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Welcome to Collegium Spring Break Island

For Europeans like this writer, Spring Break USA has a near mythical status. There are images of an endless sea of six packs, boobs, shimmering-sea day parties and sex.  We know very little, likely because every journo or photographer that ever headed out there was eaten alive by packs of ferociously horny students. They have red cups. Which, in our conservative clear-cup culture, just shows how out of hand these things can get. 

In recent years Europe has began to step up to the plate. In the UK, Corfu and Bulgaria, student-focussed weekenders with a proactive marketing campaign hinting at debauched madness have sprung up. There’s an issue though. In almost all cases, it’s usually a bloke-fest. In Corfu and Magaluf the ratio of guys to girls can be as high as 6:1. There’s only so many keg parties you can do before that just begins to feel weird. 

Hold tight. DJ Mag may have found a solution. 

Croatia, motherland-of-music-festivals, has decided to step up to the plate. Catchily titled Collegium Spring Break Islandthe ex-Yugoslav’s installment ofSpring Break has a potentially gamechanging tactic: it’s a festival. Comprising two four day stints held on separate weekends, the event takes place on Zrce Beach, East Europe’s Ibiza, home to tech house towers Sonus & Barrakud not to mention sunburnt-Brit favourite Hideout. Lineup wise it’s a student friendly European affair - French favourite Chris Willsman, German Bodybangers, Ukrainian Duo Diamonds and Swiss Mike Candys and DJ Antoine providing the soundtrack to this summer warm-up lap.

So who goes to a European Spring Break? A massive mix, in fact. French, Austrian, German and Canadian accents could be picked up across the dancefloors, not to mention an injection of local Croatian rich kids that materialised each day at the venues as the sun disappeared and table service arrived. Collegium opted for the same format for their own festival as they do for the aforementioned Zrce festivals that they also support: Noon every day saw a boat party head out for 3 hours of water-based basslines, followed by sunset beach parties and climaxing each night with sets in super clubs Kalypso and Papaya - that usually went on til about 5am. The programme seemed to suit crowd and DJs alike - every boat, and afterparty we found ourselves at was rammed, whilst the DJs - whilst all playing unforgivingly student-club-esque mainstream music, approached it all guns blazing. Credit should be given to French Chris Willsman, who played at least 4 times when DJMag was present, and judging by the crowd response, was easily the festival’s favourite. 

It’s the first year for the event, and it’s modest start at some 1,000 people. But promoters Collegium have decades of experience in this game, and the festival format prevented the fatal sausage-fest from occurring in addition. We came here expecting a slightly sleazy weekender, what we got were the beginnings of a serious festival. Keep your eye on this one, we may see big DJs spinning at Spring Break just yet.

words by: Ally Byers