The Garden Family Testimonials

All great things come to an end so we say goodbye to The Garden Festival. What marked the grand 10 years are certainly the people, both visitors and the ones who were behind the scenes making all of this possible from the beginning. Thanks to all who made it happen, changed the world's festival history and put a lot of smiles on people’s faces. You already know Nick and Charlotte have big plans cooking up for the next years so here is a sneak peek into some of The Garden’s Family that made The Garden Festival what it is.

Eddie and Gail Ocallaghan – Collaborators

Nick and Charlotte had come over in 2004 to visit a friend and made the leap of faith to bring the kids and open a beautiful lounge bar in Zadar, we came over with a bunch of close friends for the opening and were knocked out by the beauty and potential of the area.Nick and i had often collaborated on parties in the past both in San Francisco and Liverpool and we got to planning on bringing all our mates over for the first festival in 2006. To us the essence of The Garden is true music lovers, no attitude or VIPs just like minded friends who gradually become family. Hundreds of people who feel the buzz and communicate that to all their loved ones when they get back home and  year by year it has grown with simply good people telling good people. Over the decade we have had the chance to witness lifelong friendships taking root in the Garden. Going out with a bang after 10 glorious years, gives me and Gail the opportunity to carry out an idea we have all been planning and discussing together at Garden HQ for years. Of course we will be back in Tisno each summer to help with all the festivals, plus some new ones Nick and Charlotte are putting into place. But we will be moving back to the UK  Based in the City of Enchantment (Birmingham to you) to open a non profit shop selling recycled clothing by the kilo called Off the Scale that aims to help people who have experience with depression. Clothing is Gails first love and hopefully we can do a bit of good along the way.

Dave Harvey – Booker / Hand model

I've banged on about this a lot - but a wonderful, fantastic event to have been a part of -  great team, from the crew behind the scenes to the artists who make up the front facing side of it, everyone who's part of it loves it and that shines through. BEST DO EVER - Met my future wife there as well :)

Tom Paine – LILO based lifeguard and synchronised swimming logistical consultant

It began for me because Dave Harvey used to slope off somewhere straight after Glastonbury whilst I would be left scrubbing the mud off all the production gear we would hire in order to get our deposits back. He'd just ask me if I fancied a cup of tea, make a big song and dance about us being out of milk, "pop to the shop" and then turn up 10 days later with a massive grin on his face and a lovely all over sun-tan... One year I decided to follow him - and low and behold ended up on the beautiful peninsula of Petrecane.... Needless to say we lost all our Glasto deposits that year...Too many memories to remember - but watching the sunsets at Petrecane from the beach bar - to now watching the Sun rise over the new Barberellas are definitely both top of the lists. So Dave and I couldn't accept that this was the end of the Garden.  So like a Phoenix from the flames we are now going to be working all winter on bringing you Love International... July 2016 xxx

Eva Živković – Personal assistant/administrator/box office manager & onsite accommodation manager

I began working 6 years ago while the festival was still in Petrčane as Nick's  personal assistant and an administrator while still studying French & Italian. With years, and especially with changing the festival site my job expanded to a box office manager & onsite accommodation manager, translator, secretary, dog sitter etc. Working for the Garden feels hectic and fun at all times, the excitement on the first day of the festival and a huge relief on the last day are feelings rarely and job can offer. Favorite moments are always the ones after the festival is over and we all sit for a beer laughing at ourselves for who we were 3 days ago while pacing all around. I don't even have to mention all the good times at the beach, on the boat or at the club-that's the place where everything goes off! Family vibe, not just between the crew & staff, but the festival goers give something to The Garden that I'll miss the most.

Petra, Pertla, Pedro, Petal, Petrunella, Hector (:O), Eagle-Eye Kluk – Artist Nanny

For me it all started with helping out Soundwave the last year of Petrcane and meeting our box office extraordinaire, Eva. She introduced me to Nick and Charlotte who welcomed me into their family and from there it all spiralled out. They trusted me with all of their artist logistics and moving onto the new site in Tisno. After I met everyone, I soon realised these will be some of the best years of my life! Thumbs up for the whole team, even though we’re small, we get so much praise from everyone – for staying true to ourselves and keeping music and good times in the first place. What’s better than having your office by the beach, no VIPs, dancing under the sun and stars and adopting cute kittens to play with all summer (all hail Toby!)?

