The second edition of Forbidden Island Festival took place from August 28th to 31st on Pag Island in Croatia. The line up consisted of Uptempo, Hardcore, and Frenchcore artists from all over the world.
Amy Melissa Farina
This was my first time at Forbidden Island but my second time in Croatia as I had attended Dropzone last year. It was great to be back on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world listening to my favorite music. Unfortunately there were some scheduling changes due to inclement weather conditions (we left the Netherlands to Croatia to escape the rain but what can you do!) but the party continued on with a bang nonetheless.
Coming from the Netherlands there were a lot of options to get to Pag Island. Like most, we decided to make a vacation out of it and spent two days exploring Zadar and then five days in Novalja at the pool apartments organized by the festival. We had a beautiful apartment overlooking the beach with a pool just a stone’s throw away from all of the shops and restaurants, however Forbidden Island offered a variety of accommodation options. Friends of ours stayed at the glamping resort at Zrce Beach and had an absolute blast as well.
Getting back and forth from Novalja to the clubs at Zrce Beach was easy via car sharing apps. On the last night we even walked home!
Venue & Stage Design
Unlike traditional festivals that take place on a centralized festival grounds, Forbidden Island is spread across multiple nightclubs on Zrce Beach. For an in depth look into the venues you can check out my review from Dropzone last year HERE.
Each club had a unique vibe and stage design but one thing that all of the clubs had in common are the fact they are open air which is great when the weather is nice but not as fun when it rained! Even despite the tropical storm the dancefloor each night was packed.
One note regarding Zrce Beach at the end of August is that is much quieter than visiting there in peak season in July. There are less establishments open, and less activity, which was actually funny to hear predominantly Uptempo blasting along the boardwalk each night.
Dr Peacock Trip to Zcre Beach Boat Party
One of the defining characteristics of Forbidden Island are the boat parties. Partygoers had multiple boat parties to choose from throughout the week and had the chance to get up close and personal with their favorite DJs. The boat parties took place on multi-level yachts with an indoor covered area and multiple bars. There was even an opportunity to jump off the boat and go swimming! Dancing to Hardcore in the refreshing Adriatic Sea was definitely one of my favorite moments of the week.
One piece of feedback regarding the boat parties would be to have some snacks on board for purchase. Multiple people asked for food throughout the party and since the boat took place from 12:30-16:00 and was immediately followed by a pool party and then a club night, having some options for food on board would have been helpful for people partying in the heat all day (and night!).
Food & Drinks
The food in Croatia is all in all exceptional from black ink risotto to kebab to grill plates it is a country for foodies. Around the festival on Zrce Beach and in Novalja there were plenty of places to eat before and after the festival. The price of food in Croatia is for the most part cheaper than in the Netherlands, it’s easy to grab a meal for under 10 euro which is great. That being said, there was a noticeable price difference in the Zrce Beach area compared to last year as Croatia has recently shifted to the euro.
The drinks at each of the venues were a bit pricey but that was to be expected. Each venue had multiple bars and at no point was it too crowded to get a drink.
Visuals & Sound
The best visuals by far of the week were at Kalypso. The stage was surrounded by large LED screens projecting images in sync with the music. Coupled with fog, lasers, and a state of the art sound system, Kalypso was definitely my favorite venue of the festival when it came to visuals and sound.
Yoshiko & Soulblast
As a result of scheduling changes due to the weather Yoshiko and Soulblast rocked the stage. Even a tropical storm didn’t hold gabbers back from living life at 250 BPM and taking it to the next level. My favorite moment of the set was the remix of Nicki Minaj – Starships, nothing like a good throwback song with an Uptempo twist.
Dimitri K threw down a legendary set with bangers like Titanium, Promiseland, and I Like to Move It. He sure knows how to keep a crowd going from start to finish and is always sure to put on a show!
I had the honor and pleasure of seeing BillX not once but twice during Forbidden Island between the boat party and the last night at Kalypso. BillX continues to be one of my favorite all time artists because he seamlessly blends together my two favorite genres Psytrance and Frenchcore.
With fan favorites like Chichovite, Pagam Totem, and Halibo, BillX took us on a journey through hard hitting kicks and high energy beats.
A household name in the Dutch Hardcore scene, the masked legend known for his distinctive on stage persona and aggressive beats brought the heat to Croatia. With tracks like Creed of Chaos, The Deadly Fist, and Solid Stigma blasting through the speakers as images of the infamous mask appeared on LED screens throughout the club this was one unforgettable set.
It was my first time seeing Doris and she is definitely an artist I will be sure to see again! This Dutch up and coming artist puts on one hell of a show with Children of the Night and even a Spongebob remix!
Atmosphere & Organization
The vibes at Forbidden Island were incredible. Everyone was there for the ultimate Hardcore holiday and despite the weather everyone was in high spirits. With the various scheduling changes because of the rain, the safety of the partygoers was of the utmost priority. When there were changes to the schedule, it was effectively communicated via social media. This year’s Forbidden Island proved that even with a tropical storm the show must go on!
Forbidden Island is the perfect festival for those looking for a fun and affordable festival in one of the most beautiful destinations in the world. Forbidden Island will return to Pag Island next year August 25th to 29th, stay tuned for more info!