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Hideout 2014 Rep Review

Forget what you think you know about festivals…












Forget muddy fields, wellington boots and smelly tents. Hideout is an entirely different beast altogether. 

Instead you’ll find gorgeous beaches, pristine Adriatic ocean and incredible clubs overflowing with some of the world’s finest DJ’s. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Hideout Festival, an adult playground like no other. The festival takes place on Zrcé Beach on the Croatian island of Pag. We arrive on Friday evening, and with only minutes to spare, we hurtle our rental car onto the ferry as the sun sinks, blinding and golden beyond the horizon. We’re crossing over to the island two days before the festival starts, but already we meet a group of rowdy Slovenian’s singing the praises of Zrcé Beach and the Hideout experience. My curiosity is ablaze.

The island of Pag itself is beautiful in its lunar otherworldliness, bare and arid, the chalky white of the ground creates a stark contrast against the perfect blue Croatian skies. Scrawny flocks of sheep litter the hills, where their diet consists of sea spayed rosemary and theme, making their meat some of the tastiest in the world.

Our apartment is located right in the heart of the nearby town, Novalja, just a 15 minute bus journey away from the festival site. Novalja is the perfect holiday destination, packed with cafés, restaurants and located a stones throw form the beach and habour. If you can’t quite face heading back to the festival site after a night of revelry, then you can easily while away the daylight hours, lazing on the beach and dozing in one of the towns many cafés.

The festival site is a marvel. Four of Europe’s finest clubs line the beach and Croatia’s bare and rugged coastline hangs, ominous and beautiful in the distance. The site is constantly abuzz with bungee jumping, jet skiing and banana boating. Upon entering the site you're greeted by club NOA. Stuck like an alien craft on the landscape, NOA juts out into the sea, while festivalgoers dance in the pools and dive off the side into the water below, whilst master DJ’s spin a web of irresistible beats around you. 

During the daylight hours the site is a mash of glorious sunshine and holiday euphoria. Three of the clubs, Noa, Papaya and Aquarius contain pools that are filled with infectiously happy festivalgoers. In the glow of Hideout everyone is gorgeous, and inside the festival daze you can’t help but feel like you’re an extra in a Snoop Dogg video. Bikini clad girls and shirtless guys are everywhere, packed to the rafters and dancing like an infestation of sexy locusts. In both Aquarius and Papaya, the clubs have various layers and platforms. During the Shy FX set I find myself on the barrier of a large raised platform feeling like the diva I was born to be, shaking my booty and fist pumping like Beyoncé and Rihanna’s illegitimate love child.

One thing that really resonates about Hideout is what a truly lovely bunch the crowd are. There’s a palpable, shared sense of elation that’s irresistible and acts as an adhesive for the entire Hideout audience. Night after night, I find myself babbling a string on nonsensical drivel to a variety of delightful strangers. At Hideout everyone is happy to talk and undoubtedly, everyone is there to have a bloomin’ marvellous time.

Under the cover of darkness Hideout takes on a whole new character. The pools are drained and the bikinis are gone (mostly). Traditionally, festivals are a place where you can let it all hang out, alternatively, Hideout is an environment where you hold it all in. Glamorous and skimpy outfits are everywhere. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an attractive bunch all together at once, and as the moon rises, the pace and tempo of the festival begins to evolve. The dance floor hits and sunshine crowd pleasers of the day begin to fade and darker more progressive DJ’s begin to pop up like sprouting mushrooms, particularly in Kalypso, the oldest of Zrcé’s clubs.

The location of Hideout, on Zrcé Beach, is renowned throughout the European party scene and it’s not difficult to understand why. The resort holds the party mystic of an early Ibiza, before the arrival of extortionate prices and a sometimes questionable audience. For a British festivalgoer the prices at Hideout are undeniably reasonable, and as shallow as it sounds, this makes all the differences. Knowing that you can go out and have a meal and a good old booze up, without breaking the bank, permeates the entire holiday and makes the whole experience more enjoyable.

I can’t help but feel there’s something special in the waters at Zrcé Beach. Since its inception, Hideout has sold out year upon year. The demand of the festival is unprecedented, and having now experienced it for myself I completely buy into the Hideout frenzy.

I suspect that Hideout and Zrcé has nothing but prosperous times ahead. The potent mix of holiday atmosphere and club exhilaration make Hideout a major player in the world wide festival scene. Thinking about Hideout leaves an uncontrollable grin smeared across my face like dollop of gooey jam, sweet, delicious and addictive. Roll on Hideout 2015 is all I can say!

© Words and photography, Kathryn Stevens 




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