Bass, beach and a ballroom: Outlook Festival returns

As the final weeks of the UK summertime slowly ease to an end, one of the last dates of this year’s festival season edges closer and anticipation is riding high. Outlook Festival is set to return this week from 31 August – 4 September and, right now, it’s looking like one of the best possible ways to give summer its due send-off. Luckily enough, gal-dem will be there.

Opening its doors back in 2008, Outlook started as a subsidiary of Leeds-based event SubDub and, since its inception, has won the title of “Best Overseas Festival” in 2011 at the UK Festivals Awards, rapidly growing to earn its place among some of the most exciting European festivals. And, from the looks of it, there don’t seem to be many festivals capable of offering what this one does.

The four-day festival boasts its status as “the largest Soundsystem Culture festival in Europe” and invites its largely international audience into one of the most idyllic locations imaginable. You’ll find Outlook nestled away in the seafront city of Pula, Croatia, offering a completely surreal festival experience. Its centre-piece, and host of its opening night concert, is no less than a 2000-year-old Roman amphitheatre. Kicking things off this year is Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Slum Village, Iration Steppas and ASM. Its smaller stages are set out across similarly unique venues, including but not limited to: an abandoned fort, a circular pit known as “The Ballroom”, and a few boats sailing around the Adriatic coast. Yes. To top it all off the festival even plays host to a number of boat parties, with artists playing selections of music for a significantly smaller crowd, in a far “cosier” setting to say the least.

However, a quick glance over the line-up will tell you that Outlook’s (largely UK-based) organisers are not focused on location alone; they uphold a high standard of talent. With a range of artists – stretching across genres of hip-hop, drum and bass, reggae, dubstep, garage, house and techno – the festival aims to unite its acts through their most elemental sound: bass. From Stormzy, to Joey Bada$$, to Jah Shaka, you’ll find all acts on the line-up distinctly reach back to it. Bass provides Outlook with its pulse and, with talent across the board, it’s easy to see why so many Outlookers show up to tap into it year in, year out.

Taking a closer look at this year’s packed line-up, it’s easy to spot a range of artists worth highlighting. So if you’ve copped tickets, be sure to catch a few of our favourite women. Awful Records’ ABRA, Balamii and Radar Radio’s Shy One, previously featured Sarah Farina and Lady Leshurr in addition to Angel Haze and Little Simz are some acts we’re looking forward to seeing across Outlook’s various stages. And with Slum Village, Henry Wu, Mala and Kano also gracing the bill, attendees are gearing up for a quality time.

Right now, Outlook seems to be in one of the best stages of its festival life. Having attracted international interest, it has steadily matured into an event capable of dealing with the larger crowds that popularity inevitably brings, all without losing too much at its expense. Boasting a heavyweight line-up, a whole host of seasoned returners catch flights out to Croatia year on year. With general tickets selling out back in early August and all but a handful of boat party tickets gone, this year doesn’t look likely to be any different.

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