New music festivals are emerging every year, but not many can stand up to the competition, last longer and stay in our summer calendar for years. This year Outlook turns 10 years old which is a testimony that this festival is worthy of being mentioned among the other big ones in Europe. As a matter of fact, it was qualified in the 10 best music festivals in Europe by “The Guardian”.

photos: Emil Kazakov

Taking place in beautiful Croatia it is definitely in the top 3 on the Balkans. Sadly, we in Bulgaria don’t have any music festival of this range, so we have to visit our neighbor countries – which is not such a bad -plan in fact.

We need to mention that Outlook’s heavy bass influenced music is still quite underground on the Balkans – it has still not reached the mass public. This is the reason why – if you like that kind of bass melodies – Outlook is the best, nearest place to be among adherents. That’s why I had to go there…someday…and I am pretty glad that this day will finally come!

Nearly one third of the styles, represented at Outlook festival are not so popular in Bulgaria and respectively no events focused on these genres take place here (except drum and bass to be precise). Artists like Dizee Rascal, Giggs, My Nu Leng, Loefah and others are somehow popular in Bulgaria but most probably we won’t see them in the country any time soon. This is why Outlook Festival is the closest option to hear real grime, real UK garage, dubstep and bass music all together.

I’ve never encountered the Outlook magic but this year’s lineup looks more than promising. I have not just one or two favorite musicians – after all it’s a huge line up with artists from different musical worlds that I have never visited.

Still, as a fan involved seriously in the underground bass culture, I have 5 artists that I won’t miss for sure and I can definitely recommend them. As I am quite thrilled of my first Outlook festival ever, here come my 5 top picks:

Digital Mystikz

Digital Mystikz (Mala and Coki) are one of the pioneers in the dubstep genre. Their label ‘DMZ’ is responsible for at least 1/3 of all notable dubstep releases and the track ‘Anti war dub‘ is one of the most iconic of them. Anti war dub is blowing the roof even today – 11 years later. Many electronic producers, who even write different types of music, admit they were influenced by Digital Mystikz: like the ambitious German producer Emika.

I am a huge fan of dubstep. This was the first genre that got me interested in Outlook Festival and electronic music as a whole. Well… I am finally going to see Mala & Coki with my own two eyes. Loefah is also featured in the lineup, but I suppose will have a different time slot. It has been a long journey for me. Even now, when I listen to an old school set by them I get goose bumps. I am finally going to feel the bass that started everything. There are hardly any dubstep parties in Bulgaria, so this is for all the local fans – we should not miss this!

My Nu Leng

My Nu Leng are a Bristol based duo that specializes in bass music. Their style is hard to be defined because they experiment with different synths, tempos and vibes. Jammo and Tommy create both heavy bass rollers and nice danceable vocal songs that are combined in perfectly built sets. They have a couple of releases on Black Butter Records and 877 Records and gathered massive support from fellow tastemakers like Mistajam, jaguar Skillz, Rob Da Bank, Zane Lowe and others.

My Nu Leng are my personal favorites for the moment. I love the dance music they represent; I adore their production and the sounds involved. When listening at home I always thought that this would be great at a rave – well, this September instead of dancing in my living room I am going to dance with hundreds of adherents.

Dizzee Rascal

Dizzee Rascal is one of the pioneers of grime music but his sound includes components from the UK garage, hip-hop, bass music and R&B genres. Dizzee Rascal is one of the most eminent grime artists of all time and has a Mercury Prize (2003) for his debut album ‘Boy in da Corner’. Recognition from the mass audience did not stop here as he has 2 more Mercury nominations, a Brit and a BET award, both in 2010. With 6 published albums through the years he is still on top of the game and is respected from every grime lover worldwide.

Dizee was a favorite of mine 5-6 years ago but I had somehow lost track of him. I bet his set will have great energy, so it will be definitely interesting to hear his new stuff. His latest song ‘Space’ is fire so I expect only quality material from him. Dizee will perform in a 2000 years old Roman amphitheatre which is something I look up to!

Ivy Lab

Ivy Lab are a North London based trio consisting out of drum and bass producers Sabre, Stray and Halogenix. As they state in their online biography, it was the shared enthusiasm for experimentations that brought them together. This “enthusiasm for experimentations” is quite obvious during the last year as they produce mainly half step tunes, a new sub-genre propagated by them as 20/20. This halftime movement is now quite popular and artists like Noisia and Mefjus have adopted this tempo by heart. Their “20/20 LDN” clubnight has grown in popularity and has been described as a “London standout” by Mixmag and “ultra innovative” by Timeout Magazine. So when it comes to innovative English sound – Ivy Lab are as good as it gets.

We’ve seen Ivy Lab (Halogenix) live in Bulgaria, thanks to Future Sounds of Sofia, but it was a long time ago when they were still rocking a more traditional drum and bass (Critical) sounding. Their new halftime style is definitely a personal favorite for me, as I prefer slower rhythms and I like those musical pauses they are using. I am surely not going to miss their set as I want to hear their production on a proper sound system and feel a bit more modern.


Giggs is an English rapper, based in London. With 4 released solo albums he is one of the most distinguished UK rappers at the moment. For the mainstream audience – he was featured on two tracks from Drake’s album ‘More Life’ – ‘KMT’ and ‘No Long Talk’. Something interesting about Giggs is that he is influenced by his American colleagues. Nowadays there are many ‘fake’ gangster rappers but Giggs is not part of that group. He served time in prison for firearm possession and is not even allowed to travel to the United States. His track ‘Whippin Excursion’ is favored by The Weeknd and Skepta and is a true banger that I would definitely recommend. He is undeniably pushing the UK rap scene forward and we, as fans of the UK sound respect that.

Once you hear Giggs’ voice you can never confuse it with someone else. For me, Giggs is the embodiment of the UK hip-hop scene. I still remember how his fire verse in the “Game over” collaboration influenced my musical taste. His low tone gives the songs a different ‘heavy’ vibe that I would like to hear live.

Outlook is happening between the 7th and 10th of September and tickets are still available. As I remember the festival is always sold out in the last couple of years so you still have the chance to become a part of the Outlook family and trust me – this year’s event will be a blast! See you there!