We speak to  Mike Gill  from Croatia Wave about all clubbing holidays in Croatia…

Summer music festivals abroad have never been more popular, but booking them with travel, tickets, accommodation and everything else you need is never easy. Enter Croatia Wave – the all new, one stop solution for festival goers heading to Croatia. The website offers the experience of a lifetime in a very easy to use way that allows you to buy and plan as much of your trip as you want to before you even leave home. Mike Gill is himself a Croatia veteran with years of experience and the website deals with all sorts of festivals big and small from Sonus and Ultra Europe to Fresh Island and Suncebeat. Here we caught up with him to get the lowdown on Croatia and how best to attack it. Check out the website at

What’s your story… how did you get into dance music and when did you first head to Croatia?
I’ve been into dance music since day dot. Growing up in London there was a vibrant UK garage scene happening in the early 2000s, every pirate station was either playing Garage or DnB. Then the minimal sound exploded and with clubs like Fabric and Turnmills on my doorstep it was hard not to get sucked in to the scene. By the time I came back to London after uni things were really booting off.. It was around this time (2011) that some friends and I went to check out Croatia for Garden Festival. It was a whole new vibe and we were all completely digging it. Crazy P opened the first evening which was unforgettable. I’m such a big fan of those guys.Chilling in a hammock at The Garden Festival - credit
So Croatia or Ibiza and why?
Croatia, for sure.. I used to love Ibiza growing up and spent a couple of summers working for clubs and bars out there but the scene seems to be getting saturated over there. It seems to have lost some of its authenticity, plus the clubs out there are now so expensive. Seriously, £10 for a bottle of water without a cap?
Obviously Ibiza has it’s advantages and it’s also very different. Croatia is still developing as a clubbing destination. For instance, you have to decide on a festival and that’s your holiday, Ibiza you can choose between multiple clubs each day and that’s definitely a benefit.

What are the similarities and differences between the two, do you think? Do they have different target markets?
A lot of people are comparing some of the smaller festivals like Garden, Electric Elephant and Suncebeat to Ibiza in the old days. Each year I’m seeing more and more Ibiza veterans heading out to these festivals and making these comparisons. Not having been there to experience the original roofless DC10 vibe I cant really say myself whether they are right, but what I can say is that there is something uniquely special about the afterparties at Barbarellas Discoteque, Tisno. This open air club with an earth shattering soundsystem has such an incredible vibe when it is going off.. Last year Craig Richards absolutely tore the place up for 2 hours, by the end people were close to tears.croatia boat
Explain what Croatia Wave offers to people, and when the company started and who is behind it?
 Me and Adam (Paton) started it in 2011 after our first trip to The Garden Festival. I had been studying digital marketing and Adam construction, so we both had our own expertise to add. We simply wanted to provide a cleaner experience for people heading out there. We had some major issues booking accommodation/ transfers in our first year and so did a lot of people, by the next year people were giving us a lot of praise for the changes Croatia Wave brought about.
Since then we have really upped our game, for instance we have started promoting the festivals and providing full packages for some huge events like Sonus, Ultra Europe, Fresh Island and Suncebeat. We really had no idea that the scene was going to take off so much but we just sort of grew with it. There are so many amazing festivals happening out there throughout the Summer, we are trying to help the UK learn about them and through using our services, get the most out of their travels by also checking out the country itself.
For instance some of the national parks out there are like stepping into the Jurassic period for a day, we offer these day trips as extra special extras..
How involved do the locals get? Do they profit and get involved creatively?
The locals love the scene. Younger people are enticed to visit the festivals with cheap tickets, and adults make money by renting out their apartments during the festivals.  A lot of Croatian DJ talent can also be found playing at the festivals out there, they are really passionate about music.
The Croatians are getting a lot out of what’s happening out there. More and more each year, its also having a really profound effect on the country’s reputation as not just a beautiful place but somewhere really appealing to young people. This is really important for tourism as once younger generations find out about a country, the chances are they are likely to come back multiple times.
Is there a good scene there, is it getting bigger for local young kids? Do these UK festivals inspire them and help spread the dance word?Croatia sand bank
The Music scene out there is definitely inspired by the UK run festivals, but they also deserve a lot of credit themselves. I’ve been to just about every big city in the country and all of them know about Garden, Hideout and Outlook festival. Young people are really inspired by the music at these festivals which has definitely had an effect on the party scene throughout the year. However a lot of Croatians would argue that they also have a pretty good scene anyway out of their own merit, I’d agree, especially in places like Zagreb and Rijeka.
Why do you think foreign festivals have become so popular despite the financial squeeze of recent times?
People will always go on holiday. We haven’t been hit so hard that people will simply stay in the UK just yet. The fact is, festivals abroad are much better for some people (me being one of them). Not to say I’m adverse to traping through mud to get to a undisclosed tent in the middle of the forest to hear Seth Troxler playing to 5 people, I dig it. However there is something amazing about music festivals abroad; it’s completely different. You are hitting 2 birds with 1 stone. You get the amazing music, the relaxed, friendly people, the usual debauchery all packaged up together with a holiday to a sunny country. What’s not to love?
What essential things do people heading to Croatia need to know in advance and whilst they are there? Any curious local customs or essential tips?
A few simple yet important tips are as follows:
Buy a phone out there from a kiosk, they cost €20 with credit and you can call your mates for really cheap; next to nothing. You probably wont have to top up and it will save you a chunky UK phone bill.
Bring your own towels or buy one at the airport as the ones supplied at your apartments are typically small and thin, generally pretty annoying if you want to sunbath on a stony beach.
Try the cevapcici, its like a Croatian burger/ kebab. Goes down a treat on a hangover, especially when a accompanied by a cold beer.
Try the Pag cheese; it’s world famous! As with the wine brewed in Hvar.

What festivals do you enjoy most out there and why? What makes them special?
 I’m a big fan of Suncebeat festival. That one really has a piece of my heart. The crowd are such lovely people and the music is just what I like. Ron Trent played a set there last year that I will remember forever. It’s also really cool the way the DJs there seem to use it as a summer holiday.. They are all chilled and relaxed and mingle with the crowd. Anything goes there. Lil’ Stevie even played some old school jungle on the beech stage with an amazing response. People were actually going crazy, myself being one of them.
What are you currently working on or excited about or looking forward to?
Every year we are really concentrating on improving the experience people for people visiting Croatia with us. We really have some amazing villas on our books and we have been working hard to program holidays that include festivals, boat trips and activities like wine tasting to maximise peoples experiences. Our ‘Festiboat’ product which we will be launching next year encourages people to visit festivals on a private yacht with a skipper; this is priced only slightly higher than an apartment for a week at £499, imagine the fun you could have when there are over 1000 islands to visit off the Dalmatian coast.

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