Kristina Stegić – Accommodation wizard

I will sum it all up by saying everything involving The Garden Festival is amazing. It really made my place Tisno alive, the crew working at the festival and my colleagues are  just great, Nick and Charlotte put their trust in me and gave me open hands from the beginning. A perfectly formed festival with a great crew behind makes this an amazing experience and a true family to me.

Bobby Beige – DJ Garden Zadar and Festival Resident, Musical Director at Garden Zadar and work shy fop

A annual gathering of wonderful minds that share beliefs and music that's more than a little bit to the left of centre. Started for me back in 2004 after being invited by the lovely Adam Regan as i was producing music for the mighty Different Drummer record label at the time, to play the opening of a new bar,The Garden Bar in Zadar. I immediately fell in love with the bar and become really good friends with Nick, Charlotte etc i think i changed my flight three times that first year.After a couple of years the festival was born after Eddie O Callahan and Nick Colgan stumbled upon a site in Petrcane they had Adam Regan,Myself and a few others getting in touch with promotors and friends we knew in the UK and Europe to get involved.

It's been quite a remarkable journey from the bar to Petrcane to Tisno and it would be rude of me to single out individual performances as everyone has had there little part to play somehow one way or another whoever has been involved.The fact that it's remained as a small family ran festival is the most important thing for me.It's great to share the laughs and wonderful times,with likeminded folk each year,i'll enjoy doing it one more time for sure and seeing everybody who i do not normally see throughout the year. The location,being by the sea on one of the most beautiful coastlines in Europe has certainly helped too and let's not forget that being able to play music outside in that natural beauty is something to behold and will be sorely missed. Lets just be thankful for the incredible last 10 years and here's to Charlotte, Nick, Eddie, Gail, Derek, Greg, Bonny, Giovani, Paulo too many names to mention all the Garden Family and people who worked their arse's off for this to happen,for us all. All good things come to a end,let's enjoy it one more time and let's not forget we still have The Garden Bar in Zadar another astonishing place,certainly one of my fave places to DJ in the world,and i'm lucky enough to be resident DJ and musical director booking guests throughout the summer. Big love Bobby Beige x

Anna Johnson – Artist Liaison and Logistics Team

Through working with Team Love, I was brought to Garden for the first time 3 yrs ago and the experience changed my life. I had never been to Croatia and for me, the community that congregates in Tisno for this show is unlike any other. Whether losing myself to music on the beach stage, or surrounded by friends as the sun rises at Barbarellas, or boarding the boat for the final time for the Secret Island Party – memories of Garden will always be with me.

Andrej Filetin – Creative director at Fiktiv (The Garden's design studio)

Fiktiv has been working together with The Garden right from the start in 2005. It instantly felt right and grew into a friendship that formed a creative playground for the projects to follow. Over the past ten years, we crafted hundreds of different visuals and kept on evolving the story while keeping it fresh. We got all the trust we could hope for – how else could you get away with The Silly Bird? And that's exactly my top thing about The Garden – it feels like it's made for the friends and family. Even in 2006, on the very first Garden Festival, it was freezing cold, it was raining, the weather was awful, but everybody was having the time to remember – it felt special. The designs we created since always strived to communicate that. Looking forward, we're cooking a whole new look for The Garden's future and having as much fun as ever – all will be revealed soon!

Damo Jones – PR UK

I first came to The Garden Festival on holiday, after many friends had been over the years previously, and they all said how amazing it was. I also knew Eddie and Gail from their Magnet and Bulletproof days in Liverpool – I actually remember when Eddie first said he was taking the family over there to live, and we were like – “Really?!” So that was my first ever visit to Croatia, and Petrcane – and it was a brilliant trip! Later that year, I asked Eddie if there was any way I could help with the PR, and luckily they took me onboard.

