The 264 Cru

a Dubai based music, arts, and culture collective

Dimensions Festival 2016: '5 Years of Dimensions' | Festival Review

Hello Croatia!

With Karak Beats having hosted a diverse selection of artists, it was only fitting that The 264 Cru should play host to the first official Dimensions Festival Launch Party in Dubai. We invited one of Dimensions Festival’s staple acts and Eglo Records head Alexander Nut to headline the event on April 7th and what a party that was. Felt truly festive.

The next step was clear - get the Cru to Dimensions, especially 2016, as it was the festival’s 5th year anniversary… and so we were extremely happy and proud to get set times for 2 of our DJs; essarai and Finlay Lefox. The guys got prime slots on Sunday night of the festival at the badass Noah’s Ballroom. Add to that, we rolled to Dimensions with a 20+ person strong posse, making this festival extra special. That was fun… more on that later.

Let’s start off with a summary on some of the ins and outs of the festival, specifically for ravers planning to go to Dimensions from this side of the world. Dimensions is a yearly festival that takes place in the incredibly scenic Pula, Croatia, in an abandoned fort along the Istrian coast that has been converted into a very unique festival space. The music at the festival is extremely diverse, ranging from Jazz, Neo-Soul and Afrobeat live performances to electronic music across all bpms. Despite this being primarily an electronic music festival, you have plenty of opportunities to catch something totally different, especially during the day on the beach and earlier hours every evening in the fort.

Getting There

Buses

With the festival being in Pula, there are a few ways you can get to the festival grounds. There is an international airport at Zagreb, capital of Croatia, and from Zagreb there are several buses that go to Pula. Duration is about 4-6 hours and they run several times a day between the two cities. Best way is to show up at the bus station once you’ve landed in Zagreb and buy a bus that suits your travel plans. You can even potentially buy them online here: http://www.akz.hr/ , but if you get to Zagreb a day or two before the festival, getting them at the bus station won’t be an issue.

The festival also provides buses to and from several airports, including Zagreb, Venice, Trieste and Ljubljana. While these buses are more expensive, the buses drop off/pick up locations are at the festival site, so if you’re on that horrid “leave right after the festival” schedule, these are probably your best bet. Check the festival site for more info on timings and prices.

Trains

If you’re planning a Euro trip prior to the festival, then you have the option to potentially even get to Pula directly via train. This option is definitely recommended if you have the time as; Firstly, you get into Pula directly without having to deal with airports, changing buses etc, secondly, you get to see the outstanding scenery between Croatia and its neighboring countries and lastly, they are usually faster than buses when covering long distances, and more comfortable. Plus, it’s Europe. Trains best bro.

Ferry

There is one last option - taking a ferry from Venice to Pula. As Italy is smack bang opposite Croatia, there are ferries that go directly from Venice to Pula, and take about 4 hours. Another sick option to explore the Istrian coast on the way to the festival. Look up the ferry schedules, because they don’t necessarily run every day!

 

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TIP: Whichever mode of transport you choose, you will be left in awe of this region’s beauty, and they are all reliable and usually on time, so don’t sweat it!
* Pro Tip: If you’re buying a return ticket, be very careful of the return timing and of duration of the ride back!

Location & accommodation

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As mentioned above, the festival takes place in the Istria region of Croatia, known for it’s pristine coastline, blue and turquoise waters and lush beaches. With the festival being held in Fort Punta Christo in Pula, we recommend you stay in the towns/villages close to the fort. That means, preferably, don’t stay in the city center of Pula, as that will mean a 10-15 mins cab ride to and from the festival every day/night/morning. Expensive, and a pain, especially at 6am after a full night of hedonism.

You can check out all the accommodation options provided by the festival on their website, they have everything from basic camping to cabins and even apartments.

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We went with an Airbnb and locked down the 264 mansion you see above; yeah, ballin. You can use Airbnb, booking.com and several other websites to find accommodation. But move fast, as all the good ones go early.

The main areas you want to stay are in Stinjan, Fazana, Veli Vrh or Valbandon. We recommend either Stinjan (closest town to the festival - walking distance) or Fazana (nice marina and town center area with loads of restaurants serving seafood, Italian and Croatian food). For all the villages apart from Stinjan, you will need to either cab it to the festival, or take the festival buses from designated locations at each of these towns, so take that into consideration.

Yes, you can definitely walk it as well, but after the first day/night of the festival, we can guarantee that will be the last thing you’ll want to do.

TIP: If you go for a non-festival accommodation option, try and communicate with the host BEFORE locking down the accommodation. It’s best to go with someone who knows what’s up and won’t kill your vibe when you’re trying to have a small after sesh. Also best to go with accommodations where the owner doesn’t live in the house/too close, for obvious reasons.

Food and Beverages

The food options at the festival aren’t the most exciting, with a decent selection of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, ranging from burgers, shawarmas to juice bars for the health freaks. Also planted all across the festival you had several bars, ranging from your standard offerings to specialized Rakija vendors, with the goal to ensure you have a good time.

TIP: Definitely go to the nearby stores and stock up on stuff. A nice fat shopping trip on the first day to one of the bigger supermarkets (like the one near Fazana center) would be a good shout, so that you can stock up on essentials. Trust us, you’ll need them.
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TIP: There are some great restaurants in the towns, and being near the coast, lot of great seafood options. Avoid the tourist traps, ask the locals and get some real grub! Don’t get stuck just eating festival food.

Festival Experience

Opening Concert

Walking up to the Pula Arena in the center of the city, you’re instantly reminded of the rich history of the Dalmatian coast. The old Roman colosseum, a remnant from another era (completed in 68 AD) now plays host to some of music’s most forward thinking champions. The days of the gladiators are over but the arena is imposing as ever and the masses still hungry for blood… err, well… tunes.

Kamasi Washington welcomed us all to kick start the festival with an immense performance, truly setting the stage for the week to come. Drummers either side of the dashiki-clad saxophonist and the full band was a show in and of itself, but the soundscape they created would move anyone. Even if you’re not a jazz fan, this new age trailblazer will leave you in complete awe.

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Act two was none other than the hugely anticipated Massive Attack. With politically charged visual content, the critically acclaimed band shook the 2000 year old arena to its core. All the frills to be expected and then some were on show, it goes without saying that by now it was all too apparent, we were about to have an unforgettable couple of days in this magical place.

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To wind things down or liven it up, depending on one’s plans for the next day, the inimitable Moodymann turned the show into a party with some of his choice cuts and selections. This was something of a double edged sword, too good to miss but also dangerous to go full steam with the actual festival starting the next day. As some less experienced party-goers would learn in the coming days, it pays to pace yourself.

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Main Festival

The main festival grounds are quite large with each stage having its own characteristic identity. The first stage you encounter as you enter the festival is the day-time hangout Beach stage. The perfect environment to go swim in the refreshing Adriatic, crystal clear water, while nursing your hangover with cold beers and juices. Not only was it a great way to recharge your batteries, it was also the stage to sample some of the festival’s eclectic, world class offerings. Some of acts that really left a mark on our faded memories, were Hunee, Antal, Dele Sosimi, Yusef Kamaal and Awesome Tapes from Africa. Yeah, right? Too sick.

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As the sun would set, you would ideally get your night gear on, power up and head back further up the festival grounds into the Fort, where all the night stages come alive. These included The Clearing, The Garden, The (infamous) Moat, The Stables, The Void and the brilliant Mungo’s Hi-Fi stage to name a few. The Clearing is where you would see some main acts blow up the spot, like the amazingly talented Hiatus Kaiyote, who sounded EXACTLY like their records. Nai Palm and her band of Aussie musicians were on point from start to finish and a must-see for act for any future soul fans.

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While we were blown away by amazing acts across all stages; may it have been the nail biting sounds by the likes of Hodge or Swamp81 boss Loefah at The Garden, the perfect warm-up sets by K-15 and Henry Wu at The Stables, Rødhåd’s time warp techno at The Moat, or pretty much the entire Karak Beats alumni at Mungo’s, you’d always find something that tickled your fancy. And man, did we get tickled.

