Way back in February, myself and a buddy, let’s call her Tiff, decided, pretty much on a whim, that we would go to Soundwave. All it took was the promotional video (6:02 minutes to be precise) and we had bought our tickets. Fast track a few months later, a rented apartment, flights booked, and a cold and wet summer in London, we were on the flight. And so, already slightly pissed, we took off for Tisno, a little coastal town in Croatia, which I’m pretty sure, had no idea what was about to hit it.
DAY ONE: Thursday, 18th of July
Somehow, Tiff and I went for breakfast and ended up renting a boat, picking up some lads, grabbing some beers, and going to soak up the rays close to the beach where the festival is held. Great chance to check out the site, as we bop to the tunes coming off the beach stage. We eventually head to the grounds after a quick shower, checking the place out, we notice immediately that the crowd is mostly young 18–20 year olds fresh off the A Level bandwagon (baring in mind I’m the ripe old age of 24). Making our way towards the beach stage, we grab ourselves a drink – how are drinks the same price as London? - In time to catch Maja Milich, Mikey J and some of Rich Reasons’ set on the beach stage, before heading to main stage for Mr Thing & Yungun who rip it up. It feels good to dance, shaking the murky London air from our limbs. Not too much of a heavy night, as the stages shut down at 1am, with most people saving themselves for the weekend, but there’s a chilled vibe, booze flowing, and warm evening air.
DAY TWO: Friday, 19th of July
Tiff and I may have let loose the stalker in us. The lads (henceforth known as The Babes) we met yesterday and lured into our boat may have vaguely pointed to a pink house in some random direction and told us they lived somewhere there.
They owed us a boat ride.
So we got up, hunted them down, invited ourselves in, convinced them to get a boat, and marched them down to breakfast. And so began day two of Soundwave; not at all at Soundwave.
Finally we get to the site for 9 pm, just in time to check out Ghostpoet. He was one of my main attractions to Soundwave, having had to sit out several of his gigs in London. I know he may grate on some, and sometimes I do feel like his tunes sound a little same-same, but you can’t deny a voice. His set is good, though it didn’t feel very improvised, and not just bouncing off the vibe of the crowd. In fact, my favourite moment was when he got his friend Tawiah on stage to sing 'Us Against Whatever Babe' with him. Because it was so impromptu, it really rattled the crowd. (More about Tawiah later, I may or may not have hit on her a little).
Check out there collaboration together for the same tune:
After that… I don’t really remember much. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t hammered, but you know the buzz of a festival, where you’re just bouncing off each stage, all over the place, chatting to people, getting drinks, losing people, finding them again (five minutes of rejoicing, and then you lose them again. Namely, Chuck the little squirrel out of The Babes).
We did manage to (eventually) find Pier ‘Stage’… Guys, it’s not a stage if it’s one meter by four. That’s a platform. We heard Dead Prez’s song 'Hip Hop' for the 5th time that weekend (and I can promise you, it wasn’t the last), but we did bump into some other babes (the female kind this time), who we’d become friendly on the bus in with. Mad dancing ensues. I know we caught most of DJ Yoda’s set and Alexander Nut on main stage, danced like little bass heads on the beach stage, got burnt by other people cigarette’s, talked shit, and…then they closed down!?
Curfew at 2 am is a killer, though to be fair having started exactly 13 hours earlier, maybe Soundwave also needs some beauty sleep. Tiff and I however, do not (well, we do, but we’ve never been one’s to care). Too awake and pumped up from the mad-hatter-dancing, we head off to The Babe’s pink house until the early hours, before ticking one thing off the Bucket List (It starts with skinny and ends with dip).
DAY THREE: Saturday, 20th of July
Good Morning. Shit, I feel rough. But we’re goers. To ease into the day, we decide the best remedy is to find a concrete slab shallow enough to roll around in the sea while resurrecting ourselves with beer. We found said slab.
Resurrection done, a fried calamari and chips later and a quick shower, we get to the site at 10 pm, to realise, we’ve only just missed out on probably the most jam packed day of tunes to be had; Hidden Orchestra, Riot Jazz (who APPARENTLY played in the OCEAN. Pfff), Wah Wah 45s, Belleruche, Souleance, Fink, Kwes… What the!? Dayum. Nonetheless we get involved, quickly getting in the mood with Johnny Dub on pier/platform stage, KidKanevil and Eliphino on beach stage, before making our way for the sensational DJ Kentaro who rips it up. The crowd is so pumped, it’s all live, his beats matching the mood of the crowd, the crowd matching his beats. All too early it ends.
