Review: #PlayFestival

After weeks of anticipation, it was finally time to set off for my first ever Equinox Experience outdoor event. At five o’ clock on Saturday we arrived at the Goedgedacht farm in Malmesbury.

I was greeted by many happy faces, mirroring the warmth of the weather. What can I say? Mother Nature had blessed us and rightly so (last weekend was a totally different story!).

happy stomper by dreamer
Photo: Dreamer Photography.

There was plenty explore; the little river that enticed heated stompers on Sunday morning, and the fairy-tale bridge that crossed it, not to mention the lush riverbanks that ran alongside the dance floors. There was magnificence at every turn, and the attention to detail from the organisers’ side exceeded my expectations in every way.

river fun by marc
Photo: Marc Berman Photography.

The “play” theme was really brought to life through elements of the decor such as the video-game-inspired stage and the life-sized cut outs of Pacman. And with a multi-coloured ball pit (the kind we all dreamed of having as kids) and a jumping castle, it was impossible not to release one’s inner child.

ball pit by gareth olivier
Photo: Gareth Olivier.

Equinox really took it up a notch in terms of providing a solid outdoor experience with card machines at the bar, bean bag chill areas, a skate board ramp, water slide and free entrance to all stompers who were celebrating their birthday.

waterslide by gareth olivier
Photo: Gareth Olivier. 

I tried my very best to resist the dancefloor until night fall in an attempt to save my energy but I simply could not. The music was just too good to stay away. At seven, I began stomping to Phixius and I didn’t stop until my legs gave in around four in the morning.With one great DJ after the next, I was in psytrance heaven. 

dancing by marc
Photo: Marc Berman Photography.

In terms of eye-candy, the organisers went all out and it really paid off when the sun set. The visuals, light show and projections during the night time were out of this world.You didn’t need to be on any kind of drugs to be completely gobsmacked by it all. I was teleported from an outdoor festival to a mystical land inside an Xbox game.

light show by adhdh
Photo: ADHD Photography.

The highlight of my evening was Deadbeat FM, the product of the notorious Deliriant (Shane Renew). With his grimy tech-house sound that verges on minimal but is brought to life by dirty bass lines, heavy drums and percussion, Shane kept the dancefloor pumping right through.

d floor at night by marc berman
Photo: Marc Berman Photography.

And where Deadbeat FM stopped, EMP’s alter-ego, Contra, took over. Once he got into the DJ box to deliver an awesomely uplifting progressive tune, I was reminded of how talented and versatile Vaughan de Villie really is.

Listen to Contra’s EP Science Friction.

contra by marc berman
Photo: Marc Berman Photography.

Right now, I am loving the more bouncy and fun beats that are coming from DJs who are well-known for playing harder and darker styles of trance. Vaughn wasn’t the only DJ bringing a progressive project to the floor. James Copland, aka Broken Toy, was on the scene to deliver the symphonic sound of Sad Paradise

happy stomper by ray
Photo: Rachel Doyle Photography.

But there’s always a place for full-on psychedelic, and The Commercial Hippies were there to take control of it. When they played their killer “Lark” remix as well as P.H Fat- Dinosaur blood, the dancefloor went mad.

I was pleasantly surprised by how friendly and uplifting the energy was. What an inclusive vibe. It was extremely refreshing -something I had been missing – to go to a party and speak to people, making new friends and to continuously be greeted with smiles. Not once did I encounter anyone who was having a less-than-incredible time.

stomper by marc
Photo: Marc Berman Photography.

On Sunday morning, I woke up nice and early, bought myself a mini pizza for breakfast (trance parties are all about being healthy that way) and headed to the front of the dancefloor just as Static Flow was finishing up his set. When Dapanji entered the DJ box, the crowed went insane. This is what we had all been waiting for. I was extremely stoked to be there, right in the front as he opened, and to feel the intensity coming from eager stompers. And I was even more stoked when he played one of my favourite tracks.

dapanji by marc
Photo: Marc Berman Photography.

Besides, not getting a chance to see Aviation play, there’s really nothing negative I could say about this event. What a beautiful party! From the venue to the people to the music, I am left in awe. And, like many others, I wish that I could close my eyes and return to the beautiful land beneath the trees.

d floor by ray chill
Photo: Rachel Doyle Photography.

When I did finally convince myself to head home, I left with a sense of bliss inside of me, the good energy and the uplifting tunes still radiating throughout my being. There’s no doubt that this was one the best festivals I have ever attended. Why can’t next year’s Equinox Outdoor just be tomorrow?

bridge by ray chill
Photo: Rachel Doyle Photography.

Special thanks to Claire Robertson for hooking me up with complimentary tickets for myself and the Psyked in the City giveaway, and to the Equinox Experience crew and everyone else who helped to make this event the massive success that it was.

Here are the links to all the photographers who captured the event on camera.

If you have any links to albums that I have neglected to mention, please do drop me a line.

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Click HERE for the next Equinox Experience event.

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