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There are a few mainstays, but it seems like the organizers like to keep things fresh by changing stage layouts and / or adding / dropping stages each year so there’s not a lot of use (and less fun for you explorers) in us describing the whole layout. One thing you should know, it does take time to mobilize between stages, and especially if you're in a decently sized group, you should expect to lose each other for a bit every now and again… but never sweat, there are plenty of friendly people around so take the chance and make some new friends while you're at it!

Of course, there was also the closing night, where our very own essarai and Finlay Lefox played a hour and a half of pure bangers at the uber cool Ballroom, which was a 100 person venue, structured like a hollow column, with the DJ’s perched up in a little box nestled into the side of this column. Safe to say, a perfect spot for the boys to show the world what talents lie hidden in the sands of Dubai. Not only was it a proud moment for The 264 Cru to see our own smashing it at Dimensions Festival, it was a great feeling to look around and see all the familiar faces from our Karak Beats parties supporting their homeboys. Feels.

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Boat Parties

Starting the Dimensions experience with a Hessle Audio boat party was the way most of us planned our first day. Having had a sufficiently large one the night before at the opening concert, the tempo was already set, and who would scoff at the thought of sailing the seas of the Adriatic with Pearson Sound, Pangaea, Ben UFO and Shanti Celeste!? It’s not easy with so many acts on offer to keep up, but it goes without saying that you can’t really do Dimensions without attending at least one boat party.

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The atmosphere, buzz, and beautiful scenery can’t be easily replicated anywhere else so it’s a must do. We suggest afternoon boats because they lead into the sunset; it’s simply amazing to return to the Punta Christo fort to see a myriad of orange, purple and violet shades bathing the rocks and greenery of the site.

The Knowledge Arena

Ok, full disclaimer; none of us actually made it to the Knowledge Arena. And it’s not because we didn’t want to, but because we physically couldn’t. A forward thinking festival offering, Dimensions has an on-site location that has an extensive programme of free-play workstations and interactive workshops, with in-depth panel discussions and keynote interviews with festival headliners and industry experts, including but not limited to Tama Sumo, Lakuti, Byron the Aquarius, Kai Alce, The Bug and many more.

If you can manage to make one of these, be a soldier and do it - especially if you are an aspiring producer/artist, you will be able to take some invaluable knowledge and experience away from these sessions.
 

Favorite moments

Radyous

First heard of Outlook festival back in 2010 when I was planning on going to my first bass festival. What steered me away from it back then continued to do so till date, even though the draw from the plethora of my favourite artists was increasing year after year.

Fast forward to 2014 and my attention diverted to Dimensions, where it’s set at the same great location that I’ve heard so much about from many friends who have been to Outlook, but it catered to a crowd that appreciate diverse types of music. No matter what specific sound you’re mostly inclined to dance to, the Dimensions line-up would most probably have the creme-de-la-creme of that.

Fast forward 2016 and I’m throwing a Dimensions launch party! As the line-up was announced and stage times, my excitement couldn’t be contained, I had Day 1 planned: Hessle Audio boat party and then camp out the whole night at the Mungo’s stage for a ‘Mala Presents’ evening with Kahn, Mala, Om Unit and DJ Spinn. Needless to say, that was the most epic night for me.

Day 2 had some great acts at The Beach stage during the day, but couldn’t make it down there due to some law enforcement issues and ended up reaching the festival to bounce between The Garden and Mungo’s to catch Skeptical, Hodge, Loefah, dBridge, Calibre, and Alix Perez.

I didn’t have any specific acts that I really wanted to see on Day 3, so I floated around the stages that I haven’t been to yet but always reverting back to Mungo’s .. and glad I did for catching Tapes!

With a heavy heart, started Day 4 by finally making it down to The Beach in time to catch Hunee. Day 4 was also the day that fellow 264 Cru members essarai and Finlay Lefox were set to perform! Started off the evening at The 264 Mansion, which was very close to the festival that you could hear the first stage, The Clearing; where DJ Gilla was playing a great set of everything from Thurdercat to Outkast to Mala. Went down to the festival to catch the end of his set and just in time for Hiatus Kaiyote, who were my festival highlight. Amazing performance by all members, especially the drummer and bassist being locked together and on point with all the off beats and breaks. Venture off to catch a tiny bit of Danny Scrilla at Mungo’s before rushing to Noah’s Ballroom to witness 264 history. essarai and Finlay Lefox smashed up the awesome stage located in the heart of the fort and I felt proud to have been a tiny bit part of it. Mungo’s was calling after that, barely catching Sam Binga’s set and then Fracture for my last dance at Mungo’s before heading up to The Clearing for Motor City Drum Ensemble. Was quite a sad feeling trekking all the way there and seeing people leaving the stages all heading to The Clearing for what was the final dance of the festival.

(Traveling grows you as a person, but traveling to a music festival is like a fast forward in your “growth”)

P.S. .. Buy comfy shoes that are well padded and half a size bigger than your feet.

C.O.B

Daytime pool healing, midday beach sessions with live jazz, afrobeat and eclectic music selections, night time ragers with the Cru and extended fam, with 6am sunrise chill sessions back at the pad. Definitely done something good in my life, to have been blessed with this epic continuous cycle of karmic goodness.

essarai

I partied, I played, I danced, I slayed, I crashed. Awesome. Croatia will forever be in my heart.

Finlay Lefox

As a self confessed veteran of croatian festivals, it amazes me to see how the Dimensions / outlook brand has grown and morphed into what it is today, I remember the first outlook festival being just a Dub orientated event, circa 2007 it was all about Dubstep music with artists such as Digital Mystiks, Irations steppers, Benga, Chef, Coki and many others being the main acts at the event.

Fast forward 9 years, and I was back at the same location for Dimensions festival for third time, but this time with a new extended Dubai family of Karak heads and true party people, all squatting in a sick villa which was actually the closest villa to the festival site, so stumbling home was super quick and easy, we even had a pool! - Proper Dubai Balling.

The festival itself for me was a blur and haze of jokes, drinks, banter and great music. One of the stand out sets for me was Klose One who played a live set under his new One One One moniker, with raw stirpped back low end beats with bass music influence. He was followed by one of my favourite producers Hodge, whose set was a trippy, forward thinking techno fixed set. There were tons of other great sets, euphoric moments, fun, games, blackouts, and almost too much to be able to put into words. My only advice would be to go forth and check out the festival for yourself, you will not be disappointed.  

Closing Statement

All in all, this experience at Dimensions festival will remain dear to our hearts for so many reasons. The music programming, stages and sound systems (on land and sea), as always, were exceptionally on point. To add to that, Cru representing on Sunday night and epic hangs with the Dubai fam made this festival trip one to remember.

We highly recommend this festival to any explorative festival junkie, and feel free to hit us up for more tips and tricks!

This year’s Dimensions Festival will take place from the 30th of August - 3rd September, so go NOW to http://www.dimensionsfestival.com/tickets, and start planning that Euro trip. And remember, the Schegen visa process is a bitch, so start early.

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Peace,

The 264 Cru

Written by: Rishabh Chadha (C.O.B) & Danilo Venegas (essarai)

Photography Credits: Marianne Zammaria (@ishootrockstars) and Danilo Venegas (essarai)

Atlas Electronic 2016 | Festival Review

With a hunger to socialize and discover what the alternative scene was all about in Morocco, we set on our journey to Marrakesh to cover 4 days of futuristic décors, intense bpm and ratchet people partying in a mud-built villa in the middle of the desert, overlooking the stunning Atlas Mountains. Read on to see how we experienced the first edition of Atlas Electronic, a brand new festival with a promising future.

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We first heard about Atlas Electronic through social media, with the promise of “…eclectic mix of forward thinking electronic music, stunning art, visuals and traditional local music, culture and food.” As the lineup started to emerge a few days prior to the event, we got a better idea of what the organizers were up to: James Holden & Maalem Houssam Gania, Acid Arab, Roman Fluegel, BAMBOUNOU and SecretSundaze were some of the known names, though this festival was all about discovering new ones.

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With shuttle buses scheduled to pick up and drop off partygoers from Marrakesh train station every half hour (at least in paper), we headed out to Villa Janna for the opening night, which turned out to be a cosy session in comparison to what was ahead of us. After grabbing a few drinks and marvelling at the promised stunning art (def a high point!), we found ourselves partying in a manmade Roman amphitheater equipped with a massive sound system, letting Jugurtha and BeatuniQue take us on a journey, one led by the awesome visuals from Swiss guys SUPERMAFIAVJ’s and the million stars above us.

