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Summer is on it’s way and I’ve started to realize it will be coming whether my pale body is ready for it or not. This summer the highlight is the fact that for four days in June I won’t be working and can attend a wedding and go to the opera in San Francisco but I am dreaming of the week Alex and I spent in Croatia in 2012 attending Soundwave. When Alex and I decided to move back to the states I was all for it except for the fact that I had not attended a European music festival yet. This seemed to be a serious gaping hole in my European life. So Alex and I started thinking about which one to attend. Then all of a sudden it hit me which one I wanted to attend, the one I had wanted to go to for years, Soundwave. Soundwave is a festival held in Tisno, Croatia every summer for five days and is located right on the beach.
As soon as I mentioned to Alex the possibility of going to Croatia in the summer and going to a music festival on the beach he was sold. The tickets for the five days were super cheap, especially when compared to the cost of going to coachella, and we decided to camp about ten minutes walking distance away from the festival. Once we had everything arranged we could not wait for July and of course, knowing how time works, it felt like forever until we boarded that plane to Split. Once on the plane though time sped up and we were whisked away to Croatia. Let me just say this clearly, if you have the chance to go to Croatia, Go. It will be worth it. Croatia is one of the most stunning naturally beautiful places that I have been to. Now you have to take our word for it because unfortunately we lost all of our pictures from the trip but just go google Croatia and you will see. We landed in Split and I was so excited to explore but first we had to figure out how to get to Tisno. Tisno is about two hours away from Split and pretty simple to get to once you figure out where the bus you plan on taking is. The bus depot in Split is Huge so make sure you give yourself enough time to get on the right bus. Of course by the time we had figured everything out we had no time left to explore Split but we would be back.
The bus ride through the countryside was amazing. The water in Croatia is so blue and pristine and the bus stuck to the coastal route. There are all kinds of beautiful bays and stark white cliffs hugging the water. When our bus stopped for an hour to allow for transfers Alex and I headed to a beach side bar and downed some beers. I wanted to go in the clear crystal water so bad but the thought of sitting wet on a bus for another hour deterred me. In the end that was a good thing because we had much more than an hour to finally reach Tisno. As we got closer locals began exiting the bus and more and more people heading to Soundwave got on, everyone was so excited for the weekend it was intoxicating, there was also a lot of beer on board. We finally arrived at the festival site and got all checked in and then hiked to our campsite. The campsite was on the other side of town and the way we went at first took us about 30 minutes to reach but we finally arrived and set up tent. I hadn’t been camping since I was a kid and I was surprised to find the campsite so crowded. I thought this might be just because of the festival but it was actually full of Croatians just setting up shop for the summer. It was right along the water however, which was fantastic, there is nothing better than a sunrise swim quickly followed by a nap (I am not a morning person). After claiming our small piece of campsite we headed off to explore Soundwave.
It was Thursday so the official line up had not begun but there were still acts playing all day. There were three stages all relatively close to each other. Throughout the weekend most of the acts we saw were at the main stage and we also we saw a few DJs while we were relaxing at the beach and swimming in the water. Perhaps the best act we saw was Riot Jazz. Riot Jazz is a band from the UK which consists of a brass band and an MC. They were phenomenal. Their performance during the hottest afternoon had so much energy and we were all dancing about like crazy to this awesome combination of jazz, rap and techno. Then after their performance they decided to do an impromptu acoustic performance in the water. It was so great to just be swimming in the water and listening to this awesome jazz music. That was definitely the highlight of the festival. I would go back just to see Riot Jazz and they actually do their own boat parties during the festival too. We did not go on a boat party but I definitely will when we return next year. They are extra but if you love the band its a great to listen to their set up close and personal.
Since the festival was for five days we had a lot of freedom with our time since we really did not know any of the acts at all. We ended up exploring the towns of Tisno and Murter and eating a ton of seafood. I had the greatest shrimp while in Murter. They were whole little shrimpies baked in a tomato sauce with bread crumbs and garlic. So Good! We also decided to rent a vespa and explore the island. We told the woman we had driven one before but that was a bit of a stretch, both Alex and I had rode on vespas before, but in terms of actually driving them this was a first time experience. We figured it out eventually and it was so much fun and I am glad we stepped away from the festival a bit to explore on our own.
The final night of the festival De La Soul was the headliner and you could tell everyone was gearing up for this. I saw more people drinking on Sunday more than I had the rest of the time. The Croatian shot bar, where you could buy awesome mustache tshirts (which we purchased because it was freezing and nobody was selling any jackets), was packed and all the bars were filling up. Then De La Soul finally came on (about an hour late) and they were….good. Nothing spectacular but then again it was an aging rap group playing an obscure festival in Croatia so what was I expecting really? I guess they were just the only group I knew playing the festival. It was a lot of fun though because of the crowd, the whole festival came to the main stage for this performance and there was just so much energy.
I absolutely loved Soundwave and Alex and I plan on going back next year with a big group of our friends and renting an apartment on site. I have no idea who is playing, besides Riot Jazz (and we will go on their boat party), and it doesn’t matter. Soundwave is fantastic simply because of what it is; great music, beautiful location and small. If you haven’t been to a music festival in Europe and were looking for one to go to, go to Soundwave. You won’t regret it.