For me, the pure magic of The Garden Festival is the mixture of the amazing people, the idyllic location and the vibrant range of music, from super chilled soul, funk and Balearic by day to disco, house and techno at night. My favourite moments? Theo Parrish last year, Crazy P every year. Eating a pizza by the waterfront. Watching the sunsets with a cold beer, seeing the sunrises at Barbarella’s. Prosumer’s boat parties. Odyssey in 2011 were amazing. Meeting lots of lovely people from all over the world.

Above all though for me, Nick and Charlotte and Eddie and Gail, and Dave and Tom too, have created all of this with so much integrity and honesty, always focused on quality over quantity. There is a little bit of The Garden’s DNA in all of the other festivals in the region - they are the originators and the catalyst for the burgeoning scene now around the Adriatic. I think it’s going to be an emotional send off for the festival, for everyone who still is involved or has been there previously, in one connected way or another.

Clare Dover – PR (European and International) – Bringing in the Europeans!

My first visit to The Garden Festival was on a holiday with friends in 2009 and it was the start of a love affair with a festival that will always hold a special place in my heart. When I wasn’t on the dance floor, I spent much of that holiday stalking Nick Colgan to persuade him that the festival could also benefit from attracting more of our fellow music-loving Europeans. Thankfully he and the team agreed and the next year I returned as their European PR working alongside the lovely Damo – dream team! That year will always be a special one for me, not only because it was the first year I worked on the festival and became part of the amazing Garden family, but also because it was the year I met my boyfriend. Garden romance! There many things that make The Garden Festival a truly special occasion each year – an amazing family of people behind the scenes making it all happen (that also happen to be in the festival business for all the right reasons), the sublimely curated line-up with artists and DJs that never fail to bring out the dancers and put a smile on their faces, oh those LEGENDARY boat parties, the outrageously beautiful sunsets and the pure VIBES that every single person coming to the festival brings. It’s so easy to be swept up into the magic of it all.

Monika Marusic – local press

The best things happen unexpected, so that’s how it started off with me and The Garden Festival too. Petra, the artist liaison queen, called me to see if I can hop in and cover the Croatian press 3 years ago. I was in love with the festival for years saying to myself I wanna be a part of that when I grow up. So here I am doing Croatian press and am involved in the iconic festival that triggered so many great changes in my country. From the minute you enter The Garden Festival experience be sure you will not take the smile off your face. The amazingly friendly people, family vibes, great crew and carefully selected music on one of the most beautiful location are just what make The Garden Festival so special to me. It is an honour to work for this team and be a part of some great memories. So let’s all create new ones.

Jessica Farley – Social Media

The Garden Festival began for me when I took a leap of faith and quit my job at a bank to work in music. I started assisting the lovely Petra with a few projects and she gave me a role to help with all the online content for TGF. I remember last summer being at Barbarellas as the sun came up, surrounded by this beautiful scenery and all these absolutely fantastic people who’d welcomed me into their family with open arms. It was at that moment I realised how happy I was that I wasn’t working in a bank any more, haha!! I cried for about half an hour with happiness! Apparently they’re called disco tears! I really have fallen in love with the place and people, I’ve made friends for life and the moments I had last year will stay with me forever. The music has influenced me a great deal in doing what I do now in the industry and I cannot wait to come back and do it all again for the last year. I bought some decks a couple months ago so have recorded a 1 hour Garden themed mix for this family feature :) Big influences for me in there from Futureboogie, Soul Clap and the artists that play at the festival. Hope you enjoy!

Leena Sharma – All things Barbarella's Discotheque

Back in 2009, I first set foot on the old Garden site in Petrcane and a love affair began. Since then, The Garden Festival has held a very special place in my heart - a get-together of like-minded souls with the landscape of the Adriatic coast as a backdrop. It's pure magic. Since then, I have managed to procure myself a job looking after the mid-blowing open air club Barbarella's Discotheque located in Pirovac, a tiny fishing village down the road from the new Garden site in Tisno. Although I am based full time in Ibiza, spending the summer in Croatia at this breath-taking venue is something I look forward to beyond compare! What The Garden Festival has created is a community of kindred souls all with one common goal - to dance and smile as much as humanly possible for a week with friends made for life. It's hard to articulate what makes TGF so damn extraordinary, but I guess the combination of superb left-field programming, the setting, the boat parties, the club and the bang on-point production has got something to do with. But the main thing for me is the people. Somehow TGF attracts a crowd who just 'get it'. And the crew that I have the privilege to work with are the best and the funniest in the industry. I'm gonna miss TGF, but am SO glad I have been a part of it over the years. As some fine fellow once said "Don't be sad it's over. Just be happy it ever happened".

