One week of serious partying, amazing beaches, great Djs and some disappointment. Get to know everything about Sonus Festival 2014 and why we are not coming back!
Croatia has some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe and some of the best Croatian Islands party destinations. People from all around the world flock to Pag Island in August to attend Sonus Festival, a massive five days electronic festival. Of course, we were there! By the end of one week of partying, we have our positive and negative thoughts, and definitely, we are not going back next summer!
No doubt Croatia, and specially Pag island, is a stunning place to visit, and several of its beaches are still considered hidden gems in Croatia. Cristal clear water, white rock beaches and huge mountains that play around with giant heavy clouds. Novalja, a small fishing village, is cute and packed with tourists. A must-visit summer place. The only downside is the price tag, which can compete with any other European destination. So be prepared, you are going to cash out lots of money to enjoy this beauty.
On 18th of August Sonus Festival kicked off. All day and all night parties, on the shore and on the sea. For those who love electronic music (techno, minimal, and deep house), welcome to paradise, Pag is one of the best islands for partying in Croatia!
The line up for Sonus Festival 2014 was insane, me and Rob were more than excited to be there.
From monday to friday all the gigs were held at Zrce Beach, on three main clubs: Papaya, Kalypso and Aquarius. With the wristband you could jump from one club to other till you find the perfect music and spot.
Thousands of people were on the beach enjoying the five days there. French, Italians, British, Portugueses, Aussies and some Brazilians. Different nationalities seeking the same thing: great Music and Fun!
The Djs were freaking awesome, our favorites were: Dixon, Gaiser, Henrik Schwarz, Richie Hawtin, Jamie Jones, Len Faki, Loco Dice and Monika Kruse (Keep an eye on this name, she is amazing!)!
They smashed the dance floor. Great music, epic performances and so much fun! Congrats guys ,you nailed it! In the whole festival we didn’t hear any commercial music, it were about 500 hours of the best of electronic music!
But Sonus Festival wasn’t just fun, especially for people who stayed in the camping site. People like us!
When we bought the tickets we choose to buy together the accommodation at the camping site. Accordingly to Sonus Festival, the place should be just a few kilometers from Zrce beach (and clubs), to have all the infrastructure for the tends, shared bathrooms and showers, sinks, restaurant and shops (all this informed by the Sonus and Festicket website).
But as soon as we arrived there we got an unpleasant and uncomfortable surprise:
- Open air cold mixed showers (the inside showers were worse…)
- Around 15 chemical toilets (male and female)
- 3 sinks for the whole people (by the second day two of them stopped working)
- NO SHADE, trees or anything that could protect the tents from the sun and the heat
- Only one restaurant to sell food for the whole camping (with an overpriced menu, and kitchen that opened after 11am)
- By Google Maps the distance between camping site and the festival was a bit more than 6 km. That is definitely really far.
Bottom line, we were screwed!! During the night when we had fresh air everybody was on the party. During the day when we tried to sleep it was 30ºC, so we had two option to rest: lay on the sun or do some sauna inside the tends. Nothing comfortable or healthy.
You are probably asking yourself how we managed to go from the camping to the clubs! That was another pain in the ass task: we had to walk up to a steep hill to get to the festival shuttle bus (40€ each person for 5 days).
Yes, the bus didn’t come close to the camping site, it stopped about 500 meters from us in the top of a damn hill. Ahhh, I forgot to mention that the bus was hourly, no air conditioner, and no shade to protected us while waiting. All this happening in a hot Croatian summer!
Nevertheless, to get a nice meal, to go to the supermarket or even to cash some money, we had to go up hill, take the bus and go to the nearest town. Summing it up, we were in the middle of nowhere!
Of course the nature was amazing, the beach fantastic (but not private, as the Sonus Festival website said) and the view was to die for. But none of these fed us, gave us money or took us to the festival.
The only thing I suggest to Sonus organization is to respect a little bit more the people who attend the festival. If you don’t have the guts to pull off a great camping site just don’t do it!!!
