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Outlook Festival & Opening night

 Photography of Outlook Festival by David Gasson

Review of Outlook Festival written by Hannah Smith

Outlook Festival’s director, Joe Barnett, maintains that the events ability to group different genres of music together is what makes the festival unique. “No-one has the same parameters of music. It’s allowed us to stay relevant” .This was more than evident during the opening night of the Outlook Festival’s 11th edition.

An Eclectic Mix

An eclectic mix of artists performed throughout Wednesday night including Bonobo, Children of Zeus, Goldie and David Rodigan, bringing Pula’s ancient Roman amphitheatre to life for the ninth consecutive year since being invited by the town to host an opening night at the 2000 year old venue.

Children Of Zeus

Beatmaker Konny Kon joined one of the most in-demand soul singers of recent times and the other half of Children Of Zeus, Tyler Daley, on stage and gifted proceedings with a more soulful sound. The duo performed tracks from the 2018 album, `Travel Light` and delivered a sound they themselves describe as “future classic soul for sophisticated hood rats”

Children of Zeus Gallery

David “Ram Jam” Rodigan MBE

British Bass Culture legend David “Ram Jam” Rodigan MBE performed a celebratory set accompanied by the critically acclaimed Outlook Orchestra to mark his impressive 40 year career in the music industry.

Date and location of Outlook Festival

Outlook Festival / Pula / Croatia / 05 – 09 .09.2018

Special Guests

The show included some very special guests, including Sharlene Hector who performed an electric rendition of ‘My Boy Lollipop’ and a beautiful cover of Alton Ellis’ hit ‘I’m Still In Love With You’ to an enthusiastic crowd.

David introduced Bitty Mclean to represent the ska era, describing him as “one of the great Rocksteady reggae singers of all time.”

The Journey

The iconic selector, DJ and broadcaster curated this musical mission taking the audience on a journey through the years of Reggae music from the early days of rock steady and ska,before highlighting the creation of dancehall and lover’s rock finally exploring the electronic, more contemporary genres of dubstep and jungle.

The Influences

The night was a fitting tribute to the force of nature that is David Rodigan. The British icon shared a musical gift which showcased the sounds from a small Caribbean island with huge universal reach and created a true celebration of massive cultural importance, depicting the influences of a British subculture combined with the soundtrack of Jamaica.

The Heart Of Outlook Festival

The opening nights performance demonstrated how this unique genre of music is capable of bringing together people from all communities and walks of life whilst maintaining a continuous, ageless and indeed, classless appeal, a sentiment that is at the very heart of Outlook Festival.


Simon Green aka Bonobo shared tracks from his sixth album with Ninja Tune Records, Migration, an album which has been described as masterful and magisterial. With a backdrop of the Arena and a visual masterpiece of graphics and lasers, Green was joined by a four strong string section Mike Sturgeon on woodwinds, Matt Coleman and Ryan Jacobs on trumpet and trombone, guitarist Ewan Wallace, drummer Jack Baker and the remarkable female vocalist Szjerdene Mulcare.

Bonobo Gallery

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After Hackney born and bred Szjerdene graduated university, she relocated to Amsterdam where she released her first body of work, ‘Patchwork’, a four-track EP.
Shortly after its release, Mulcare was approached by Bonobos management team requesting her collaboration on two songs which would go on to feature on Bonobo’s fifth album, North Borders beginning an important and prolific collaboration.

Szjerdene Gallery

Creation Of An Audible Chemistry

Despite the sometimes solitary nature of his solo work, the collective seamlessly unified to create music with intro beats holding real depth lying beneath haunting synths, subtle shifts that built tantalising tension only to succumb to exquisite lulls. Essentially the beauty that is ever present in Bonobo’s sound. This, with the addition of Szjerdene’s earthly yet ethereal vocals saw the creation of an audible chemistry which effortlessly captured the audience.

The Sense Of Nature

The sense of nature was felt throughout Bonobo`s performance. The origin of the sounds Green layers to bring a track to completion often originate from acoustic sources as opposed to digitally created sounds, preferring to craft his sound to capture an essence of human warmth and creating something that is much more than just the sum of its parts.


Simon recently relocated from the UK to Los Angeles and began working on the aptly titled album, Migration, creating a collection of music that shows how Green has placed the unstable, yet often beautiful migratory life at the core of how he understands music, how he understands humanity. Migration to him is “The study of people and spaces.”
“It’s interesting how one person will take an influence from one part of the world and move that influence to effect another part of the world. Over time, the identities of places evolve”


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East London’s Godfather of Grime, Wiley was, unfortunately a no show, so it was up to British musician, visual artist, actor and DJ, Goldie and High Focus Records to step up and guide the opening ceremony to a close by taking an elated crowd on an unexpected musical journey throughout the night testing the unrivalled sound system to its very limits. Outlooks opening night proved to be a multi- faceted, spectacular, musical triumph and was a promising start of things to come, four days and nights of unique festival highlights.

The Festival

Outlook Festival hosted it 11th edition at its iconic Fort Punto location and welcomed over 300 music artists during the weekend to celebrate the return of the festival that
celebrates all things bass. Set in one of the most stunning festival sites in Europe, Outlook bought together artists from around the world creating a massive line-up with favourites from all root genres.


Stage splits were announced seeing eight stage takeovers from labels Appelsap, Andy C, David Rodigan, Deep Medi, DMZ, Subdub, Swamp 81, Metalheadz and V Recordings with schedules revealing an all-star line-up of artists such as Noisia, Lenzman, Stefflon Don, J-Hus, dBridge, Mist, Calibre and Jah Shaka.


This year saw an exciting addition to the festival with the opening up of a unique rave den in the shape of Zerostrasse. Deep in the heart of Pula exists a network of secret, underground tunnels which were built for WW1 and subsequently reinforced for WW2. Outlook were granted permission to use these tunnels to hold several memorable events over the course of the weekend.


Native Instruments

An exciting collaboration saw Outlook partner up with Native Instruments to unveil the latest in music technology at The Sound Studio. By day, the onsite space was dedicated to bringing educational workshops to festival goers whilst by night the space became a discussion space hosting talks with artists and producers with insightful Q&A sessions.

Jonny Scratchly, one of the festivals Creative Directors  and member of the band Gentleman’s Dub Club was enjoying a year off from performing at Outlook this year. He did, however, hold an exclusive Native Sessions showcase at The Sound Studio where he spoke to some of Outlooks favourite producers including Steel Banglez, Swifta Beater, Preditah and MC of the moment, Mist. Jonny has said how he feels that Outlook now has real a definite sense of culture and tradition now that it has been running for over a decade. “It’s a story that’s constantly being told by the musicians and we’re just the fortunate ones who can house it and create that experience”.

Europe’s’ Largest Celebration Of Sound System Culture

Each year Outlook Festival thrives and majestically shows why it has flourished to become Europe’s’ largest celebration of sound system culture and cutting edge sound. Another huge success sees Outlook continue to set sky high bench marks in the world of music with visible passion. Once more they have shown why The Outlook Festival continues to be one of biggest and best festivals in Europe. Maximum gratitude to the Outlook Team, both here in Croatia and back in the UK and here’s to 2019 and the return of this unforgettable, heavyweight musical experience.

Written by Hannah Smith

More About Outlook Festival

The Outlook Festival is an annual electronic music festival held in Pula, Croatia and is at the forefront of the Sound System culture. The opening night spectacular takes places at the 2,000 year old Pula amphitheatre .The 4 day festival then moves to Stinjan for over 380 hours of music to enjoy.For more information on the event follow any of the following external links.

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Concert and festival photographer

David Gasson

Based in Pula / Croatia

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