Ivan Mouraviev (University of Bristol, UK)


Since at least the 1980s, ravers from London have travelled abroad to hear bass-heavy dance music, temporarily occupying popular summer destinations from Spain to Cyprus and beyond. This interdisciplinary paper explores the topic of musical mobility in the context of Outlook Festival, Croatia, an international bass music event (established in 2008) that celebrates sound system culture and has strong ties to London, particularly the city’s ‘bass music’ genres such as drum ‘n’ bass, dubstep, grime, garage, and dub. The primary argument is that Outlook represents a valuable opportunity for understanding how UK bass culture becomes mobile and is constituted at different scales, outside of its usual urban venues of the city street, home studio, or nightclub. I begin by outlining how the turn towards ‘mobilities’ in the humanities has developed within musicology and popular music studies in recent decades, and highlight the need for caution around claims for a ‘new dawn’ or ‘post-global era’ in contemporary musical culture (Krüger & Trandafoiu 2014). I then turn to case studies relating specifically to mobility and popular music—ranging from the postcolonial ‘rave resort’ of Ayia Napa (White 2019) to ‘techno tourists’ in Berlin (Garcia 2016)—to contextualise the different kinds of mobility at play at Outlook Festival. Preliminary analyses are presented around three main points of interest: (1) festivals as scenes, imagined community, and the global ‘Outlook Family’; (2) European tourism and the ‘EasyJet set’ (Rapp 2010); and (3) the overseas trips or ‘rave journeys’ (Peter 2020) undertaken by audiences and sound system operators. Finally, I conclude by touching on covid-19’s impact on global human mobility and the festival industry, and consider the challenges of conducting fieldwork at a music festival that may not exist in the near future.