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With an early night in, we headed down next day to check out the day / pool vibes, which kicked off at noon every day and stayed open until closing hours (3ish am). With warm weather but cloudy skies, it seemed that many people preferred to do a bit of touristic stuff during the day instead of heading to the festival, with most of the crowd getting in from 8pm onwards or so. The last stage was positioned on the rooftop of the main entrance and it was hosted by the guys from Amsterdam's Red Light Radio, an online radio station operating since 2010 and showcasing a big range of DJ’s, playing more chilled out tunes and even hosting Acid Arab to close down Friday night playing a selection of their favorite songs.

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This stage quickly became our favorite chill out area, with plenty of space to sit back and take a break, and a cosy dance floor overlooking the entire site. Here, we met random people, admired and wonder the meaning of all the art around us (including live artists creating work from scratch and a digital graffiti projection) and discovered incredible talented musicians such as Philou Louzolo and local hero Polyswitch. The other highlight of the night was seeing up and coming Karnel Kovacs killing on the decks, with such an energy that unfortunately didn’t match the amount of people watching him (a recurrent but understandable fact given Atlas’ first edition).

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Although the food options were plenty and tasty, provided by the reliable Nomad Marrakesh, the prices were set with a European wallet in mind; building an appetite while waiting for the shuttle bus to arrive, we relied on a late night Marrakesh legend, La Nostalgie to refuel us for the next day. We noticed the weekend crowd arriving on Saturday, with Molly, Bambounou and Gerd & Serge scheduled to play one after each other, making the pool stage go wild with people going for refreshing dips in the middle of the night and the partying going on well after scheduled time.

We noticed that a few people, mostly coming from Europe, were already on their way back home on Sunday, though that didn’t stop the rest of us to make the most of a promising lineup. Fred P played some really funky sounds at the amphitheater and Steven Pieters & Khalil closing out in style as the few hundreds who managed to stay were sure to remember the festival for time to come.

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So our advice is: if you’re really into the techno and electronic scene, you’d probably love it, your favorite artists playing at an exotic location with great sunsets and warm weather it should definitely be considered in your calendar. Check out their page for next year’s event and let us know what you think, hosting 4 big international festivals this year alone, Morocco is growing into a fun, cheap and alternative place to have fun, eat good food and experience the blend of North African roots with European influences.

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Written by: Marco Meier & Nabeel El-Dughailib

Facebook 2017 event: https://www.facebook.com/events/298330607201379/

All photo credits go to Abstract Minded Photography and Atlas Electronic Press.

Afropunk Brooklyn 2016 | Festival Review

Growing up, punk rock was a huge part of shaping my voice as an artist and as a woman/girl. However, I never had too many people of colour , let alone women of colour to reference as part of this world in terms of artists, makers, singers, and basically punk rock icons.

Over the years I've found my tribe and my tribe has found a platform. The platform being Afropunk fest. In a sort of pilgrimage, I found myself at Day 2 of the Brooklyn chapter of the festival this August. The sun was bright, the fashion's lit and the summer spirit of expression on fire. 

A little jet lagged I wandered into the Commodore Barry Park where the crowds had already gathered, a spectacle of melanin wonder greeting my slightly overwhelmed senses. The sounds of THE SUFFERS' Texan Soul filling the afternoon air and providing a fitting backdrop to the dreamy energy that was being exuded by both performers and partakers alike. 

After getting my hands on a program and finding where the other three stages were, meant it was time to snap out of the dreamy energy and into crowd maneuvering mode. What followed was not only lots of 'excuse me, sorry, thanks' but also being left in a sense of constant awe and joy with every passing festival goer – the style, the style, the style! And while it was evident that many of the folk there, were there to merely parade and hardly for the music (a fact confirmed when five people asked me, “who is she, she lit” when the goddess Kelela took the stage -more on that later though), I could forgive it, because, WHY THE HELL NOT. It's pretty punk rock of them too. 

(Photo credit: Kyle Reyes)

(Photo credit: Kyle Reyes)

That said, for those of us who were there for the style AND music, the festival sound technicians delivered. The musicians even more so. Watching ANGEL HAZE and YOUNG FATHERS back to back was spirit numbing and not for me, for the musicians themselves. They all kept shouting out the fact that they were so over joyed to be playing to a festival audience that was a sea of brown. Angel Haze played one of her new tracks to an ecstatic crowd which she eventually jumped right into and played out her set from there to its end. Young Fathers played out their modern classic 'WAR', their voices crackling through Brooklyn as if casting the entire borough into a séance, let alone the festival audience. 

(Photo credit: Dom Macias)

(Photo credit: Dom Macias)

As the sun threatened to creep away, it was time to head over to the next stage where ESTA of SOULECTION was spinning the crowds right round. A fitting soundtrack to a chilled drink and the perfect build up to the next act, the goddess herself, KELELA. I really can't put into words how amazing she is live. She owned that stage, she owned her aura, she owned her vocals, she owned our senses. She cast a spell on us as an audience and was gracious in how much love she gave back to us, because the love was pouring toward her in droves. 'REWIND' was the crown jewel and a summation of the reeling exuded by what was hands down one of the biggest audiences of the evening, second to Janelle Monae.

(Photo credit: Kyle Reyes)

(Photo credit: Kyle Reyes)

On that note, it was time to head over to catch Janelle, however I had to turn back after a scary moment of my feet not touching the ground, there were THAT many people trying to ft into a bottle neck of an entrance that lead to the stage she was gracing. Sad to miss her, but it was time for a much needed breather of people watching and taking in those legendary levels of style. 

(Photo credit: Kyle Reyes)

(Photo credit: Kyle Reyes)

As the night sky draped us, it was time to ft in two more acts – SANGO and THE INTERNET. Syd the Kyd and friends were new to me in terms of actually listening to them 'properly' and they delivered. The layers of instruments set against Syd's vocals made for an engaging performance, fresh and definitely one with a whole new fan base – myself included. I chose to skip Ice Cube's performance for this, just saying. Even Tyler the Creator watched his talented friends from the stage wings during their entire performance. Later that night, I was in the elevator at my hotel (which turns out they were staying at too), when Syd and Matt Martians walked in and I had the unexpected honour of thanking them for a great set, to which they humbly blushed - #cuties.

(Photo credit: Kyle Reyes)

(Photo credit: Kyle Reyes)

Sango mesmerized too, even though 90% of the crowd had no idea who he was, but the bodies were moving, the feelings being felt when 'NA HORA' dropped. We caught him later in the night at one of the festival's intimate 'After Dark' party's in deep Brooklyn at the hip Friends & Lovers space. It was hosted by SOULECTION, where Sango and the gang played to a room that was basically 10000 degrees hot but people didn't care because he was on all types of point which is when we walked in. As he wrapped and swiftly exited the space (for much needed air conditioning I'm sure), Joe Kay and The Whooligan set the dance floor into escalated levels of non-stop movement for the rest of the wee hours . And despite being jet lagged and delirious at what was 2AM by that point – my girls and I did not sit down till the lights came on at 4AM and we accepted that Afropunk Fest 2016 was a wrap – it was time for that Uber.

Written by: Amirah T. for The 264 Cru

Digiwaves | Podcasts of the UAE

The 264 Cru have been running its musical outputs online for just under the last year, covering a blend of two very important sonic spectrums. The initial podcast is known as The Comedown, released every Saturday and serves as a way to promote awareness to a variety of downtempo, chilled and eclectic sounds, mixed mainly by a selected body of avid music heads from across the UAE and beyond. It’s purpose is to provide meditation for listeners wishing to sooth their heads and smooth out those weary post weekend comedowns.

On the complete flipside to The Comedown, The 264 Cru established their second output of online sounds with the Booty Bangers series. Booty Bangers is a monthly mix that promotes only the loudest, most vivacious sounds the world has to offer. Booty Bangers is composed lovingly for The 264 Cru by a wealth of today's leading international bass heavyweights, and is designed for listeners as a pre party, turn up mix to get ready for the weekend ahead.