I truly regret booking festival + camping. Not just me, several people that we talked with were really frustrated, and probably won’t come back. A french guy we met made a joke on Facebook, he posted a picture and wrote: “The poor girl is wrapping herself in a towel to avoid sunburns. Festival Shawarma”.
Apart from the camping, other thing that really bothered us was the behaviour of the people. We were in the middle of a natural paradise, people from all around the world looking for good music, dance and fun. So what the hell do you need to be aggressive, disrespectful, impolite and filth????
Garbage everywhere, bottles, glass, cigarettes… By the end of the night the sea looked like a big litter full of garbage. Smell of pee everywhere! Now I understand why the bathrooms were so empty without queues, people were doing their business like dogs, outside in every corner.
Disgusting!! You couldn’t eat a sandwich on the beach because there were guys (and girls) peeing beside the food stall! Shame on you!!!
Fights! Why people have to fight?? A couple of stupid men that just ruined the dance floor. Aggressive dancers that don`t know how to behave themselves in a crowded place. Running and moving like it was the end of the world. Not even respecting some disabled people who were attending the festival.
One morning we were inside the shuttle bus going back to the camping site and a girl as fainting, almost falling in the ground. I asked a guy to give her his seat and he shout on me, almost hit me and my husband. What was going on dude??? Are you crazy??? Thank God some other people in the bus helped the poor girl.
We met some awesome people from France, Belgium, Portugal, Australia, England and most of them were shocked by the lack of respect from the festival attendees. Words like “excuse me”, “sorry”, “thanks” or even a smile were completely forgotten. We were all the time afraid that something bad could happen in the middle of such a big and packed dance floor. No atmosphere whatsoever!
The slogan of Sonus Festival was: In Music we trust – In Nature we trust – In People we trust, so the organization has to start thinking in ways to improve the atmosphere of the festival. Make sure people who go to Sonus understand and respect the meaning of the event. Please boost good behavior, good values and Love. Punish aggressive and disrespectful people. There are so many nice examples to follow.
To say just a few:
– Kazantip (Ukraine) – if you are caught peeing on the beach or any inappropriate place, you are banned from the festival. The same happens with fighters!
– Boom Festival (Portugal) – recycling and composting wastes and many other eco-friendly policies.
– Psicodália (Brazil) – on the website and on the festival guide they teach the audience how to look after their garbage around the party and at the camping site.
– Gatecrasher (UK) – the metal pegs for the tents were exchanged by wood made, so if you forgot them in the camping site it won’t damage nature. At the camping site for safety reasons no glasses were allowed, in the entrance you exchange glasses for plastic bottles. Also outside of every dance floor there was a drinkable water tap for free.
– Brazilians clubs and festivals have returnable plastic glasses, so you get discount in your next refill. This police reduces a lot the amount of plastic wasted. In some big events when you collect 10 empty water bottles you can exchange for a new fresh one.
Another important issues:
Special accesses for disable people, with good places reserved for them to watch the show. I saw several wheelchair struggling to pass through the crowd.
Fighters should be caught and banned from the festival! Most of the clubs around the world have this police. Why not in Sonus? People smashing heads, blood on the dance floor in an afternoon party?? That`s not a festival I can Trust! It definitely needs more security!
I am sure there are lots of people who attended Sonus and had an amazing time. Others like us didn’t enjoy that much, of course it all depends on what you are looking for and in what you believe. We (Love & Road) wished to have a happy, “camping comfortable” and great e-music experience. Turned out that even with amazing Djs the festival wasn’t able to full fill our souls. So that´s why we are not coming back to Sonus!!
I hope they will do a better work next summer, otherwise Sonus will become a one time attended festival for lots of people. Like those memories that were good, but not worthy to repeat!
