When you think of the word "festival", pool parties and sea fronts don't necessarily come to mind—but for ravers who hit Croatia for Fresh Island in July, that's exactly what they had in store. The three-day party on Zcre Beach is also home to well-known festivals such as Croatia Rocks, Hideout, and Sonus, but this year it was Fresh Island that pulled out all the stops and bagged Chris Brown as the closing headliner. Different from the other events, the artists' performances took place in the evening, leaving clubbers with an array of activities—boat parties, pool parties—to enjoy throughout the day. Noisey's Grime Karaoke was another daytime highlight: 1Xtra's Sian Anderson hit the decks as Beats 1's Julie Adenuga hosted two hours or hilarious grime lyric recitals. Big Narstie was also on-hand for some LOL moments.
As well as DJ Premier and Statik Selektah taking over the Complex stage, other DJs who entertained the thousands of attendees included veteran spinner Tim Westwood and grime boss Logan Sama. As one of most exciting hip-hop festivals in Europe, this year's line-up had the likes of Wiz Khalifa, Ty Dolla $ign, Chip and Big Narstie tearing down the main stage with some of their most popular songs. With grime dominating the first day, Chip showed exactly why he can't run out of bars, performing a mix of new and old tracks that had the crowd on a hype. Mixing it up a little, the second and third day saw a more hip-hop and R&B-led line-up, with Kehlani and Shakka hitting the stage with their ever-soulful vocals.
21-year-old Kehlani's performance, which consisted of various tracks from her Grammy-nominated You Should Be Right Here mixtape, had the all the boys and girls waving and pleasantly singing along to every last word. However, it was the highly-anticipated performance of Chris Brown that left many with mixed emotions. Uncontrollable weather conditions (thunder and lightning!) meant that his performance had to be moved from the beachfront to a club on the resort, for safety reasons.
This left hundreds of people disappointed—with many booing down the situation—but for the majority who got word that the location had been changed, Chris proved yet again why he is one of the best entertainers in music today. Singing an array of his well-known hits, and showing off his impressive dance moves, Breezy was the ideal performer to end the three-day festival. For Fresh Island itself, this year marked its fifth anniversary—and, what a celebration it was. With early bird tickets already available for next season, it will be interesting to see what they have for us come 2017.