Whilst serving up these podcasts The 264 Cru has taken note of the many different online music outputs that Dubai has to offer. Some of these unique broadcasts are being used as a way to channel individual music nights and events who want to present their musical influences in a form that is accessible to all listeners locally and across the globe.

Some of the podcasts are created to help promote the people behind it and spread their influence, while others were created out of frustration towards the existing radio stations' cloney, commercial nature that lacks edge and variety. The frequency and regularity of these broadcasts is either weekly or twice a month, showing  an urgency for expression and a desire to create a difference.

We reached out to the heads behind each of these shows and asked them for some more insights as to why they do what they do and what their various goals are. We’ve selected some of the more poignant answers from each, to piece together this blog post and entice you to check them all out.


MOTELLACAST

Every week Mohammed Abood a.k.a DJ MoCity, one of the founders of The 264 Cru curates his very own weekly Mixcloud show for the many followers he has amassed worldwide. Initially inspired by his love of Nutella, Motella cast is described as “a delicious music spread for your head”, or more specifically, an eclectic mix of some of the worlds finest current beats and bass. Growing consistently over the past year or so, MoCity shares the music he's currently digging, playing and discovering and has had a string of high-profile as well as up-and-coming guest DJs including names such as Zed Bias, Alexander Nut, Tim Parker, Addison Groove, Chunky, Kutmah, Om Unit, Sarah Farina and that's just scratching the surface.

Who’s involved?

DJ MoCity (Music) and Emote (Graphics)

A sentence describing your podcast’s format

Fresh beats from across the globe, special guest appearances interviews and now, in-depth conversations covering special topics during my travels.

Motive: What was the catalyst for starting up your series? What did you initially set out to achieve?

Find new music, stay on top of my game, share other peoples favorite music and get new listeners.

What topics and/or music do you usually showcase in your podcasts?

Beats, World Music, Bass Music, Hip-Hop, all kinds of Indie Electronica and some local brews like Radyous and his eclectic selection.

How has the Dubai and the UAE as a whole alternative music scene developed in recent years?

Massive development at high pace. Happy to be part of it in some way.

What’s next for you?

Hopefully get the show a slot on some established online radio station.

A new episode of Motellacast goes up each and every Wednesday and you can check it out by heading over to https://www.mixcloud.com/motellacast/

The Shady Shady Show

One of the earliest podcasts to start in the UAE alternative scene and is still broadcasting, albeit after a couple of years hiatus, is The Shady Shadow Show (SSS) run by the local respected DJ and nightlife reveller Shadi Megallaa.

With a format unlike any other, The SSS prides itself on its looseness, where the host and guests say what they want and play what they please. The live video broadcast via social media and live audio recording dictates an improvisational and spontaneous vibe, while also adding in the performance factor for a live audience in Shadi’s home.

Motive: What was the catalyst for starting up your series? What did you initially set out to achieve?

Initially I had been invited to play on my friend Salah Sadeq's The Crate platform. It went well & then we decided I'd have my own show, originally called The Shady Shadow. Back then it was every 6 weeks. After 4 Episodes I decided to call it quits. I had planned to start it back up at my record shop, but since the process was taking so long I brought it back as The Shadow Shadow Show & recorded it at my place. Nothing has been the same since. After changing the art direction, the flyers have become a huge part of the show.

How has the Dubai and the UAE as a whole alternative music scene developed in recent years?

Dubai's alternative music scene has grown by leaps & bounds just in the last 3 years. More so this past year. Certain promoters, mainly The 264 Cru have broadened people's musical palettes & that is very important. Same goes for the efforts of Freshly Ground Sounds & The Other Side expanding on the live music scene which is still lacking. Analog Room has also done an amazing job in digging deeper into house/techno bookings & don't play it as safe as most other promoters & venues, when it comes to house music. The scene has grown a lot recently, but there’s always room for improvement.

What are your thoughts on traditional radio (local and global)?

Sadly, traditional radio both local & global is dead. Its very uninspiring & doesn't cover a broad range of music. There aren't enough concept radio shows. How many top 40 hits can one listen to before wanting to jump off a bridge & into a pit of hungry gators. There are tons of great podcasts around the world that serve the same purpose that traditional radio once served.

Check out the most recent episode right here... 

Every two weeks you can tune in to the listen to the The Shady Shady Show head over to https://www.mixcloud.com/Shadi_Megallaa/ or watch the recap videos at facebook.com/fibrepassion/- and keep your eyes and ears peeled for Dubai’s new record shop ‘The Flipside’ which is coming to a warehouse near you.

Fresh Select

From the oldest to the newest or freshest we should say, is one of our own The 264 Cru members’ Kev Fresh, with his podcast aptly named Fresh Select. A weekly round up of new music that he is feeling at the moment as well as taking the listeners back to old gems and favorites that he has rediscovered. The podcast is run solely by Kev himself and began in May.

Motive: What was the catalyst for starting up your series? What did you initially set out to achieve?

My friend MoCity had his 1 year anniversary for his podcast Motellacast and it got me totally fired up to do something similar and commit to making something creative happen every week. I had wanted to do something similar for ages but tended to over think how hard it would be to make a weekly mix of new music. Mo showed how it was just about getting it done and putting something out each week.

The other major motivation was to have place where I could just play whatever music I was feeling and not be constrained by stuff that works for the dancefloor or what the crowd might want. I have always loved such a wide range of music i find it hard to have it make sense in a DJ set, but with the podcast/mixcast I can just do whatever I want, and people either like it or don't. It's great to have a creative outlet and spread good music to as many people as possible!

What topics and/or music do you usually showcase in your podcasts?

I don't really have a format. I just take in a lot of music over the course of the week from across the internet and then just pull together my fav 15-20 tracks. But there usually tends to be a few beats/bass heavy tunes, some hip hop, some more left-field electronica and some indie dance or disco vibes.

What are your thoughts on traditional radio (local and global)?

I honestly haven't listened to traditional radio on a regular basis for over 10 years or more. I think there is still a place for it, but broadcasting music via the radio waves is totally inefficient and massively limits the size of the audience.

The internet and the freedom it presents for finding whatever music I like, from anywhere I like, at whatever time I like, makes a lot of radio obsolete.

But I can still see a place for local radio in it's ability to bring people together and create a central point for a scene or a group of scenes. However any radio station now needs to have an online aspect.

As far as the local radio I have heard, it is total rubbish, pop music, censored, mainstream stuff. Just copy-paste corporate style radio that you could hear anywhere around the world. Except here I think they only have about 20 tunes on repeat. I feel sorry for the kids that grow up here with that as their only option.

Check out the most recent episode right here... 

Catch the Fresh Select show every monday over at https://www.mixcloud.com/kevfresh/

Bassworx DXB Radio Show

One of Dubai’s veterans of the Drum and Bass scene Tim Woodstock, runs a weekly show which started early on in 2016. An informal radio station featuring a mix of Drum and Bass and Jungle from a selection of local artists Woodle and Trigger being the main residents, with a wealth of guests on rotation which include Mach4, Sya One, Espace, Cruz, JAB, Militan, Somalie and many others. The shows are aired live on Lazerfm.com and later the recordings are uploaded to Mixcloud.

How has the Dubai and the UAE as a whole alternative music scene developed in recent years?

It's a never ending roller-coaster. Promoters, events and punters come and go, and the "scene" evolves with it.

Who else in Dubai do you think is on a similar mission to what you’re trying to achieve? Is there a partnership/collaboration?

We've always had strong ties with Globalfunk and Deep Crates Cartel. Past collaborations have been successful and we're working on plans for later in 2016.

What are your thoughts on traditional radio (local and global)?

Local radio is in dire need of variety. The vicious cycle of pop / house music fueling a crowd with equally narrow tastes is frustrating to say the least.

What’s next for you?

Keeping on keeping on.

Check out the most recent episode right here... 

Catch Bassworx Radio show evey week over at www.mixcloud.com/BASSWORX_DXB/

Tea With Culture

Twice a month Hind Mezaina artist and founder of The Culturist blog (theculturist.com) along with Wael Hattar who is an artist and founder of Young Collectors Collective together form the Tea With Culture podcast where they discuss the art scene in the UAE, including reviews and thoughts on specific films or exhibitions, giving their recommendations on art and culture events and interviewing people from the scene.