We are so wired that we grab a coach to Barbarella’s, a nightclub (on the beach, no less). It’s fun, it’s a bit different from the site, it’s “free” (you paid 30 kunas for the coach but free entry. I still don’t know how much that is in pounds). But the MC is pants, and eventually we bow out before daybreak. Shocking, I know.
DAY FOUR: Sunday, 21st of July
Alright, so it’s day four, and we have yet to actually be on site during the day. Shiiiit. We wander around checking it out, there’s an interactive graffiti wall, a Croatian shot/cocktail bar (Dangerous. Also, in my opinion gross). There’s a volleyball net, though I didn’t see many people using it. To be fair, I rarely was there during the day. I did however, get to see Chuck beautiful smash his head in it while trying – failing – to chat up a bird. Priceless. There are swings, and huge pillows, where hung over corpses catch some rest. We grab ourselves a Croatian shot (this is why I know it’s gross) and cause havoc.
We bump into Tawiah to realise we just missed her set! Gutted. (Definitely worth checking her out: http://www.facebook.com/tawiahmusic). Eventually, we make it to the beach stage. Craig Charles is doing his thing there instead of his scheduled set at 10pm on main (this happened a few times over the weekend with different acts, gets a little confusing).
Takes me a time to realise who Craig Charles is (something something actor something something). I’ll tell you what he is. Trashed. Whispers through the crowd tell us the reason he bailed on main is because he got so mangled last night he couldn’t face the main stage, and that what we were actually listening to (and it was to be fair, an alright set) was a recording he had done for the boat party the day before. This guy seems like a douche. After much hurrah and him shouting at the crowd he (..finally..) leaves and we dance to Departure Lounge - NIIIICE! This I like, and mad bouncing around resumes.
It gets all too much for The Babes and they bow out for a few hours to catch some beauty rest and food. Tiff and I grab ourselves (another) beer, and go meet a random dude on a swing, for the next few hours we meet strangers and make new friends. Something about Soundwave worth noting is that everyone I had a conversation with for more than 5 minutes was interesting, sound, unique (and sometimes a little nuts). We see Tawiah again, and she tells us she’s from London and now just hanging out seen as her set was done. She’s drinking whisky straight. My kinda girl. We finally regroup with The Babes just in time to see the night out with De La Soul.
DAY FIVE: Monday, 22nd of July
The Babes are gone. The crowd has thinned. (What’s wrong with people. We still have one day of Soundwave!) The weather is clouded. Rain is threatening. This is all a bit sad. And to top it off, all this fun is starting to get a little exhausting. Tiff and I instead buy a floating mattress and bop around the sea just off the beach stage. Mr Basista comes on and wawawee. One of my favourite's of the festival; dirty, dirty beats (http://www.mrbasista.co.uk/). Having felt unsure about being able to see the day out, we end up powering through to catch DJ Boba Fatt & Memory9 on main stage, Memory9 playing a banging live set.
While we’re bopping around Tiff turns to me and asks for two cigarettes, before crossing over to two blokes for a light. I’m a little surprised. I find out later that these two blokes are part of ASM – A State of Mind, who are playing on the main stage later tonight. These dudes are cool, really down to earth, doing it for the vibe. We meet a few more of the group. They met in high school in Frankfurt.
Turns out that we also know people in common, namely Sasha and Nico Bertocchi from Deluxe. Check out this musical mash up of their 2012 tour so far. I can’t take it off repeat:
We banter, turns out we’ve all been on the international school circuit, all used to being asked if we are American, and not being able to answer the question, ‘so where are you from exactly?’ Benjamin is jokes, getting a teensy bit drunk. 15 minutes before their set they say their good-byes and head for the stage. I don’t know what I’m expecting, knowing only a few songs. But what happens isn’t just music but entertainment, mixing brass instruments, vinyls, and singing. They’re good. You definitely need to see these guys live to catch the full weight of what it is they do and create. One of my favourites of the entire festival.
All their tunes were banging - but, start with this one if you’re ignorant:
I’m gutted when the set ends. Now we’ve burned all that energy, we’re hungry, grabbing a burger (I get chips, Croatia doesn’t cater to the vegetarian). Suddenly it’s raining. The heavens have opened. And with it, the last act of the night Riot Jazz have to cancel their set, though their second of the week, it’s a shame. So it’s under the pouring rain that Soundwave 2012 is done. The crowd is running back to their tents while lightening pops (so.glad.that’s.not.my.bed.) I’m battered and bruised (I’m clumsy, not a drunk), slightly hung over (ok, maybe I am a drunk), broke, and sun burnt. Bok Soundwave 2012!
Oh, and go on then, just one more time:
Dead Prez – Hip Hop
Written by: Claire Malaika
Photographed by: Claire Malaika