days!) come back and join the new wave of soul music lovers. We’ve always had a fairly diverse age group, but this year it’s going to be the broadest, which in our opinion makes for a pretty special event!
As always, we’ll have those idyllic boat parties and the hedonistic late night after parties at Barbarella’s which are always stand out moments, and having recently finished booking in the full line up, we anticipate a few performances being big highlights – especially from Loyle Carner, Submotion, Riot Jazz, Jordan Rakei, Calibre, Scruff, Marky… the list goes on!
3. The boat parties! What stories can you tell us from the boat parties?
Over the years we’ve had some incredible DJs play on the boats including Mr. Scruff, Channel One Sound System, Bonobo & Craig Charles, but occasionally we also manage to cram on bands such as Riot Jazz and Quantic and his Combo Barbaro. These ones were pretty special as you can imagine! The boat parties are an essential part of any visit and really help form a big part of the festival’s experience.
4. What are the differences between the festival site today in Tisno, and the site (in Petrcane) where Soundwave was first held?
Both are magnificent locations. Petrcane was a beautiful place, but The Garden is perfectly suited for Soundwave. It’s located far away enough from residential areas that we don’t have to worry about sound limitations (something that we experience at Petrance) and is bigger than Petrcane, so we can get more people on site, plus there are nice places to eat, drink and stay in.
The Garden boasts a beach unlike Petrcane, which has become a key area of the festival and is where most people like to relax during the mornings and early afternoons before they reach party mode. It’s pretty idyllic and the water is crystal clear and a perfect remedy for those sore heads.
We’ve had great times at both venues, but it’s right that we enjoy the final ever Soundwave at our home of recent years, The Garden in Tisno.
5. What drew you to head to Croatia to start running a festival?
I was asked by the owner of The Garden (who was leasing the site at in Petrcane at the time) if I would like to put something on there which was more of a mellow vibe than the other festivals happening at the site. Both myself and Rob Waller (Soundcrash) were regularly booking soul, hip hop and jazz artists such as of Bonobo, Cinematic Orchestra, Mr Scruff and more for our respective parties in the UK, so we got our heads together and came up with Soundwave. We haven’t looked back since the first event, and it has run all the way through to the 10th anniversary this summer.
6. How does running a festival in Croatia today (in 2018) compare to when you started out?
Things are more organised – back in the day we’d be driving up and down Croatia picking up artists from various airports miles away from each other! There’s obviously a lot more competition and choice – there are lots of festivals here now through the summer.
We have got a lot more of experience now which helps in the general running of Soundwave, every year things get easier. And it is still exciting when you put the line up together and see it build up over the year, especially as this is the last one! Croatia is a beautiful place and attracts great music minded people, it is hard to imagine this being anywhere else.
7. How does it compare running three different festivals in the country, in two quite different locations (The Garden Tisno, and Fort Punta Christo near Pula)?
It’s interesting as Tisno is a much smaller place than Pula and the size of the festivals reflect this. Soundwave is 2,500 people vs. Outlook and Dimensions which are 15,000 & 10,000 respectively.
It’s nice to experience both – Outlook and Dimensions are bigger productions so you see huge international acts play to huge audiences which is always spectacular. Soundwave is special in different ways as you get to see amazing artists and bands play in a beautifully intimate setting to a couple of thousand people, so they are very different experiences.
Tickets for Soundwave Festival
Tickets cost £129 for 5 days (club and boat parties are extra) and can be purchased at www.soundwavecroatia.com.
Soundwave Festival 2018 Line-up
Artists revealed include Loyle Carner, Mr Scruff, Romare (full live band), Jordan Rakei, Calibre, Submotion Orchestra, Horse Meat Disco, DJ Marky, Sons of Kemet, Channel One, Josey Rebelle, Alexander Nut, Mahalia, 22archestra, Children Of Zeus, Anchorsong, Riot Jazz, Yazmin Lacey, Al Dobson JR, Tenderlonious, Kaidi Tatham, Chunky and many more. For more details on the line-up, please see: Soundwave 2018 Line-up Announcement in Full.
And don’t forget to check out who’s playing when at the legendary boat parties!
Soundwave Festival – the 10th and final edition
Thursday 26th – Monday 30th July 2018
@ The Garden Resort, Petrica Glava 34, 22240, Tisno, Croatia