Motive: What was the catalyst for starting up your series? What did you initially set out to achieve?

Share the conversations Wael and I have when we get together with a wider audience. We have lots of opinions/thoughts on the arts and culture scene in the UAE and we decided it was something we wanted to share to create a discussion. We were tired of the fluffy like art reviews we normally read, or the self promotional pieces and the lack of thoughtful criticism when it comes to the culture scene in the UAE in the local media (radio, newspaper, magazines).

What are your thoughts on traditional radio (local and global)?

Local radio [is] terrible. Dubai Eye 103.8 feels like it is dumbed-down radio and isn't interested in critical discussions on the shows that are about art/culture/film. Also it's 'very white' and not interested in being diverse with their guests, topics, which doesn't represent the city.

As for the local music channels, they all play the same songs. No one is interested in seeking out new music and no interest in playing music by local/regional musicians. The only time I hear music by local/regional musicians is on the show co-presented by TripleW once a week, late night on Dubai Eye 103.8. Every time I listen to that show, I wonder why can't we hear this music during the day. It's as good as, [or] even better than the so called "radio friendly" commercial songs.

I listen to a handful of radio stations outside the UAE and lately listen to more podcasts, e.g. NPR, Monocle Radio, BBC 6. There are some intelligent well programmed shows on traditional radio and it's a shame there's no equivalent in the UAE.

How has the Dubai and the UAE as a whole alternative music scene developed in recent years?

I would replace "alternative music scene" with "independent music scene". I don't believe there's an "alternative" music scene in the UAE. It's a word I feel that gets misused, just like "underground".

There has been an increase in independent musicians, singers, music promoters that are trying to promote local talent or fly in smaller acts that aren't deemed 'commercial'. The local music scene has been developing for more than 10 years and I get frustrated when there's only acknowledgement made to what is currently made and presented, as it's never been done. Part of it is people come and go, or many with short-term memories and people that like to be promoted as the next big thing.

Check out the most recent episode right here... 

Head over to - theculturist.com to keep up to date with Hind and Wael’s artistic endevours

The Dukkan Show

Found on iTunes each and every week The Dukkan Show hosted by local MCs and creatives Toofless, OT and Jibberish focuses on spirited discussion and celebrates friendships and bonds created in tight-knit neighborhoods such as the ones found in the region, namely centered around the local grocery shop or ‘Dukkan’. The hosts tackle a wide range of topics from ‘Cultural Pollination’ to Zakat, poetry, and childhood experiences.

What topics and/or music do you usually showcase in your podcasts?

There is neither an agenda nor format for the topics, as long as it interests us personally and collectively.  As far as the music is concerned, the segment is highly essential and is a reflection of the Dukkan identity; we don’t believe in putting this segment in a box, in other words there is no specific genre that identifies the Dukkan. With that being said, the music is chosen very carefully with an objective to create an avant-garde experience and heal our listeners, we firmly believe in the power of music and poetry because it’s been part of lives since we were young. Another factor, is to break boundaries and showcase music that traditional radio won’t play and have a message that is of positive substance, the music we play ties all cultures, races, religions, nationalities and backgrounds. In a nutshell, it’s all about putting out good music and good vibes.

How has the Dubai and the UAE as a whole alternative music scene developed in recent years?

Dubai’s alternative music scene was always there, but remained under the radar. In recent years it has definitely emerged and solidified its presence, and it’s all because of the consistencies of the people that made it happen, we are keen to continue this legacy forward, and add our flavor to it.

Who else in Dubai do you think is on a similar mission to what you’re trying to achieve? Is there a partnership/collaboration?

We cannot deny collectives such as DUST, OHM, yourselves (The 264 Cru), Deep Crates Cartel, Bad House Party and other true players that contributed to the scene’s development like DJ Solo (whom is highly underrated) Danny Neville, Rony Jaxx and many more that kept It flowing. The Dukkan was/is always involved in the scene’s development, whether it’s behind the scenes, support or engaging in events that truly care to push the scene forward such as recent collaborations with RBMA and The Future of the UAE Music Scene panel, which was hosted by Brown Book at the Intersect by Lexus, amongst many more. And we are always down to collaborate and partner with others that believe in a similar vision.

What’s next for you?

The main focus is to elevate the quality of the show. There are a few plans in the pipeline, but at the moment it’s about tailoring the show in terms of concepts, design, quality, and consistency. Once all that is done, some announcement will follow so stay tuned for that. Another exciting project being embarked on is the introduction of Dukkan’s Bidoun band, showcasing Toofless and Jibberish backed by a highly skilled band performing live shows.

Check out the most recent episode right here... 

Head over to http://www.dukkanshow.com to find out more

Wasta Radio

Wasta Radio is a weekly well-balanced mix of everything between the latest and trending, non-specific genres that appeal to the current youth, with a handpicked Top 10 selection from leading music blogs, run by MC Hype, Firas Al-Bakrj and Sydney Miranda.

Motive: What was the catalyst for starting up your series? What did you initially set out to achieve?

Recently me and a couple friends were driving around in my car and noticed something odd after I got stuck in Dubai traffic. As I tried to skip the songs on the radio the same songs would be playing different stations when I switched. It was very frustrating and it turns out that everyone can relate to it. I started to notice that there wasn't a flow to music selection on radio so I set off to making my own unique experience that others can enjoy and relate to with Wasta Radio.

How has the Dubai and the UAE as a whole alternative music scene developed in recent years?

There are only a few places to go out here in Dubai where you can enjoy your Alternative fix. However, it is growing year by year which means the awareness is there and that's what we hope to bring to the community.

What are your thoughts on traditional radio (local and global)?

Some people like them and some people don't. We want to serve the people with something new and fresh that they can enjoy.

What’s next for you?

We pride ourselves in hosting live podcast events, our last one was at Cafe Rider and we really enjoy the audience interactions and watching the good vibes grow. Keep a lookout on our next event.

Check out the most recent episode right here... 

Check out Wasta Radio here at Mixcloud - www.mixcloud.com/WastaRadio/

Soundwave 2015 | Festival Review

In August 2015, following a heavy weekend with stellar gigs by Fantan Mojah, JAMALSKI and The Wanton Bishops, The 264 Cru escaped to the beautiful Adriatic coast of Croatia to attend the Soundwave Festival - a boutique festival, where incidentally the Cru’s own DJ MoCity was also billed to play at, is known for its unique setting, laidback vibes and exceptional bookings.

Now entering its 8th year and rising in popularity, one of Europe's most friendly and intimate festivals promised to showcase a mix of mature electronic acts and alternative live performances that has something for everyone. In addition, the warm sun could be enjoyed sailing the Argonaut, Soundwave’s party ship where you could expect to hear anything from broken beat, reggae, afro to acid jazz, hip-hop, soul, funk and drum & bass by visiting DJ’s and performers. Nestled in a small fishing village of Tisno, the festival certainly lived up to our expectations, and was one of few festivals that had great food offerings (in and around the festival) that definitely added to a wholesome festival experience.

Read on for our take on the experience and start planning! Tickets for the 2016 edition are going on sale now!

How to get there?

The closest international airport servicing Dubai nonstop is Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. There are a few options on how to get there, so it really all depends on your budget and how much time you want to spend travelling. Currently, the only direct flight is with flydubai. Once there, you will have to get a connecting flight or make your way down to the festival by train or bus (more on that below). If you prefer to fly into Zadar or Split (the closest airports to Tisno) you can do so with Austrian Airlines (via Vienna), Lufthansa (via Munich or Frankfurt) or Smart Wings (via Prague) for a higher fee.  

If you do choose Zagreb, you can take a bus directly towards Tisno (~4.5 hours) or, if you prefer a break in between, you can even catch the pre-party in Zadar (~3 hours) and then take a local bus to the village of Tisno the next day. If you land in Split, there are official festival transfers (they sell out quickly!) and local buses that make the hour journey into Tisno (check bus schedules here). The other option is to rent a car in wherever you land - makes sense if you are a group of 4 or more, although returning the car is a bit of a mission (as none of the major rent-a-car companies have offices in the village itself). For more information on transfers and cheap flights within other cities in Europe, check the festival site at http://www.soundwavecroatia.com/travel/.

