Review: Love International 2017

After well and truly catching the Love International bug at last years inaugural event, we just had to go back to The Garden, Tisno, to experience it all over again.

For so many, the festival and location has a special energy like no other, with Love International perfectly delivering both blissed out moments and pure heads-down vibes. By day, the vibe is carefree and low key—sounds ranging from dreamy piano jazz to classic disco fill the air from the beach stage, creating a casual rhythm for your day to move by. By night, the festival transitions to the party that everyone has been gearing up for, when house and disco takes over.

© Photography by Khris Cowley for Here & Now (www.fb.com/wearehereandnow)

Arriving late Thursday evening on day two of the Festival, we grabbed a drink and headed straight to the main stage for Tony Humphries, who delivered a masterpiece set. As expected, Tony was on form, with a heavenly feel to his set, yet full of the added ‘Humph’ we expect from this New York legend. Highlights included feature classics such as I want your love by Chic, and fresh, underground tunes such as Paul Woolford’s remix of Sailor and I’s Rivers.

We ended the evening at Barbarellas, the offsite, open-air venue that’s widely considered the jewel in Tisno’s crown, for Futureboogie’s party with Gerd Janson, Gatto Fritto and residents Dave Harvey and Christophe. The energetic and diverse set list saw the night deliver tracks that catered to the raucous audience, full of pleasure seeking ravers.

By the time Friday came, the festival was well and truly underway and it was time to recuperate and go again. With the festival noticeably busier, things seemed to have been turned up a notch and it was time to climb aboard the festival’s infamous Magic Door boat party and get the weekend started. Full review here.

Once back on dry land it was time to explore the delights of the festival’s stages once again. A short trip over to the beach stage, we joined friends fully grooving to the closing stages of Wolf Music’s, Medlar. We flitted between stages, catching the likes of Kornel Kovacs, Axel Bowman and headliner Leon Vyenall. The festival leaves you with the textbook dilemma “too many people to see, so little time”. Eventually, we settled on watching Palms Trax close out the beach stage. Amidst a tonic of rising piano keys and smooth baselines, we looked ever the calm bay and took in the beautiful Adriatic backdrop. Once all was finished it was on to Barberellas where a rare Croatian downpourof soaked us to the bone and made our Magic Door glitter run off our faces – but we didn’t care.

In a festival full of highlights, we are sure that for many the highpoint would be Saturday’s eclectic showcase of music. Whether it was Paranoid London’s live main stage set, or Gideon’s underground house in the Olive Grove, there was something for everyone. A particular highlight was Heidi’s acid- infused main stage set, which was both energetic and stylish, also paying tribute to the best of British dance music with tracks such as Late Night Tuff Guy’s I get Deeper and Eats Everything’s edit of Green Velvet’s Flash.

After all that, it was no surprise to see Barbarellas so packed –  not to mention the fact that Kentucky’s own The Black Madonna was gracing the decks. From then on it was all about the boogie, with everything from Chicago house to disco classics to keep the place heaving until sunrise.

A personal highlight of highlights (if that’s possible) was US duo Beautiful Swimmers closing the night with Queen Latifa’s U.N.I.T.Y, a truly memorable moment. With the club still full there was the logistical nightmare of getting all of the clubbers back to Tisno. With all of the towns taxis seemingly booked out, there were thankfully a number of thrifty locals on hand offering lifts to the stranded festival goers. What a night.

With the previous night behind us and the words “U. EN. II. T. YII” still ringing in our ears, Sunday involved drinks and chatting how much we had enjoyed ourselves. However, there wasn’t time to go over this too much. The choice of music for us was headliner Midland and Saarbrucken’s favourite son, Prosumer, closing the beach stage.

Entertaining as ever, Midland’s early evening sets often range from disco, to house, to 80’s electro and back again. His impromptu set with Job Jobse was no exception as they rounded off with the likes of Daft Punk’s Indo Silver Club, Depeche Mode’s Just can’t get enough and New Order’s Bizarre Love Triangle. Although the pinnacle for us was Gay Marvine’s edit of Sister Sledge’s Lost In Music.

Next, it was on to Prosumer, whose blend of mellow, yet groovy, tunes kept the crowd vibing as the night drew in. His flawless mixing seemed to allow him to step up the pace without the dancefloor even noticing, as Bicep’s remix of Blaze’s Lovelee day prompted a few hands to be thrown in the air.

For us, a day of relaxation had to follow after the previous nights debauchery slowly catching up with us. After a day relaxing by the sea in Tisno, it was time to set sail on another boat party. This time, it was the turn off one of Bristol’s most vibrant nights, Just Jack. 

Stepping aboard it was good to see Ben UFO fresh from his previous night set at Barbarellas joining the party. With the sun going down over the Adriatic backdrop, it was the perfect time for a few drinks as residents Tom Rio and Dan Wild provided some excellent warm up set beats.

We were then treated to what seemed like a heavily 90’s influenced B2B by Call Super and Gatto Fritto. Kicking off proceeding with Robert Owens I’ll Be Your Friend, we were taken on a journey with classics such as Kariya’s Let Me Love You and Orbital’s Chime. Dropping anchor to the sound of Outside was also a nice tribute to the late George Michael, as well as a perfect end to what had been an incredible 5 days.

© Photography by Daisy Denham for Here & Now (www.fb.com/wearehereandnow)

Through their scrupulous planning, Love International’s organisers have achieved both a perfect music policy and a superlative festival where anything goes. The DJ’s that play there play for the night and stay for the week, and it’s easy to understand why. There was nothing arduous about Love International as the whole thing just works effortlessly.

Our time was spent making friends, diverting from real life and losing ourselves in a pretty unique and special environment, alongside what can only be described as a genius musical undercurrent.

Hats off to you Love International, you’ve well and truly seduced us all over again.


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