Why Croatia’s INmusic, next year headlined by The Cure and Foals, is the hidden gem of festival season

June 24. Be there.

It’s become well established that the European festival circuit’s chockablock with parties that offer all the fun – sick line-ups! New music discovery! Drinking! – of UK shindigs, but with the added allure of sun (and a sense of escapism) that you can’t always rely on at home. Few, though, are as enticing as INmusic, the Croatian festival that will soon to enjoy its 14th glorious year, set beside the beautiful Lake Jarun and with a history of world-class performers.

The mighty Foals will headline in 2019, and the festival has also attracted – deep breath – goth heroes The Cure. Here, then, are five more reasons that the majestic INmusic Festival, taking place between June 24 and 26, is a hidden summer highlight you simply cannot miss.

Massive acts

An unbelievable amount of talent has graced Lake Jarun in recent years. 2018’s line-up treated us to a shamanistic, intimate headline set from Nick Cave, which concluded with a stage invasion, while David Byrne, St Vincent, Queens of the Stone Age and the best-dressed men in rock, Interpol, also took to the Main Stage. NME’s lost its shit to gigs from Arcade Fire, Placebo, Kings of Leon and Kasabian at INmusic, proving the festival boasts an impressive draw for its modest size.

This cool tower thing that looks great on Instagram

Buckle up for a quick history lesson. At the turn of the 20th Century, the renowned engineer and physicist Nikola Tesla designed the Tesla Tower, an early wireless transmission station built in Shoreham, New York. The structure was create to transmit telephone and fax messages across the Atlantic and, though it never became operational as it stalled due to lack of funds, the project has come to represent bold experimentalism – not least because David Bowie played Tesla in Christopher Nolan’s 2006 movie The Prestige. INmusic’s replica, pitched in the centre of the site, pays loving tribute to the Croatian born genius – and also happens to look great on the ‘Gram.

The Tesla Tower and Lake Jarun lookin’ mighty fine

A woodland rave

Let’s get lost in the woods together. Nicknamed Stribor’s Forest, after the beloved fairy tale, a dense canopy of woodland tucked away at the back of the site – those not in the know could easily miss it – plays host to DJs such as Croatia’s native Yem Kollective, whose Balearic beats contribute to an atmosphere of blissed-out euphoria. The forest is decorated with twinkling fairy lights, making it seem like a cross between Alice in Wonderland and those underground raves we’ve been hearing so much about, proving INmusic’s eclecticism is one of its greatest strengths.

Tomorrow’s headliners – today!

Last year, at Europavox Hidden, the third largest stage at the festival, NME observed 10-strong Icelandic feminist rap collective Reykjavíkurdætur incite a seismic sonic boom at around one o’clock in the morning. It was an unexpected and utterly thrilling set that saw the group charge through politically informed pop-bangers you can dance to – a little bit Spice Girls, a little bit ‘90s dance music, all attitude. That’s just a taste of the forward-thinking spirit that the festival has come to represent, a reminder that if you pay close attention to the line-up’s lesser-known treats, you might just witness something that changes your bloody life.

The karaoke tent

Oh yes indeed. It’s almost always amateur hour at INmusic, which is why we love it so dearly. This summer, the karaoke tent attracted a frankly improbable amount of talent; these weren’t your typical pissed-up punters on the mic – it was like The X Factor in there! But fear not: you needn’t be blessed with the golden pipes of whoever was on The X Factor this year – the freewheeling INmusic invites you to shout along to ‘Rock DJ’, too. What a place.

– INmusic Festival tickets, priced at just €70 for all three days, are available now