TIP: especially if you are travelling solo or with one other person, check the festival Facebook page regularly as many people travelling by car offer rides from Zagreb, Zadar and Split to the festival. An additional ride-sharing option is blablacar, which allows people travelling between cities and towns to take people for a set fee. These options are a cheap and easy way to get there while allowing you to meet fellow festival goers, so use them wisely!

Location & Accommodation

With Croatia is becoming a major European hub hosting over 20 plus quality festivals a year (Outlook, Dimensions, Exit, Hideout amongst  others), it seems hard to find a location that maintains the small town charm while providing excellent facilities and great value. However, Tisno does that just perfectly; The Garden Tisno camping area is a year-round facility that can host roughly 2,000 people, ensuring the friendly and chilled vibes of a camp site remain day in and day out.

(Photo credit: @tonick_moss)

The Garden Resort Accommodation (on site)

We definitely recommend staying on site, as anything else will require you to have a car or to learn the limited and unreliable local bus schedules! In addition, most of the best options sell out quickly, so be ready to pay for the deposit and avoid the hassle of trying to a place off site. Depending on your budget, you can go from the cheapest options of DIY Camping (bring your own tent) and Indian Shiker tents to retro airstream trailers with air conditioning, apartments for 2 to 4 people or steeze out and book yourself the Yacht Gulet Babac, the only one moored in the Garden Bay (fits 10 people).

TIP: It got HOT last year during the day, and the temperature reached some 50 degrees celcius around noon inside the tents (as measured by one of the guys running the camping area). So, choose your accommodation wisely.

(photo credit: Dana Mirkovic)

TIP: If you book the airstream, keep in mind that you will have to book it for 7 nights, regardless of how many nights you actually stay there. Considering it is a bit pricy, it would be a good idea to spend an extra day or two in the camping area. If you do, make sure you follow suit and rent a small boat to sail around the nearby islands (the smallest engine requires no captain, though it ain’t that fast). You can’t go wrong with the endless amount of beautiful scenery and you can even discover secret beaches and enjoy Croatia in all its glory, and hopefully sober (ish).

Private villas and apartments (off site - Tisno)

Besides airbnb, you can also find space on some local websites where you will have to deal with the owner and the process yourself. Good external resources are Croatia Bay and Love Music Travel. Again, keep in mind how far away the festival is from the apartments, and may require either a tazi ride, a bus ride or a relatively long walk.

TIP: BIA (book in advance). Seriously. While we know it is hard sometimes to decide on which festival to attend and when to book, if you are down for Soundwave, the choice of accommodation will have a direct relation to how much you enjoy the festival :)

Munchies & Booze

If you love food, you’re going to have a field day with some of the munch that is on offer. From smoked ribs to 18-inch Italian paninis, the food was well above the standards of other festivals we’ve been to, which we also acknowledge might have a direct correlation to its price. The only restaurant serving proper hangover recovery breakfast, as well as fully prepared lunch and dinner, operates all year round, so you know their ingredients are fresh and the cooking is of high quality. In addition, there are over 10 food stalls strategically placed around the Garden serving smoked ribs, deli sandwiches and shawarmas, juices and tasty desserts.

TIP: if you feel like taking a walk and exploring the coast, head north towards the village and walk along for 15 minutes, where you will come across a place called Carmen. The restaurant not only serves some of the most delicious seafood and pasta dishes but also features an outdoor patio built on the water so you can jump in the ocean and refresh before you dig in (highly recommended).

(Photo credit: @tonick_moss)

As far as alcoholic beverages go, the prices in the festival were definitely higher than if you bought booze outside. We brought our stack of duty free goodies and that lasted us the duration of the festival, so definitely try and stock up if you can. Bars were spread out throughout the festival site and payment was only in cash.

TIP: Bring your own booze if you’re staying on-site. Whilst apartments have their own fridges for storage and ice, airstreams also have smaller fridges that allow you to store enough for those occasional pre-game sessions and mid-evening snacks. Also, going for a dip in the refreshing water (which is literally a 2 minute walk from the campsite), with a nice cold beer listening to the day-time sets, is definitely a good hangover cure and should be done on a daily basis.

Festival Experience

In general, the festival is quite well organized, safe and it feels like a big party among friends. With that being said, it also attracts a rather young crowd that come in large groups - at times it felt a bit young and cliquey. The festival is spread over five days, with three festival stages, the Argonaughty party sail boat and the open air after-party spot, Barbarella. Here is our two cents on each and what not to miss out on.

Pre-parties

There were a few impromptu pre-parties that seemed to be planned a bit last minute and without much advertisement - one in Zagreb and one in Zadar. The pre-party in Zagreb took place at the Swanky Monkey Garden, a cool rooftop bar where we got the opportunity to meet local Zagrebians and down some nice local Ožujsko beer.  We didn’t make it to the second pre-party, but we assume it would have also been a relatively intimate affair.

Boat Parties

There were a total of 13 boat parties spread over five days, leaving the pier at 1pm, 4:30pm and 8pm, with each trip lasting 3 hours. These were definitely one of the highlights of the festival … the vibe, the music and the fun that ensued led to a great way to spend the day before the main acts got underway on land.

TIP: Time your boats! A big part of having an awesome experience at Soundwave is to hit a few boat parties; the wooden sailing boat with beautiful scenery and pumping sound system will give you 3 hours to remember. We recommend you attend day boat parties, preferably the afternoon ones since that guarantees you won’t be missing out on any action at the ground stages. They also give you the chance to enjoy the sunshine AND sunset aboard the Argonauthy.

(Photo credit: @tonick_moss)

Main Festival

The festival had 3 stages; a beach stage right on the water, a mid-sized marquee style tent and finally the large ‘main stage’ in the middle of the festival grounds. Moving in between stages was easy and seamless, with each of them being within 3-5 minutes walk of each other and never being suffocatingly packed - enough space to dance, chill or socialize. This also meant losing your friends was almost impossible and the campsite was a stones throw away - something rare you probably won’t get at larger festivals.

(Photo credit: @tonick_moss)

The sound systems were impressive, even at the smaller beach stage, where you could be lounging or swimming in the water while clearly listening to the sounds of the DJ on decks. The larger stage had the perfect sound to complement all styles of music, may it have been Channel One, Mr. Scruff & Alex Nut, Andreya Triana or dubstep don Mala.

One thing that really stood out, which we’ve mentioned before, is the ‘family vibe’ of the entire festival. Where most festivals have security guards looming everywhere, with friendly volunteers few and far in between, Soundwave felt like there was no security (in a good way), leaving you at ease to enjoy in whatever way you wanted. We also hung out with the festival directors (a cool middle-aged couple) several times, as they would just walk around and strike up conversations with festival go-ers and ensure everyone was having a grand time - that was definitely special.

Apart from music, the festival grounds also served as a kind of canvas, with several artists from all over Europe turning the walls of across the festival site into living, evolving pieces of art. This was a nice touch to complement the greenery around the festival area and a way to explore some of the local artists.

"Flying roots" Collaboration by Artez / Lunar / Cazer / Mosk / Smack / Teoson (Photo Credit: Slaven Lunar Kosanovic)

The After Parties

The after parties were held at a big outdoor club called Barbarellas. Although getting there (especially after a full day of partying) was a bit of a mission, it would be well worth it to catch some sick acts early into the morning hours. The club is located 30 minutes away, which required you to board the festival provided buses to get there. The party would kick off at 2am and last until 5am (ish), with transfer and club tickets costing extra to the normal festival ticket. It was always fun to be on a bus with a bunch of ‘excited’ festival go-ers, as a lot of unexpected stuff would go down. For instance, this one time, our homie Ratish (for some unknown reason) started singing the Lion King theme song, and before you knew it, the entire bus broke out into a Lion King musical for 30 mins.

TIP: If you know yourself, and you know that you’re not going to go home at 1am, get your after party tickets in advance and don’t wait till the last bus to get there!

(Photo Credit: Christopher Werrett)

TIP: If you’re still feeling energetic after the official after party, there is another unofficial after party at a club down the road from the entrance of the festival. It’s not fully supported by the festival, but they’re ‘cool’ with it.

