Sense 2021 Croatia
Three weeks have passed …
…since Senses 2021 formerly known as Awake and I’ve struggled to find the right words to describe how this event went. With that said, I’ll do my best but for the second year in a row, “trance saved my summer”.
This past year and a half has been nothing short of exhausting mentally, spiritually, financially and physically with the Covid pandemic. For many of us, live events were a way to release stress and was our form of self-care. It gave us an outlet, a way to escape the daily struggles of our lives. When Senses 2021 was announced – July 12th – 25th – I could not have been more ecstatic and knew that I had to make my way back to Croatia and Pag Island, to experience again the magic of Zrce Beach. It was my third time going to Croatia, but that country has captured a piece of my heart and it gets harder and harder to leave.
This year’s edition were some noticeable changes. Rather than the 4-day festival taking place from Thurs-Sun, it took place from Mon-Thurs complete with pool parties. The festival took place at night rather than during the day and there were more strict regulations regarding Covid. Senses made sure to have everyone take a rapid test and or show proof of vaccination, as opposed to last year where they didn’t provide a rapid antigen testing location on site.
Senses was held on the beautiful Zrce Beach on Pag Island, in Croatia which took place between two different clubs, Noa and Kalypso Beach Club; both right on the beach and provide stunning views of the sunset and the Adriatic Sea.
Words can’t describe the feeling I got on the first night at Noa where chills ran down my arms and my eyes began to water. This was the moment we had waited, hugs and smiles were everywhere as familiar faces saw each other again. The night started off with Benjamin Reichert who did a beautiful job of opening the night and setting the tone for Estiva’dark, sexy, soulful, groovy and melodic. It’s the type of progressive that would get anyone in the mood to make love; love making music is the best way to describe it.
Super 8 & Tab kept the energy going for Ferry Corsten’s beautiful set in every sense of the word. It had everything you wanted from beats, melodies, soul and proper uplift that hit everyone in the feels.
Scot Project then went hard and said, ‘Eff your feelings’. His set had you head banging, stomping your feet and fist pumping for the last hour. It was nothing short of incredible to also watch the sun come up. If night-1 was any indication of how the rest of the week would go, we knew we were in for three more days of amazing music.
Day-2 was stacked and started with what supposed to be a pool party at the front of Kalypso, but the weather was a bit cloudy and gloomy that the pool party was moved inside just in case the DJs didn’t have to deal with rain. However, I was so tired I didn’t even make it there until 6pm when Kyau & Albert started. My body was not used to staying up all night and dancing.
Night-2 had great sets from a French DJ Alex Wackii, Ruben De Ronde, Sander Van Doorn, but my favorite set of the night was Cosmic Gate as Nick threw down an incredible set without the cheesy anthems.
Unfortunately, we didn’t stay for Sunny Lax and called it an early night so that we could rest and make it to the pool party back at Noa Beach Club for day-3.
Waking up on day-3 wasn’t as bad as I thought but my body was definitely hurting and my feet were incredibly sore. But my group and I rallied to make it to the day pool party to catch Gardenstate throw down a chill progressive set as the sun went down. It was a beautiful start to day-3 and my favorite night because it was hosted by Shine. I couldn’t tell you which set was my favorite that night because they all were so amazing. It had Cyre, Chris Bekker, Stoneface & Terminal, Paul Van Dyk, Giuseppe Ottaviani and another sunrise closing set from Scot Project. The progression of music was perfect and when the night ended, I couldn’t help but feel extra emotional because I knew that we only had one more.
Day-4 was a little different for me than the rest of the group. Early in the week, I had found out about a psytrance festival happening at the same time called Xistence. My heart was so happy because on the previous night, they had a lineup with two of my favorite full-on psytrance artists. I had decided to split up my time between Senses and Xistence. I stayed for a good hour of Markus Schulz who was about 30 minutes late; nonetheless at 1:30am, I ventured from Kalypso to Noa for Xistence. Luckily, I joined up with people that I had met just earlier that night from the Netherlands. They were kind enough to adopt me into their little group and together we danced for 3 hours to the enchanting, full-on psytrance sounds of Avalon, Tristan and Killerwatts. I don’t know how I survived those 3 hours. It was amazing because I hardly got any videos or pictures, a sign that I was living in the moment.
Though Senses 2021 was a 4-day event, the next day was capped off with a boat party hosted by Xistence with a unique 3-hour experience Tristan which turned out to be five days of partying and dancing.
Just when we thought day-4 was bad, day-5 was the worst. Our motto was ‘everything hurts, send help we’re dying’, not literally, but of course it felt like it. Not sure how we all did it, but we made it onto the boat and it was one of my favorite experiences to date. Three hours of psytrance from Tristan, and it was a journey from start to finish, and a great progression of all the different subgenres of psytrance. It also helped that we got to see the beautiful coastline of Croatia and the Adriatic Sea, where the water is turquoise blue with a beautiful sunset. As we headed back to shore, we had one last goodbye to our German friends.
It was five days of partying and dancing to my favorite music. I’m not sure how my body survived but I’m proud it did. The vibes were unmatched, and I’ll never forget the memories made with my friends, and the bonds formed with new ones. The memories will live on.