16 thoughts on “Sonus Festival » Good and Bad things”
Sem dúvida conseguiram falar sobre todos os lados positivos e negativos. No fim de tudo acabou por ser uma boa experiência, uma história engraçada para contar 🙂
Não voltaria ao Sonus, mas se houver oportunidade de vos encontrar around the world, adorava! Good Luck! xxx
Adoramos te encontrar lá e ter a chance de construir um pouquinho mais a nossa amizade. Não tenho dúvidas que ainda vamos nos encontrar muito por aí!
Um grande beijo dos teus vizinhos de acampamento!
Nat & Rob
Hi N & R,
it was very nice to meet you guys. I realy agree your great article! About the camp site I can’t say anything,’cause we were sleeping in a house down the road. It was sometimes to cold inside from the airco or from the refreshing shower 😉
I agree that the mentality of most of the sonus attenders was bad! My job is producer/dj I travel all around the world performing in clubs & festivals… I never saw a agressive behavior like that !!!
It destroyed the whole peace and love atmosphere that I was expecting from an organisation like Timewarp.
So long Sonus…
Was a pleasure to meet you guys!
Thanks for stopped by and leave your thoughts. In the middle of such aggressive Sonus we had the opportunity to share some nice moments.
Hope we can catch up again somewhere around the world or in a nicer festival!
Antes de mais, adoramos encontrar nos com vocês de novo!!!
Apesar da falta de organização do festival, foram dias fantásticos com a melhor música e companhia!!! Em relação a voltar no próximo ano,realmente not 100% sure, acreditamos que o festival tem bastantes aspectos a melhorar,tal como ja referiram em termos do ambiente entre as pessoas e com o meio ambiente (fantástico ) que as rodeia, a organização devera sem duvida ter em conta a qualidade do festival e as condições de camping, autocarros, segurança etc
Agora queria deixar o resumo de tudo isso:
QUERO CAFÉÉÉ ÉÉÉÉÉ !!!!
Depois de uma semana juntos nós só temos uma coisa a dizer:
I feel hooottttttttt!!!!
Brincadeiras a parte, foi ótimo encontrar vocês (de novo). Já estão virando personagens assíduos aqui no Blog.
Como falaram, apesar de todos os problemas no festival ainda conseguimos nos divertir porque estávamos em uma turma muito legal!
Valeu gente e até a próxima!
Beijos, Nat & Rob
Sonus festival has a good line up overall. If you are into electronic music, you must know that they don’t play commercial songs. Which is absolutely amazing. The nightclubs are very beautiful. They have an amazing stage and light effects. The sound system is incredible. So really in terms of music and venues, Sonus definitely worth going there.
These good points come, unfortunately, with many bad things that I would like to focus on :
– As our lovely ‘LoveAndRoaders’ said, the camping is really really bad. It almost felt like they picked up a random space with grass and decided it will be the camping site. The camping is very far away from the festival, so walking is completely excluded. The buses come once every hour which is non sense. In the Sonus festival website, the organisers claimed that shuttles make a stop every 30mn. This was a complete lie. In addition the shuttle buses costs 40euros !!!! imagine, 40 euros is half what you pay in Paris for a month worth of buses, trains and subways….. Moreover, the organisers feed a constant confusion on the prices of these buses. For example, if you hold the ticket to the festival, you have a discount of 20 euros. But that, the organisers do not say it at all. So many people bought the 40 shuttle tickets while they could have it for 20 euros. It not a big saving on a trip to Croatia (20 euros) but it gives you a good idea of the mindset of the organisers.
– Second, the crew in the nightclubs is a bit aggressive to my taste. I have witnessed many fights and the bouncers do not lift a finger until it turns really really bad. That does not give you the confidence to just relax and loose yourself to the music because you have to keep alert.
– People peeing in the beach are not kicked out from the festival. What you need to know is that a lot of people come back during the day to swim in the same exact beach. The organisers just don’t care about that. No to mention dirt, bottles and other random garbage that people throw with no fear of consequences.
Overall I will say that Sonus Festival music is great, the venues are beautiful, and I made friend with amazing people such as these 2 fellows from Brazil. However, with all those negative elements I cited above, I don’t think I will ever come back again to such events. That is quite sad because I am not tempted to go to any other festival in Croatia.
