The much-loved Croatian event is calling time after ten years.
Next year's event, running July 1st through 8th, will be the last. Since starting in 2006, The Garden Festival has established itself at the forefront of Croatia's festival scene. In recent times it's been held in a resort in Tisno, spanning three spots: The Garden Tisno, Barbarella's and The Garden Zadar. (Last year's RA review said "it is one of the most picturesque festivals in Europe.")
"We really are a family here at the Garden and I think my best memories will be the friends I have met over the years and the vibe that all concerned have created, the weddings we have had here, the babies that have arrived after the weddings, the tears, the laughs," festival founder Nick Colgan told RA. We spoke with Colgan via email this week to find out more:
Why have you decided to call time on The Garden Festival?
It was a very difficult decision for us to make, especially after this year's great event, which was one of the best for sure. We feel that the tenth edition of The Garden Festival is not only a great milestone for us to bow out on, but it will also give us all at the Garden HQ the time needed for us to work at making our venue, the production and all the other events that are happening at The Garden Tisno that bit more special. We have big plans for all our venues—The Garden Tisno, Barbarella's and The Garden Zadar—and we need to concentrate our efforts into making them turn into a reality. There will be of course another great event dropping into the space we leave behind, but at this point I cannot really say anymore until all is confirmed.
What have you got in store for the final edition?
I think first and foremost it will be an emotional time for all the Garden family and friends—and over the past 10 years there has certainly been a few long lasting friendships formed, relationships and families that have evolved. We have already let a few artists and crews know that next year will be our final fling, and all want to be involved, which is very humbling.
I think Dave Harvey will have a very difficult job trying to fit everyone in, but we will certainly try. Where there's a will, there's a way. We will of course have a full seven-day programme onsite with all four stages going—eight Barbarella's club nights with some of the finest promoters involved, and a couple of surprises, too. The boat parties will again be brilliant, and on the final day we will be having an island party at a new location we have found that is simply stunning. So as always, it's all about great music, the sea and lots of fun in the sun!
What have been some of your best memories from Garden?
Not sure where to start really—I remember in 2006 and the first year, Stu Patterson crashing one of the bar staff's scooters into the cocktail bar and in the same year on the Faith Houseboat after an unscheduled stop at the island Pasman, the guys left a restaurant after ordering pizza without paying as the boat was leaving. Next thing we knew the police pulled up to the boat in a speed boat and collected the money after a whip around. They left us and then about 30 minutes later turned back up and passed us over the pizza and change!
Musically over the years there have been far too many highlights to mention and I cannot thank enough all the artists who have been involved as without them we would have nothing. We really are a family here at the Garden and I think my best memories will be the friends I have met over the years and the vibe that all concerned have created, the weddings we have had here, the babies that have arrived after the weddings, the tears, the laughs, it really has been a great ten years—I'm welling up here!
Will this affect the other festivals that take place at Tisno?
I think only in a positive way, as the Garden team will have more time to focus on what's happening at the venues without the hard work of organising and promoting our own event. We will continue to enhance and refine The Garden Tisno, Barbarella's and The Garden Zadar. We work closely with all the other events and our team will have more time now to focus on them, tightening everything up and continuing to make everyone's experience as magical as we can.
What are your plans for the future? Will The Garden Festival live on in another form?
We have recently started working with Mark Broadbent at our club, Barbarella's, which has been great, and we want to start building on what we have created there as it is truly a great space for music. The Garden Tisno will carry on as one of the best event spaces there is, with more events and even better production and service; The Garden team will be staying together and of course you can never say never. I always like the phrase "watch this space"... maybe The Tropical Garden one day!
Tickets to The Garden Festival 2015 are available here on RA.