Review: Deboto Festival 2016

Art & Culture

In Croatia’s ever-expanding festival landscape, what can a new festival bring to an already over-saturated market? In its second edition, Deboto Festival in Šibenik avoids, in many ways, being a festival altogether. Unlike most festivals, it doesn’t work around headliners or big stages. Instead, it revolves around the things you love the most: food, wine, and forward-thinking music. And without an obvious centre, it allows for its movements to be more fluid, like the valovi waves of the beautiful Adriatic sea.

Set in Šibenik, a stylish town built around a handful of grizzled stone fortresses overlooking the sea, Deboto Festival emerges out of its steep and labyrinthine backstreets. Having set up a series of pop-up restaurants serving local food and wine, relaxed dancefloors in the town’s squares, and beach club bars to catch the picture-perfect sunsets, the festival brought the sleepy town to life over three days. Unlike the noisier festivals dotting the Croatian coast, the notes that were felt most prominently at Deboto were the mineral ones coming from the fresh wines, and the smell of veal quietly braising as a famed slow-cooked Skradin risotto was prepared. Indeed, music was always present at Deboto, but it was playing a game in slow seduction, simmering in the background.

In the moments where the music took centre stage you could feel the unmistakable hand of veteran Croatian DJ Eddy Ramich, one of the festival’s organisers. Responding to his taste for the soulful and jazzier side of electronic music, the festival nights hosted live performances by Düsseldorf’s Grandbrothers, Jimi Tenor and Nicole Willis, and sets by Kyoto Jazz Massive’s Shuya Okino and in a seventeenth century fort. But the festival really thrived in the daylight hours,propped up by its greatest asset: the town’s idyllic surroundings. To enjoy these, Ramich, Art of Tones aka Llorca, and Corrado Bucci hosted a boat party packed with Brazilian and African rhythms that took its revellers for a swim in the spectacular Krka waterfalls before setting sail for a final dance under the full moon.

Explore a gallery from the event below:

Photo's courtesy of Doris Fatur.

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