From the late 80’s Ibiza heralded the European party scene as some kind of ravers’ Shangri-La. Other party destinations become popular for a year or two, from Mallorca Corfu, Mikonos and Ayia Napa to Crete, St. Tropez and Rimini, but Ibiza was always a constant. However now Croatia emerges as the new Mediterranean party hotspot and for the first time in the last 30 years it seems Ibiza will have to pass its sceptre to one of her younger, hotter sisters.
Although it is a home of world famous clubs such as Pacha, Space and Ushuaiia and it serves as a superstar deejay’s playground, Ibiza had always offered much more. When it comes to its history, sunny weather, mesmerizing nature, clear water and top of the line cuisine, Ibiza always delivered. But so does Croatia. Not to mention the cost-benefit and freshness of the destination which works strongly in her favour. When Ibiza had already served as a hiding spot for the Carthaginians, Roman emperors were living it large on the Adriatic coast in their villas and residences. Ibiza does attract the jet set like Paris Hilton and Naomi Campbell, but tycoons, royalty and Hollywood crème de la crème prefer to sail along the Croatian coast.
And it’s not a coincidence that the Isle of Hvar was listed as one of the top destinations by Lonely Planet. The island saw its premier celebrity moment when Prince Harry jumped into a swimming pool at one of island’s nightclubs and the media attention associated with Beyonce’s appearance in a white bikini with husband Jay-Z was also reported by the international media. Heck, the music superstars even named their firstborn after the local plant – blue ivy.
CROATIAN FESTIVAL FEVER
And that’s only one of over one thousand Croatian islands. When you’re getting hints about a trend from such diverse media as Cosmopolitan, the clubbing bible Mixmag, Skiddle and the Guardian, you can be sure something’s cooking. This year you can choose from two dozen top festivals taking place at the most picturesque spots on the Croatian coastline: the season will kick start with the greatest Spring Break festival in Europe (5-9/6 and 18-22/6) and climax with the electronic spectacle Ultra Europe in Split (11-13/7) with more than 150.000 visitors.
There are also the guitar heaven Terraneo, hip hop gathering Fresh Island (23-25/7) and vanguard Hideout (30/6-3/7), Barrakud (9-16/8), Sonus (18-22/8) and Unknown (8-12/9) who are catering for the tastes of the underground, arty and hipster audiences.
Beside the regional crews, leading promoters from the UK, the USA, Italy and Germany are becoming involved in the Croatian festival scene, which already generates tens of millions of Euros of revenue for the regional economy. And what is just as important: going to Croatia has become as important as visiting Ibiza if you want to be in touch with the greatest stars and latest trends in music. Adam Russakoff of Ultra Worldwide explained why they chose Split from over 20 sites to host their European festival: “The recent boom in music tourism in this region coupled with Croatia’s entry into the EU in July 2013 made perfect sense for us from business perspective.”
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