Thanks for the support Wadie!
Together We all roasted in the sun, got soaked with the pouring rain, suffered with the bus timetable and also had great fun!
It is a pitty that none of us will come back to Sonus! But we still have time to find out our next summer festival!
Great comment! All the best!
Nat & Rob
I just read your article about the sonus festival, thank you for the review.
We’re from France and we’d like to go, even if you apparently won’t be there ;).
In order to avoid the bad things you talked about, we will take the VIP tickets (not that we are used to do this, but thanks to those we can avoid the waiting and have condecending toilets / food / space and whatsoever.
Do you have any idea where we can have a good accomodation? We thought about campings, but we won’t ! Obviously… Maybe Airbnb but do you think living beneath the beach like 10km from it?
Thank you :). I will write a review like you did.
Sorry for such late reply 🙁
I hope you have found a good accommodation. Around Zrce Beach there weren’t many options, most of the hotels and B&B are quite far from the parties and we had to rely on buses and taxis.
Enjoy the party and after it write back to us, would love to hear about this year edition. If it all works good for you, maybe next summer we can meet there!!
All the best and have tons of fun!!
We are also going this summer , we got our VIP tickets for easy access to toilets and bar..
We are also passing by Hvar , heard its really nice …
I really hope the organizers read your article above which is very useful…i really hope we dont get disappointed…
We always go to Ibiza …we decided sonus this time for a change
You didnt mention anything about the boat parties, we got our for the monday boat gig…
Thanks for stopping by!!
We sent the article to the Sonus organizers, and I hope they improved the festival…
Enjoy your time there and after tell me how it was!!
Hope you re all fine.
Thanks Nat for sharinf your experience with us.
We are planning to visit Sonus Fest in Aug 2016.
We are hoping to get some reviews from people who visited it last year, to check if the organizers made any improvements after what you have sent them.
oh Btw, where are you guys planning to go this year? we went last year to BOOM Portugal and it was amazing!
I hope Sonus last year went better than our previous experience. I´m sure they will try to put together a nice festival this in 2016, the island is gorgeous and the line up of Dj is always amazing!!!
Don’t tell us about BOOM, we have friends that went to the festival and love it. We didn’t have the opportunity to do it yet, but it´s on our festival bucket list! 😉
This year we are staying in Southeast Asia, so only small parties around the islands and Bangkok! Although I’m still dreaming to go to Barcelona for Sonar and celebrate my birthday!
All the best and enjoy the parties!
Thanks Natalie for all these tips and guidance! I am off this year heading Croatia for Sonus and I am looking forward for this experience and holidays( first time in East of Europe ) ! We bought me and my partner VIPs tickets based on your and some friends experience trying to not screw our holidays and avoid any mess.. We ve booked also an apartment 4 km away from Zrce beach ( based on google map!!) Although we ve been told that the best thing to do is to rent a scooter to hang around the island ( not sure if it is a good idea though) . Besides the good music and partying and I would like to know more about good restaurants,lounges place kind of must see in the island so anything you could spot like to no miss out there..
Thanks for stopping by!
I´m afraid to say that I don´t have much tips about the island´s restaurants and bar 🙁 Sorry!
Most of the restaurants, specially the ones near the beaches, only open during the holiday season, and you can see they are just for tourists. In Novalja you can find many nice ones, bars and really cute places to have dinner and drinks, but around the beaches, every year the open and close new ones. In Zrce beach some of the clubs open during day time too, so you can relax and enjoy some music before the festival starts.
The motorbike is nice, a easy way to get around the island. But don´t drive to the parties, too many drunk people and a chaotic traffic when the night ends. I would say to get a taxi to the festival or the shuttle bus. Be safe, I´m sue you don´t want to ruin your holiday because a bike crash.
About the island, get your bike and a map and go explore it! The place is beautiful, the sea is clear, and there are many hidden beaches. 🙂
Enjoy your trip and have FUN!!!!