New pages of this region’s festival history were written this weekend at Sea Star in the Stella Maris lagoon! The Umag event, organised by the EXIT team, the first major festival gathering in Croatia after a two-and-a-half-year break, was visited by more than 40,000 people from over 40 countries, perfectly launching the event and tourism season. A new, young, super upbeat, and euphoric generation of people packed the Sea Star festival grounds and created the best edition of the event so far, with the energy in Umag irresistibly reminiscent of last July when EXIT took place at the Petrovaradin Fortress.
Amelie Lens also felt this, saying that the audience’s energy showed that they had waited for this for two years. Credit for the huge hype justifiably goes to the fantastic international line-up, which, in addition to Amelie, featured the likes of Dubioza Kolektiv, Onyx, Meduza, Topic, Senidah, as well as world-premiere performances by Konstrakta and KALUSH Orchestra! The victory of love’s energy was shown by a Sea Star special moment, which happened on Friday when a young married couple, Maria from Russia and Ilija from Ukraine, came onto the festival stage and kissed to thunderous applause. We learned about their life and love story the week before last, so the festival’s organisers invited them to be special guests in Umag and present EXIT’s philosophy in the most beautiful, human and emotional way. They also represented the spirit that ruled over Sea Star this weekend – peace, love, and unity!
“The location could not be better!” – Konstrakta was honest about her astonishment at the Stella Maris. Whether it was her first solo concert (and thus the first concert performance of the song “In Corpore Sano”), her guest appearance in “Zovi čovika” by Vojko V, energetic performance from Eurovision winners KALUSH Orchestra, who ignited the audience with the winning song “Stefania”, masterful hit sets from Meduza, Topic, Adiel, Tijana T and Insolate or the top-level hip-hop/trap masterclass directed by the legendary Onyx, Senidah, Kukus, Stoka and Smoke Mardeljano the first night of Sea Star brought countless unforgettable moments. The very beginning of the programme was marked by an excellent panel, “Great International Music Events as Generators of Tourism Development and Cooperation in the Region”, held on the Electric Waves stage, featuring Vili Bassanese (Mayor of Umag), Dušan Kovačević (Founder and Director of EXIT and Sea Star Festival) and Tijana T (DJ), and moderated by Ida Prester.
On the second night, not even the light rain disrupted the plans of thousands of visitors who watched the performance of the band Buč Kesidi in large numbers and completely filled the main Tesla Stage for the incredibly inspired concert by Dubioza Kolektiv. This was followed by an absolute techno treat delivered by Farrago and brought to a boil by one of the most influential DJs today, Amelie Lens. In her interview, she shared her delight with the audience, saying, “Sea Star is energy, passion, and techno”. That energy and passion were kept to the maximum until 6 in the morning by the legendary Umek, who kept the area in front of the main stage full until the end of his set. The Nautilus Arena was equally filled to the brim for the entire 8 hours of performances by the region’s strongest trap names – z++, Bore Balboa, Grše, 30Zona, Mimi Mercedez, Muha, Buntai and many others, confirming that this genre was inextricably linked to the Umag festival.
On both nights of Sea Star, whichever side of Stella Maris you went to, whether it was towards the main Tesla stage, the techno-coloured Nautilus Arena, the electrified Electric waves stage, or the loudest Silent Octopus, the festival grounds were filled with a generation of people eager to reunite. Many literally sprinted to the festival gates after getting their wristbands, which best shows their desire to be part of a huge euphoric community once again. Judging by the statements of numerous performers, that positive energy was passed from the audience to all the stages.
More than 40,000 visitors from more than 40 countries and four continents passed through the festival gates of this year’s Sea Star in two evenings. Fans from Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia predominated, but there were also some who came to Umag from the USA, Australia, Israel, and Kuwait.