It goes without saying that the Dalmatian coastline is beautiful. Bleached white houses with red tiled roofs are perched by the dozen next to white pebble beaches, beyond which sit countless tiny islands floating above cobalt and emerald blue seas. Coves narrow and wide sweep by as you slowly and dizzily make your way along steep and winding roads, which are surrounded on either side by thick pine forests, long olive groves and the occasional vinyard or greenhouse. It’s here Tisno sits, about an hour and a half’s drive northeast of city-sized Split.
A tiny coastal town amongst hundreds (perhaps more), Tisno is inundated every year with thousands of musically inclined tourists. They come for the music, but also the sea, sun, and incredible restaurants, which seem to be everywhere, beckoning weary ravers to come inside and stay a while. Try the wine, it’s incredible and local. And the pizza always cures a hangover. Basically, it’s the perfect place to throw a party, which Love International does like few others.
Photo by Carys Huws
A continuation of the original The Garden Festival—so named for its location at The Garden venue where we partied and explored for nearly a week—it’s an event with a hardcore following of devotees. We saw why, as Palms Trax played his incredible oddball tunes in the main Garden Stage on Friday night to a colourful and glittery crowd, who gleefully tossed inflatable bananas and seahorses overhead. Meanwhile, New York disco aficionados Honey Soundsystem closed the nearby Beach Stage with enrapturing melodies and swirling rhythms.
Saturday saw equally big sets by Joy Orbison and Octo Octa. Though the biggest set of the night was a surprisingly trippy, trancy sunrise set by Hunee in the open-air after-hours Barbarella’s Discoteque. Track IDs were hard to come by, but goosebumps were not, even if he mostly eschewed his normal disco fare. Sunday was arguably the biggest of the festival, with Secretsundaze and Shanti Celeste captivating the lovely and more intimate Olive Grove stage with tracks like Steve Hurley's “The Word Is Love (Say The Word)”. And of course, consummate musicians Floating Points and Four Tet kept the energy on high to close the Garden Stage, playing tracks like Four Tet’s remix of Nelly Furtado's “Afraid”—a big tune for Hunee too. Another deserving shoutout goes to Ben UFO and Craig Richards in Barbarella’s, where sequinned girls danced next to tropical shirted boys who smiled and smiled until sunrise. Though that was always going to be something special.
Photo by Khris Cowley | Here & Now
For us, however, the best experience of the long weekend went to Monday's incredible Crack boat party aboard the Argonaughty. The joyful chemistry between Panorama Bar resident Roi Perez and Panorama Bar regular Avalon Emerson was almost as intoxicating as their driving, euphoric selections. Shanti Celeste sure seemed enamored as she bounced along next to the pair. And the tune of the festival felt like it was Moby’s extended dance remix of the James Bond theme, dropped by Emerson to a disbelieving crowd. Okay, maybe it was the pair’s closing track, Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday.” Every arm on the boat was up, the crowd singing along in unison before Roi and Avalon disembarked, disrobed, and jumped into the shivery waters below as the crowd goaded them on with friendly hoots and hollers.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of great sets. We couldn’t make it everywhere. But we’ve put together a list of some of the biggest tunes heard over the weekend. Check out 10 of our favourite selections below, and the full YouTube playlist here.
Header image by Here & Now