Favorite Acts & Moments

While most festivals try to bombard you with a 1001 acts, Soundwave kept it simple, with key quality acts, balanced with younger and more upcoming artists, which had enough variety for even the seasoned festival goer. As we’ve done before, in no particular order, we wanted to list our favorite moments. Although many of the bookings were great, these are the ones that left a lasting impression on us:

DJ Mocity - One of my favorite moments, other than performing there, would have to be stumbling back to the beach stage from a boat party and hearing Aurora De Raynes voice over Touchy Subject’s productions. I love having a list of acts I’m going to check out for sure but the idea of hearing something I’ve never heard and falling in love with their sound is one of my main missions in attending festivals across the world. At Soundwave 2015, that magic moment was definitely Aurora De Raye & Touchy Subject’s beach set. Like the character from Greek Mythology, Jason (apt because the boat was called The Argonauthy), the siren call of Aurora’s voice beckoned me off the boat and towards the stage. The bed of 160 bpm beats provided by Touchy Subject kept me afloat while Aurora eased me back out of the waviness that was induced from previously mentioned boat party. If you’ve managed to make it this far in the article, congratulations, you’re a seriously loyal fan of The 264 Cru, now pass me the Dokha, I’m fiending.

(Photo credit: @tonick_moss)

C.O.B - Though I have seen him play before and arguably on a bigger setup, this set by Mala was truly special. The visuals and sound were top shelf, and there was enough space in the ‘sweet spot’ allowing me to ape out without elbowing anyone. I still remember when he dropped his track Changes, but the James Blake Harmonimix version (which I hadn’t heard before), and with the overwhelming visuals, it all just blew my mind. Another memorable moment was steppin with the true rastas, the preachers armed with only a mic and dubplates, Channel One Soundsystem - 5 hours of straight roots and power dub that is something you rarely get to experience in Dubai, so I went all in.

essarai - Definitely the standout gig for me was Mr. Scruff b2b Alexander Nut (with guest appearances by Fatima and Chunky on mic duties, what a killer combination eh?) Watching the chemistry between the two DJs unravel before us as they also took steps back to laugh and joke around and probably discussing the tracks they were playing… it was really special.

Also great to see Mr. Scruff after his Dubai gig and catch up with him, he’s a super rad, down to earth dude and of course after that just recently we had Alexander Nut here in Dubai completing the circle (you’ll recall I warmed up for Fatima at the Lemon Jam, and of course Chunky MCing at Karak and DJing at Future Sailors 001).

I’d would point out however that it’s a good idea to go with a crew because at least for me, the crowd at the festival was a bit young (OK I'm old but, it felt a tiny bit cliquey). I joined the festival plan late, so went with no expectations and didn’t look at the lineup once. I let my faith in the guys guide me and it paid off big time, it’s become almost too commonplace to drool over lineups and gigs that you start to base your plans on all of it and I for one don’t enjoy that aspect of running around and sorting out my time based on stage clashes etc…

Soundwave had great music all the time and apt for the time of day as well. The manageable size of the site also means you can simply change location if you’re not feeling it and not fear of never finding your friends again. It was also a great way to check out lots of acts I’d not heard of before and just get lost in the beauty of it all, the music, the smiles, and beautiful Croatia.

(Photo Credit: Soundwave Croatia)

(Photo Credit: Soundwave Croatia)

Closing Statement

As more and more festivals come up every year, especially in Croatia, it is good to see that boutique events can hold their own and give you a unique festival experience. This is also a festival you could treat as a ‘holiday’, particularly thanks to the intimate setting and laid back vibe, and not like other festivals that tend to be quite hectic, where eventually end up running between stages a mile apart, being pushed around by thousands of people.

We would definitely recommend Soundwave to anyone looking to mix a getaway with some good music and partying. Not to mention, great grub to make sure you come back with that holiday belly! We definitely enjoyed ourselves to the max while meeting some cool cats and kicking it with a bunch of the artists that hung around for the majority of the festival. This in turn gave us the opportunity to host a few of the bigger names at our Karak Beats parties (Chunky, Mala, Alexander Nut).

In short, be sure to follow our tips and we guarantee a good time.

Big ups,

The 264 Cru

Written by: Marco Meier (Nullum), Mohammed Abood (DJ MoCity), Rishabh Chadha (C.O.B) & Danilo Venegas (essarai) Extra photography: Jaro Moravek (tonick_moss)

Magnetic Fields 2015 | Festival Review

In December 2015, The 264 Cru were invited to play at Magnetic Fields Festival in India and we were thrilled to be the opening act on Day 1 at the Heineken Desert Disco stage. The festival promised to be 3 days of music, art, food and magical connections in a 17th century palace in Shekhawati, Rajasthan.

We had a sick 3 days there, and needless to say this was an adventure and a shit load of fun! With some of us having attended the previous Magnetic Fields editions and some of us being newbies, we hope to give you different perspectives to make it easier for you to make a decision about Magnetic Fields 2016. Keep reading for some of our top tips, favourite moments and overall experience.

Transport/time from airport

We flew into Delhi so our transport perspective in this article will be from there. But for details around getting to the festival that is covered in depth HERE. From our experience, the drive will take a little longer than you might think, so allow plenty of time to get to the festival from the airport or major city you leave from. Indian roads are a little crazy, so definitely don’t base your timing on assumptions. The distance might not be that far on google maps, but Google can’t see all the cars, tuk tuk’s, trucks, taxi’s, wandering cows and random transport devices (think horse and cart) that are sharing the roads.

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 1.37.48 AM.png
TIP: Grab a sim card from one of the local telco providers Vodafone or Airtel and load up on a bunch of data. 3G is pretty good even out at the festival. You know you want to be connected. It’s super cheap and pretty straightforward to get setup, you can do this right in the arrivals lounge at the Airport. Don’t leave the arrivals lounge till you are totally sorted (including a bathroom stop before you hit the road) as you will not be able to go back inside the airport, no exceptions.

LOCATION & ACCOMMODATION

The first thing that hits you when you arrive at the Alsisar Mahal (the 17th Century Palace) is that the festival site is right in the heart of the local village, like we mean it’s right in the middle! Unlike most festivals you may have been to that are out in the middle of nowhere, on a beach or in a field, far from the public, at Magnetic Fields you are smack bang in the middle of a small village and its people. This makes for a special and unique experience as you get to interact with the locals, eat great food and get a taste for small town India. We can only imagine what they think of 2,000 party people descending on their usually quiet village and partying at all hours for 3 days!

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The festival accommodation is broken into 2 main zones. The main area is the Mahal itself where the stages are set up and also some of the accommodation (for the ballers). If your budget permits, getting a room in the Mahal is definitely a good move and makes for a comfy stay, but you are closer to the big stages (think morning/afternoon sound checks - they can make for quite a rude awakening). 

For the more budget festival goer, the other accommodation options are in the Bedouin tent village which has the pre set up ‘luxury’ tents, with electricity, running water and even a bathroom attached! Other than that, there is also an area where you can bring your own tent and make your own space. Prices vary for each accommodation option, see HERE for more details.

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Food and beverages

The tent village was separated from the main festival site by a small street/alley that lead through the back part of the village. This area was a public space so a lot was going on there. The festival had worked with locals to have them set up small stalls selling everything from epic egg omelettes, curries, water bottles, chai and cigarettes. So this was a super cheap way to get some decent supplies and food and also directly benefit the local people. Aside from this, the festival had a good offering of food and beverages within the palace; wood fire pizza, waffles, tasty curries, wraps, roti etc. They even had an authentic ‘chai wala’ near the entrance of the palace and fresh coconut water and ice cream vendors at the desert stage! All these were all priced reasonably well (especially for non-Indian incomes) and were a good option for those hungover 4pm lunches.

As far as alcoholic beverages go, the prices in the festival were definitely higher than if you bought booze outside. So perhaps bring a few of your own supplies and “top up” back at your tent or room, but don’t tell anyone we told you that ;) Also as far as other party favors go, we advise extreme discretion in public spaces with any of your synthetic or herbal remedies, as there was a strong presence of local law enforcement.

TIP: All items within the festival site (apart from merchandise/clothing) had to be bought via ‘festival money’. This is non-refundable, so we suggest you buy them on a day-to-day basis to avoid being stuck with unnecessary monopoly money at the end of the festival!