Greg Knight – Well I guess you could say I help to steer the ship

I've been there from the very beginning, Ante and I are probably the only to crew that have been there from the start and not missed a single one. It's really hard to try and sum anything up when you have been through so much together. Probably the thing that stands out most and has brought me back is the sense of family. I've been working on events for longer than I care to admit and I can honestly say that year 2 was the best sense of camaraderie between the crew I have ever felt on any event. That does really mean something to me.

Moose – Stage manager

I'm a street artist/orange farmer/scenic and stage tech/ Dj and former label boss of csidetrax records. I've been a friend of Eddie's since the early nineties when I DJed on one of his "Bulletproof" parties in the San Francisco Bay. He got in touch after that first legendary Garden asking if I would help out on the stage as things were going to get a little bigger production wise. We were all working for free back then. I have to say that I've had some of the greatest moments of my life at the Garden, I realise most of my mates these days are mates from there, were a family. The Djs and artists have no attitude at all, they're all in the family too. That's pretty rare. Simply dancing with your arms round a bunch of people you don't know in love with each other the music that orange sun going down as the boat pulls into the bay for the greatest party you've ever been to could be described as the meaning of life for me.

Probably my favourite moment is purely egotistical, Hayley who was on the production team at the time had arranged the speed boat to pick us up from the Secret Island Party and as it sped off back to the site she got them to stop the music and chant "Moose!Moose!Moose!". I think I was a it choked by that one. Worst moment was introducing my mates band and giving them the wrong name, I wondered why people were looking at me strangely as I left the stage to find out later that they were remorselessly ripping the piss out of me, they called me Morris for the rest of the weekend. Fave music moment was the great soul version of Mr Blue Sky that ......... did, all dressed in suits, they really took it somewhere else (ask Eddie about this one, I can't remember the bands name, double barrelled name, I'll try and remember, I know he loved it too). Also Henrik Schwarz dropping his mix of Omar's "Feeling you" at the end of his set several years back when we were in Petrcane, just something about that moment opened a door that to this day swings off it's hinges.

Hayley Cookson – covered most roles on site from marketing to production to accreditation to European tour events to checking on the boats, the New Years Eve parties

After falling in Love with The Garden and it’s family on it’s first year I offered to help for year two. I’ll never forget arranging this with Eddie sat on the main stage in Petrcane, both from the midlands, we spoke for 20 minutes before making our excuses as we both thought the other was talking a foreign language. It’s been an Adriatic adventure lasting nine years for me and I’m extremely grateful to have been involved. From 2020 Soundsystem filling in ad hoc during a power cut in Petrcane to Chali 2nd performing an impromptu set on the Norman Jay boat party there have been some great musical moments. It very rare at a festival to have such intimate surroundings, combine this with a great team and perfect setting, it’s hardly seemed like work at all. Next for me, as well as other music projects, you’ll find me running A Family Affair at The Garden Tisno in August 16.


I would just like to say about the Garden Festival and the crew - THANK YOU for all the fun. I've met some really lovely people through The Garden / Elephant  Festival madness. Many have stayed in my life, and I intend on them staying.. ( need I mention names? But Paula Davies,you will be greatly missed this year indeed. :) I met her on my flight over to the very first Garden Festival and we are great friends to this day. That's the power of bringing likeminded nice people together! I am with a bit of sadness coming to the final bash. I know all good things come to an end, and I am feeling very lucky and privileged to be invited and involved ( well, involved in so much as I will join us all on the dancefloor..! Or long yummy lunch with far too much wine or a twisted boogie on a boat party...) I may have helped in some other ways, but that was just an honor. A big thank you ALL for bringing us together, and keeping it so nice and personal. Keeping away the dickheads is an art much harder than one thinks, but you have so done it! Well done..xx Eva