Festival Fuss: Ultra Europe in Split, Croatia
Sleep on a boat at night and party all day at Ultra Europe in Split, Croatia
Phillip Calvert from Milwaukee, Wis., has lived an extraordinary life—and it keeps on getting better. He was recruited to play European basketball for eight years in Scandinavia, which brought him to China, Africa, the Middle East, Central America, Canada and other destinations around the globe. In 2016, after hanging up his basketball shoes, Phil won WOW Air’s SnapTraveler contest and got to travel to the Icelandic airline’s top destinations while capturing his experiences on Snapchat. This summer, he’s been gallivanting around Europe and attending some of the wildest music festivals out there, including Ultra Europe. In the interview below, Phil shares tips on how to make the most out of your Utra festival experience.
What’s the vibe at Ultra Europe?
Ultra Europe is an amazing music festival that invites people from all over the world to listen and enjoy Electric Dance Music (EDM). The atmosphere is full of positive people having fun and dancing until they drop. This festival is definitely for the marathon party goer. Some people get the party started as early as 6 a.m.
This year marked the 5th edition of Ultra Europe. Headliners included Martin Garrix, Hardwell, Afrojack, Armin van Buuren, Carl Cox, Tiësto, Showtek and Nicky Romero, among others.
Where did you fly into to get to the festival and how did you get from point A to point B once you arrived?
I flew from my home in Copenhagen into Paris on Air France. From there, I rode Busabout to Split, Croatia. Busabout is a hop-on, hop-off bus tour that goes throughout 46 different European cities. They also offers different adventures—like music festival and island-hopping packages—throughout the EU. Without any stops, the duration it took me to get to my final destination was about 17½ hours. After arriving in Split, my accommodation in the Port of Split was a 25-minute walk to the festival.
Where do you recommend staying and why?
Through Busabout’s Ultra Festival Four-Day Camping package, I was able to stay on a boat during the festival and we pre-partied every day before walking to the festival grounds. I would recommend staying close to the harbor if at all possible because it’s a short distance from the festival and less hassle. Plan ahead and try to find a tour operator that provides accommodations for you or, if you want to book it yourself, check out these overnight boat options in Split on Airbnb.
What were the best moments of this year’s festival?
The highlight of my experience was watching Steve Aoki's ‘Cakeface’ act at the end of his performance, where he throws birthday cake at the crowd (getting caked in the face by him is considered to be a huge honor). Another performance that stood out was David Guetta who played remixes of everything from 2 Live Crew and The Weeknd to Justin Beiber, DJ Snake and No Doubt.
What are some ways you cut down on expenses during your trip?
Of course, once you walk into the Poljud Stadium, where Ultra Europe is held, there are tons of food vendors selling dishes from around the world from pasta and pizza to burritos and barbeque. But, every day before heading to the festival, I pre-gamed on the Adriatic Sea, and enjoyed a veggie burger on the cheap. To save money and calories, I also went to a local grocery store and bought slices of turkey, bread, tomatoes, lettuce and whatever else I needed to pack food to go. I've learned through my travels buying these things help save money in the long run.
Since you were a first-timer to Ultra Europe, what are some things you’d do differently if you could do it all over again?
I would also recommend checking the weather ahead of time and packing accordingly. In the summer, Croatia has the tendency to be windy and extremely hot (Ultra takes place in July, which is the country’s hottest month of the year). Also, pack comfortable clothes … and a fanny pack comes in handy!
Most importantly, bring ear plugs and an open mind—and you'll be just fine.