Love International is a new Croatian festival from Team Love, the company behind Bristol's Love Saves The Day event and Futureboogie record label. It's the successor to the beloved Garden Festival which hosted its 10th and final edition last summer. Garden was one of the Croatian old guard and had a seminal influence on the rise of the country's festival scene which has seen it become the hottest ticket in Europe.
These were big shoes to fill and Team Love more than delivered. Organisers Tom Paine and Dave Harvey were both involved in the running of Garden, and with Love International they bolstered the scale of the event while maintaining the core ethos, carrying it forward into the new era
A key attraction of any festival is to escape the stresses of day-to-day life entirely for a weekend or so. Love International could not have been timed better in this respect. With the UK in political turmoil and a toxic atmosphere seeping into the national mood during the week in which the festival rolled around, I don’t think I’ve ever been so keen to leave the country.
What better destination than a coastal Adriatic haven? Upon arrival into Split airport, the sights on the descent were immediately cathartic, revealing crystal blue waters flecked only by leafy islands and a navy of luxury yachts. The Garden resort just up the shoreline in Tisno where Love International was hosted is surely one of the top worldwide locations for a festival, providing the ideal setting for a week-long shindig that struck a perfect balance between sanctuary and the session.
There was plenty of opportunity to let loose at night, with partying well taken care of by the finely programmed bill, robust soundsystems and steady supply of locally brewed beer that was as cheap as it was delicious. Daytime recuperation meanwhile was an untypically blissful experience aided by refreshing seas and cloudless skies.
Therein lay the beauty of Love International. It had all the thrillingly chaotic elements of a festival to get stuck into, but retained all the respite of a leisurely holiday when needed, and you could dip in and out as you pleased. Whether you wanted to stay at local nightclub Barbarellas to closing time before going back onsite for the beachside sunrise sessions, or spend the day lounging in the presence of the breathtaking waterfalls of Krka National Park that were just a reasonably priced taxi journey away, Love International had all the means for a good time covered.
Of course, the high points soundtracked by a selection of the world’s best DJs stand out strongest in the memory. Get the lowdown on the sets that immersed us in an insular haze of elation that made real life feel very faraway below.