Set against the backdrop of an eighteenth century Austro-Hungarian fort, Outlook festival provides the most historic rave Europe has to offer.
Now in its 5th year, Outlook is renowned for four things: the world’s hottest underground dance acts, an epic setting, boat parties, and sunshine. We were therefore gutted to arrive from the miserable English weather to constant downpours at the festival site. After so many washout UK festivals this summer, the presence of storm clouds at a site that had not seen rain for months was a cruel blow. That said, Outlook’s world-class music and upbeat vibe were the perfect antidote. As soon as one of their unrivalled sound systems came within earshot, the rain, if anything, added to the experience.
Outlook is rooted in the Jamaican bass culture and has evolved to incorporate all forms of underground dance music from jungle to dubstep. No moment better encapsulated the musical ethos of the festival than returning from our London Pack Grime Boat Party to be greeted by the reggae sounds of YT & Tal Jam Riddim Band.
Much of Outlook’s mission is to educate as well as entertain. Many of the boat parties in particular had acts such Skream taking the crowd on a journey through the history of dubstep and bass. Due to the underground and perhaps intense nature of much bass music, there are many who perceive the music on offer at Outlook as inaccessible if not slightly intimidating. People hear the terms dub, grime and drum and bass and immediately imagine the most extreme ends of the scale. Through an incredible diversity of acts, Outlook caters to the most devoted fans of bass as well as those just discovering it.
The acts themselves were simply sensational. The MCs in particular created an awesome energy, maintained by the finest sound systems and fuelled by some of the world’s greatest bass artists. Particular highlights included sets from Rudimental, Skream and Plastician and P Money. Special mentions should also go to the likes of Ben UFO, Spyro and Bonobo’s DJ set. If there had to be a seminal musical moment of the festival it would be when Skream dropped Midnight Request Line. This eerie classic from the man many consider to be one of the godfathers of dubstep has retained all of its raw, unnerving potency, confirmed by the roars of delight and appreciation from the crowd.
Taking a departure from the music, Outlook unsurprisingly has a holiday vibe to it. The one day the sun shone meant the beach finally got some proper use with two separate stages meaning the party kept going throughout the day. The festival’s beer prices weren’t too shabby either and the presence of an onsite supermarket was an absolute Godsend (although the tokens policy did make you feel like you were playing a giant game of human monopoly).
Last year Outlook came away with the crown of “Best International Festival”*. This year the festival ended having delivered the perfect combination of outstanding bass music, incredible stages and endless good vibes. The only thing it failed to deliver was a suntan….
*UK Festival Awards
Written by ::: Jo Sayer