Dave Harvey and Tom Paine, the team behind critically acclaimed UK festival Love Saves the Day, are back in 2016 with a venture that it set to take the European festival scene by storm. Aptly named Love International is a weeklong event taking place in the spiritual home of the Garden Festival, more geographically known as Tisno, a beautiful little hideaway on the Croatian coast. The duo are keen to keep the Garden Festival’s 10 year legacy alive, all the while evolving the experience, with an unfaultable line up at the core of its offering.
We were lucky enough to steal some time with the chaps to find out a little more about the venture…
Q: First and foremost I want to know what attracted you to this part of the world. Why Croatia and why the Garden Festival takeover?
Dave: Garden fest started over there 10 years ago, I got involved early on, blagging a DJ set there and helping out with the bookings to the point where I did all the bookings. The owners said we’re finishing next year do you guys want to take over? That was the catalyst.
Tom:The garden festival has built up such a reputation and it would be criminal to tarnish that. We intend to keep the capacity at 2,500, make sure that the intimate feel lives on.
Q: What makes it so special? I’ve heard people say that this is a very different vibe to Ibiza – what makes it different?
T: I guess my vibe on it is that I didn’t go to Ibiza back in the 80’s when it was in its heyday, but when I got to Croatia for the first time I was like ‘this is what it must have been like’. Croatia has a real organic feel to it, Tisno in particular is this beautiful little fishing village on the coast, there’s only 2500 of us, you’re dancing on the beach, it’s all about the music – It’s got that magic.
D:I think the comparison that gets made with Ibiza is, like Tom said, Croatia is sort of the unspoilt or the early version so people our age didn’t get to do Ibiza when it was in it’s infancy. I guess it could be described as this generations Ibiza but to me the sound and vibe is totally different. Not to mention 21-25 year olds can’t really afford to go to Ibiza, you’ll pay for one club ticket what you can get for the entire 7 day Love International festival ticket!
Q: You’ve seen the success of Love Saves the Day take the UK by storm, what do you think it is about LSTD that has made it such a success and how can you replicate that with Love International? Are you even trying to replicate it?
D: Love saves the day is a totally different concept, very different musically, we are catering to Bristol’s music scene as a whole with LSTD – it’s got house, grime, Dubstep, techno, the lot. LI is a much more underground music policy, it’s more musically focused, a lot more niche than LSTD. We’re not attempting to distance ourselves, nor are we trying to replicate it – we’d like to capture the ethos of both. LSTD attracted 8000 people in its first year and we’re proud of what it’s grown into, LI would never work on that scale, the magic is the intimacy of the festival.
Q: Now I’ve had a little gander at the venues online already, but what can you tell me about the Olive Grove? What are you planning on doing with that space?
D: We are currently in the process of designing the set for The Olive Grove. When we do Love Saves or Glastonbury our events are quite décor led, we like to build interesting cool sets/stages and are looking at taking a bit of that over to garden site. The new stage is located where Olive Grove currently is, and is going to be somewhere that people want to go irrespective of music, they’ll want to go check it out and see it as more of an experience. We’ve put a lot of effort into it and got some really good, interesting line-ups. We’ll be giving it to labels and club nights to do takeovers, similar to what we do with the boat parties, 5-6 hour sessions with all their crew – yeah this is something we’re really excited about.
T:In terms of the other venues, Barbarellas is genuinely the only club I know of where you can dance all night then watch the sun come up at 6am – such a great venue. We’ll be announcing club nights next month, then boat parties in March – look out for them.
Q: How will the days & nights look? Are most of the big acts saved for the evening or have you got day parties planned as well?
T: We’ve actually decided to put a bit more focus on the day time with Love International. The garden festival was much more night-focused with party-goers chilling/exploring by day but this year some of our headline acts will be playing at day parties. Eats everything for example, he’s going to be hosting our Li-lo pool party on Saturday afternoon – a concept inspired by events at last year’s Garden Fest…! Luke Solomon and a couple of other guests will be joining him for that one. On some level we were steering away from too many day events as we don’t want to encourage people to be partying for 7 days and 7 nights, but people are old enough to be able to decide for themselves. Obviously there are big names in the clubs every night too, it’s a good opportunity to mix and match your events.
Q: Now I know you’ve just released the full LI line-up and since seeing him at Unknown festival in 2014, Gerd Janson is up there with the acts I’m most excited to watch, run me through some of your highlights on the line-up.
D: We like to showcase new names on the line-up, up and comers. Much like Job Jobse last year, he was relatively unheard of and now look at him, everyone came away from the set going ‘wow’. We like to bring back the regulars too, Eats, Crazy P, Darshan Jesrani etc. they say it’s one of their favourite gigs to play.
Q: I trust you’ll be doing a set this year, Dave?
D: I will indeed.
Q: For those that aren’t as familiar with the acts, what kind of sounds can people expect to hear?
D: I suppose it’s essentially house music with lots of disco, what could be termed as Balearic but will hopefully be known as the Adriatic sound. We try and make the line-up a little more out-there, there’s so much emerging talent, people like Felix (Dickinson), Harvey etc. the crowd in Croatia are more open to varying musical styles.
Q: Finally, if people go to just one festival this year why should it be this one? What will set it apart?
T: I’m obviously totally biased but I think it’s the best line-up out there, you get sun, sea one of the best clubs in the world that I’ve seen, a holiday, you get everything – there’s nothing like it. It’s only 40 minutes away from world famous Kornati National Park, what festival can offer that as a feature? I’ve met so many people that have remained good friends, literally so many amazing people – the size of it means you inevitably bump into the same people day in day out so it’s a great opportunity for bonding.
D: Wasn’t there a proposal out there last year on the boat? I met my now-wife out there in fact – and got married to her out there. This is the essence of Love International and what gets lost on so many festivals these days, anything could happen!
Well if the open air beach club, prospective engagement or Lilo party (um hello?!) aren’t enough to convince you, how about the fact that a 7 day festival ticket will cost you a mere £120? But move fast, the tickets are selling like hotcakes and with only 2500 up for grabs they won’t be around for long.
The Tisno takeover will run from 29th June until 6th July, check the full line-up out below and subscribe here for updates. Boat/club parties are due to be released over the coming weeks. Accommodation options have been made available for all budgets, from on-site camping to chartering your own yacht for the week. Halfway options include on and off-site apartments, trailers and ready-to-camp areas. Full details here.