Top party promoter Marusic Vladimir, CEO of Novalja.com, talks to Hedonist about one of the biggest parties in Europe: Zrce Spring Break
Tell us a bit about yourself. What exactly is it that you do and what does your company provide?
We are essentially a travel agency. We provide accommodation (we have about 3000 beds in Novalja) but we also do contracts with clubs to host parties – some of the best in the world.
So tell us about the parties on the island and which one’s you promote?
We promote Zrce Spring Break, which is the biggest spring break in this part of the world. This year it was from June 6th-9th and we had about 3000 people from 25 countries all over the globe such as Australia, Brazil, Spain and UK, last year it was 1700. So we are growing.
Do you target these people from those countries or do you just target everywhere?
In each country we have various promoters and because Zrce Beach is very famous it goes crazy. When we first started we did not expect so much diversity from all over the world but we are really pleased with it. As I mentioned we had 3000 people at the last party.
So tell us a bit about your background. How did you get into promoting?
I was working in a ICT company (AmdoSoft, Alarm Automatika) for ten years in Croatia as a system administrator. I decided to quit but continued to work on an IT construction website so I was able to head hunt people who knew about tourism and started setting up Novalja.com firstly as a normal travel agency and then we expanded into promotions.
We have some of the top DJs from around the world like Swedish house Mafia, Paul van Dyk from Poland, Armin van Buuren and Niki Belucci all playing here
Why did you pick Novalja?
My grandmother was from there and I love the island, plus it was becoming one of the top party zones in Europe. We have some of the top DJs from around the world like Swedish house Mafia, Paul van Dyk from Poland, Armin van Buuren and Niki Belucci all playing here.
Did Zrce beach already have a name before you got there?
We helped make it what is today. We have been here organising parties since 1997 and I would say things really started to kick off after 2000.
So were you part of the expansion of Zrce Beach?
Yeah, I mean we were here before the clubs Papaya and Aquarius, so we grew with Kalypso club which was the first club on Zrce beach.
Your party is the first party of the opening season, when does it finish up?
We go non-stop until the closing parties in the middle of September. Re-Union is the closing party and Zrce Spring Break is the opening party.
Do you have things happening all the time?
Yes. For 7 straight days we have top DJs from around the world playing here brought in by different promoters.
Do you personally work with these promoters?
Of course, and we provide them with accommodation.
What other aspects do you cover throughout the 3 months of the party season?
We sell all the tickets online at Novlja.com and we also have groups organising the managers of various clubs so we get a commission from the groups that have been organised through those managers. In the beginning of the party season lots of our groups are Germans and Austrians. And than the English start to flock in. The first week of July is basically 100% British.
Because of the high prices, it’s mostly tourists that buy tickets. For example Hide Out festival costs £100
How much is the Zrce Spring Break opening party?
€165 per person or approximately £132 pounds and that includes accommodation for 3 nights, entrance to clubs, discounts, and local transfers.
Where do you see the party in five years time? Do you see
We don’t want it to be as famous as Ibiza because we don’t want crowds of 50,000 people. What we want is to focus is the quality. This year at Zrce Spring Break we had 3000 people because we stopped booking and decided to have all the parties in one club and it was just crazy.
What is the overall feeling of the Croatians who live here when they see thousands of ravers turn up to their small village?
It’s the same as any party town. The season only lasts 3 months but because the home owners are aged between 50- 60 they do sometimes get tired of the crowds. But once the season is over the island is empty.
How do you avoid having the island turned into a mini England with foreigners taking over the island like some other parts of Europe?
During the big seasons although you will find 90% of the islands are foreigners they don’t take over the domestic rules and regulations. For example, if an apartment owner says they don’t want music after midnight, the occupants have to respect the wishes, or they will get kicked out.
Going back to the parties, what is the average age?
Between 25 to 40. 18 to 22 are mainly Italians and as the season goes on you have the average go up to about 25 to 30.
Tell us about the Boat Party?
This season we had them going all weekend, twice a day. 400 people, DJs, and dancers.
Is it safe?
Yes, of course. We have security on all corners making sure nothing happens or if it does to fix the situation.
What can people expect when they book the Zrce Spring Break opening party?
Three nights and four days of a non-stop party. The first night there is a welcome party at Cocomo in the centre of Novalja Island until 1am. They then get shuttled to Zrce beach to the beach clubs where the parties go ‘till 6am. The next day, the beach party starts at 4pm ‘till 8pm and then it’s back to the clubs for all night parties. And finally, at 10am the boat party starts. It’s pretty crazy.
What would you say to someone who had never heard of Zrce Spring Break? How would you convince them to book it?
Go to YouTube and check out Zrce Spring Break 2013. It really is one of the world’s best party scenes.
Information: Bookings for Novalja are for seven nights. For more information, visit: www.novalja.com/zrcespringbreak2013