TIP: Go exploring around the village and meet the locals. Aside from the street full of treats, some of the local houses had opened themselves up to buy goods and food! We stopped into a small family place and had the most amazing lunch right in their shared space (for super cheap) - tasty homemade Rajasthani food right from mum’s kitchen, YUM!
TIP: make sure to bring a good supply of rupees in smaller denominations, don’t be trying to drop 1000 rupee notes on the locals, they won’t have change and will give you the death stare!

Festival Experience

The festival was broken into 3 main performance areas: The Heineken Desert Disco stage (located in the Bedouin Village), The South Stage and the Red Bull Music Academy North Stage, both of which were located in the palace.

The programming was simple, yet effective: 2-6pm acts would be at the Desert Disco stage for people to enjoy the sunshine tunes in the desert, followed by the bands and majority of the live acts on the largest South Stage, followed by the more dance oriented acts at the RBMA North Stage.

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One really cool aspect of the programming was that they only ran one stage at a time. For some, this might seem weird and not offer more options if you are not feeling the current act, but we thought this was a great way to program the festival for several reasons; firstly, it meant that you didn’t feel like you were missing out on any acts. Secondly, it also meant that you avoided that schizophrenic running about the festival trying to see everything, and lastly, it guaranteed that each act had an audience to play to! This also kept the crowd together, giving you the opportunity to get to know each other, reinforcing the intimate feeling of the festival.  

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There must have been around 2,000 people max, which made for an intimate experience with some of the best people on earth. You had a sense that if you were there, you knew what was up! Smiles all around, good vibes, good people. This also made the event special, because at no point did you feel it was over packed or crazy busy, but you still had a big crowd getting into the music and keeping up the vibes HARD till wee hours of the morning.

TIP: Each night, there is a secret pop up after party at undisclosed locations in the palace. So once the last main stage finishes up around 3-4am, hold tight, cause shit is about to pop off somewhere else in the palace!
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As far as production goes, we were super impressed with the level and quality of production they had at all zones. From the DJ gear to the sound, lighting and visuals, you could have been at any festival in Europe or North America, which is pretty impressive based on the location and constraints of the site! Check the photos HERE to get a vibe for the set up. We were totally stoked on the epic scale of projection video mapping of the palace above the North Stage and the massive LED visuals screens at the South stage - the content, as well as the size, left us with that otherworldly feeling at the end of every set. Well done mixtape team! (http://www.mixtapelive.in)

Apart from being joyfully overwhelmed by sound and visuals, you had freedom to roam around the palace and explore its history and architecture, involve yourself in activities like the treasure hunt, yoga sessions and star gazing, or peruse the different vendor stalls that were set up in the ‘bazaar’ - from merchandise, to tattooing & henna, to organic immune boosting juices!

Favorite international acts

We thought the music programming this year was A-grade (big up MF team), and so in no particular order, we wanted to list our favorite international acts. Although all the bookings were great, these are the ones that left a lasting impression on us:

Hunee & Antal

The headliners on the first night at the RBMA stage, Hunee & Antal came packed with an arsenal of disco & house bangers. From the moment they came on to the time they dropped their last tune, you could just see people moving non-stop, with massive grins all around. A great mix of disco, latin, house edits and feel good music to close out the North Stage on first night of the festival in a spectacular fashion.

Shigeto

A favorite of many at The 264 Cru, Shigeto was a highlight of the festival and we’re pretty sure most festival goers would agree with us. Sitting on stage between his drumkit and live equipment, strategically nestled in the center of the massive LED visuals, Shigeto transported us to other realms with his meticulous jazz-like drumming flawlessly mixed in with his use of live electronics. It left us in awe of his astounding ability to create such a rich sonic and percussive landscape, right in front of us.

Mumdance

Mumdance stepped up, smashed the dance floor and left us all reeling - straight bass bin machine gunna style. This grime veteran, who is infamous for incorporating beatless grime atmospheres into his mixes and productions, served up a deadly dose of hard-hitting UK grime, dutty dance floor riddims and signature Mumdance edits and soundscapes to make the crowd move so hard, one would have thought it was the last dance of Zion.

Objekt

No one can construct a set like Objekt, and we witnessed that first hand. Seamlessly mixing everything from electro, to different forms of techno and even IDM, his set was like a journey through the galaxies of electronica. If that wasn’t enough, the visual projection mapping on the palace walls above were exceptionally psychedelic during his set - it felt like you were flying through space. Private space agencies, take note - this man should be in your control room providing the soundtrack for your private space voyages.

Garden City Movement

Upbeat, energetic and melodic, the Tel Aviv based Garden City Movement were one of the most exciting bands we witnessed at the festival. The 4 man live band played a repertoire of indie soaked electronica, with dreamy harmonies layered with driving yet subtle 2-step electronic beats. As they gain more and more recognition worldwide, this is a band to watch in 2016. We also enjoyed breaking bread with them and dominating them at table tennis in the artist lounge :p

Hope to see you guys soon -  respect!

Kutmah

Last but in no sense the least, the homie Justin aka KUTMAH is one you can trust to get people stomping even after they have raged non-stop for 2 straight days. Any other DJ may have had a hard time in playing the closing set of the festival, but KUTMAH’s selection of banging hip-hop and uptempo beat music sprinkled with other leftfield tunes from his digital crates, took us from groggy head nodding to full on rage mode within minutes. The perfect 90 minutes you could have asked for to catapult you into the rest of the night.

TIP: Bring warm clothes! Shit gets super cold at night, like 5°C! It’s nice and toasty warm during the day but temperature drops really quick once the sun goes down. Don’t get caught out cause this could really ruin your whole party. This also extends to sleeping, bring an extra blanket or sweaters if you can. Stay fresh, but at the same time, stay cozy!

Favorite Moments

DJ MoCity

Not sleeping, not spending time alone, being with my India family and my extended international family from Istanbul to Kuala Lumpur representing with The 264 Cru! Making new friends, having the freedom not to look at my work emails and ultimately just a few good days of pure ratchetness with amazing music!! Each and every after party had a special unique experience and feeling that it generated. The music was also diverse at every party, trap to footwork on the opening night by the Rudoh and _RHL, to Resident Advisor's Dungeon Party with Soul Clap’s Bamboozle and finally ending it with New Delhi’s audio visual collective BLOT with their amazing visual installations in the garden.

C.O.B

Stumbling out of my tent on Sunday afternoon, wrecked as balls, to be greeted by the sweet sounds of roots and dub thanks to India’s very own reggae kingpin, Delhi Sultanate. I personally cannot go more than a few days without my dose of roots reggae, so this is EXACTLY what I needed. A strictly 45s set of classics and deep cuts, Delhi Sultanate was the perfect antidote to my poison ridden body. Moreover, he was promoting his Bass Foundation Roots Sound System initiative, which was extremely inspiring and stays true to the ethos of Jamaican soundsystem culture; no sponsors, no venues, no corporate BS - all you need is a soundsystem and selectas, and the skankers and vibes will follow.

Shortly after his sundowner set, I went to contribute to the cause and returned with a DOPE Bass Foundation Roots hoodie - I sported that for the rest of the day/night.

Much love and respect. Jah!

Kev Fresh

Kev has been missing since the festival - we think he’s still in Alsisar looking for that post-party. Not sure he got the memo, but we know he had many memorable moments that are safely locked up deep in his subconscious.

Closing Statement

Overall, we want to thank Magnetic Fields for inviting us to come and play - we had a great time, the hospitality was on point and the festival offerings were right up our alley. With some of us having attended previous MF editions, we think the management has done a great job of managing the growth of the festival from 700 people to 2000 people in just 3 years, while keeping up the vibe and continuously adding to and improving the festival in all aspects.

Only thing we’d request the team to incorporate for next year is a third wave coffee vendor - we’re big on our coffee, so that would be icing on the cake!

Much love to the Magnetic Fields team and well done! Hope to see you again in 2016 with the Dubai massive.

Peace,

The 264 Cru

Written by: Kevin Mckernon (Kev Fresh), Rishabh Chadha (C.O.B) & Mohammed Abood (DJ MoCity)

Photography by: artfoto studiosNeville Sukhiav, & Kevin Mckernon