Romantically nestled within the confines of a shimmering Adriatic bay, Stop Making Sense is the ultimate party paradise for the discerning festival lover. Offering guests a cherry-picked line up of the best in underground electronic beats, Stop Making Sense has garnered a cult following of eclectic, music savvy party-goers from all over Europa, making it a must for seekers of intimate festival fun. Chase The Compass took a long awaited trip to Stop Making Sense and this is what happened.
Credit: All images by Antony Price at Anomalous Visuals
As the first ‘tsk’ sounded from the waterside Funktion One on the opening day of SMS and the Beach Bar began to fill with excited festival revellers, an unmistakable feeling of Christmas-morning excitement rippled in the air. The following 5 days and 4 nights flew by in a blissful whirlwind of seaside pints of Sex On The Beach, hours of horizontal lilo dancing and a never ending scurry between boat party deck and forest stage dancefloor. Nights blended into days as morning hangovers were quickly quashed with a dip in the surprisingly frigid water, as patrons awkwardly navigated their way over a maze of stoney pebbles and out into the gentle blue. Pool toys replaced glow sticks as the ultimate rave accessories, with a host of bikini-clad ladies relaxing on fluro inflatables, and one impressively eager crew even transporting a blowup trampoline down to the water’s edge. Afternoons were casually whiled away chatting with fellow festival goers as soul-driven beats from the likes of Blonde Ambition, Laizi and John Power vibrated out over a swaying, sun-soaked crowd.
The breezy tranquillity continued as the sun went down, with the 5:30 – 7pm slot a party siesta of sorts for most of the audience. The SMS site aptly named ‘The Garden’ offered a buffet of festival essentials for all times of the day and night with multiple well-stocked bars, some tasty culinary options and even an on-site massage service. Disco injuries didn’t stand a chance. The cover of darkness brought a treasure-trove of auditory delights to the grounds, with rowdy split level boat parties, the Beach Bar complete with waterfront dance floor, plus the forest dwelling Woods Stage, running simultaneously until 2am. The relaxed ambience of the daytime beach atmosphere gave way to full-scale, bass laden pandemonium, with John Talabot, Prins Thomas, Appleblim and more kicking the party into full-scale celebration. Special mention must go to Mano Le Tough, whose set on the closing Sunday night was truly outstanding, bringing the Beach Bar to an electric conclusion.
No Croatian summer festival would be complete without a boat party and Stop Making Sense’s wooden-hulled cruiser was home to some of the week’s best moments. The parties, which ran from 2 to 6pm and 7 to 11pm, smoothly transported those on board to a secluded alcove location away from the festival site, allowing the volume dial to be generously turned to maximum. Four hours passed in the blink of an eye with stellar daily DJ line ups including San Soda, A&A, Will Saul, Session Victim and more, each bringing their own distinct soundtrack to sailing the high seas. Gingerly alighting from the boat, down a rickety ramp and back on shore, second session sailors melted into the remaining land-dwelling crowd to the closing tracks from the two festival stages and just in time to make the 20-minute journey to the off site after party, ‘Barbaraella’s.’
Barbarella’s, an open air night club situated a short drive from the festival, provided the perfect backdrop for post 2am revellers, with festival headliners playing late night sets from within the confines of a raised concrete booth. The artists seemed to let their hair down a little more at ‘Barbs,’ with exuberant duo Orlando Boom sporting boyish captains hats and a blow up alligator, the Innervisions crew rocking a behind-the-decks dance party and T.Williams spending hours bopping about smiling from ear to ear. As the sun rose to the sounds of ambient Techno each morning, it was clear that the crowd at Stop Making Sense were professional partygoers as 90% of the audience donned a pre-packed pair of sunglasses come 5:30am. As the most hardened festival attendees stumbled back to the on-site accommodation in the wee hours of the morning, a silent breath of relief was uttered at the thought of the dark, air-conditioned apartment that awaited those staying on-site at ‘The Garden’. A few hours sleep was all that was needed to recoup, just in time to slip in to a swimsuit and get ready to do it all again.
As the sunrise broke over the bay on the final day of Stop Making Sense, a subtle sense of sadness swept over the festival site as the closing bass beats reverberated from the Beach Bar’s rocky booth. Stop Making Sense had been a truly magical gathering, 90% of which can be most certainly attributed to the calibre of both the music and the attendees themselves. Affable, unpretentious and eternally jovial, it was the rare combination of like-minded people and top-notch tunes that made Stop Making Sense a truly utterly unforgettable experience.
See you next year under the disco ball.
*On a personal note, special mentions must be made to the following people:
The crazy Welsh who stayed in the apartment next door, available for party debriefs literally 24 hours a day.
The German trio, the go to for Croatian beer, balcony hangs and an abundance of body stickers.
The waitress from the onsite restaurant, your dance moves were seriously ballistic. Alan, the same goes for you.
My beloved ‘Onions,’ I’m so sorry I got your name wrong for five days straight.
The ceaselessly high spirited Americans, even though you said ‘Rolling on Molly.’
And Alex, for the 7am blue Gatorade.