"It's Giggs day." I'd like to think I've personified the grace of Snow White when I whip open the old shutters of our Croatian apartment windows to bellow the morning greeting out into the cobblestone streets. The locals look up like I'm crazy. My friends who are in the next room getting ready already know I am. The beat drop on 'Whippin Excursion' has that sort of effect. And that's what we've come for.

We're over 4000 miles from home for the Friday we've dubbed 'Giggs Day'. In our Toronto hub, Hollowman’s name has become renowned for the now-iconic Batman bar from the More Life collaborative anthem 'KMT', which instantly became a late-night staple for any party in the 6 God's hometown since he dropped the playlist this past March. Toronto – as a cultural cousin city to London – was initially one of the first places to show love to the Ness-produced anthem and Giggs’ monumental discography, as well as the lengthy list of London rappers, grime MCs and afro-bashment artists currently making waves in the UK. But with strict Canadian borders clashing with the Rolodex of past charges under certain mans’ belts, it’s been difficult for us to partake in London's moment through live shows. We've had to pack up our trainers and head overseas to experience the music instead.


Rather than waiting patiently for Drake to pull some strings to get Giggs into Canada, a few fans of UK music made the pilgrimage from Toronto to Pula, Croatia for Outlook Festival's 10-year anniversary to celebrate a decade in soundsystem culture and immerse ourselves in the regional sounds of some of the most prominent acts dominating the drill, grime and afrowave scenes.

Fourteen thousand other people - artists included - made a similar decision to travel to the coastal town for a similar experience. There on the beach of the Adriatic Sea and within the ancient walls of Fort Punta Christo, we find ourselves in the middle of an experience only previously accessible to us through headphones. A one-stop shop and sort of sonic zoo memorializing the London underground's rise and fervent global dominance - yet transported to Croatia.


It's a Radar Radio playlist come to life. Rising afroswing artist Kojo Funds performs breakout anthems ‘Dun Talkin,’ ‘Warning’ and ‘Fear No One’ on back-to-back nights in the 200-year-old fort. David Rodigan unleashes his field artillery of unreleased dubs as festivalgoers dance into the night through the heavy rains. Nines provides a rare show on the festival mainstage, which even UK fans seem grateful for as police stopped the North West London rapper from performing at festivals like Wireless earlier this summer. Breakout goddess Jorja Smith belts her charismatic hymns among the beaming sun and palm trees on the beach stage. And Giggs smashes his way through a high-octane set worth the lengthy journey to the small Croatian village for the packed festival that lasts five memorable days.

But Outlook is more than just a spectator experience. It's a participatory culture. And we confront it backstage, between sets and on boat parties transporting adrenalized ravers on the Adriatic sea to trade knowledge on London's music culture and to offer insight into a city like Toronto that is so intent on supporting the scene in response, like creative allies.


We join forces. The Voice of the Streets, Kenny Allstar as well as respected grime MC Jammz and notable DJ JamPak accompany us for drinks in Mungo’s Arena, overlooking the thunderous festival on night one. We sit, trading stories and insight on the dichotomy of Toronto and London street culture and the similarities/differences between our sides of our respected cities. They ask us about Tory Lanez and Drake and we unleash the secrets. The next evening, Amy Becker and Sir Spyro take us across the sea at sunset during Radar Radio’s hype boat party, where Vicky Grout captures the energy with her trusted camera like only she can. And later that evening, chart-rising afrowave artist Not3s pulls out his phone to record a video of us backstage to send to his 'Aladdin' producer Remedee, who had spent a week with us in Toronto this past summer. Despite the separation by border and timezone, it's clear the UK and Toronto are on a similar wavelength as "rap others" now securing our moment in pop culture and Croatia provided the perfect meeting ground to build on that bridge.

Outlook Festival has earned its rightful place as one of the most anticipated European festivals of the year and in a time like this, as UK urban artists find their place in the mainstream, it's more imperative than ever. But these moments aren't going to find you. Pack up, get out and find your sound.