“It’s winter,” they said. “It’ll be cold,” they said. “We’ll wait for summer,” they said. But they were wrong. If you were at the Vortex Phoenix Festival of Fire, you’ll know I mean it when I say that it’s a gathering unlike any other. So intimate and entrancing that it’s almost impossible to forget. That’s why on Saturday the 27th of June, I was on route to Riversonderend once again, ready to kick up the dust and brush off those winter blues.
I arrived as the sun was setting; waves of tranquillity passed through me upon entering the sacred space – the Circle of Dreams, my favourite venue of all time. I watched as the scene shifted from day to night. The lights slowly set aglow. I thought about the Shaman’s ceremony which had happened the night before and regretted missing it. Unfortunately, the nine to five can’t always be avoided. But none of that mattered right then.
Sad Paradise had just closed shop and Headroom’s captivating beats imploded through the forest. There’s no doubt that Vortex had stepped up its game since last year, providing ample heaters and fires to keep us warm and snug. Not to mention the stupendous décor. By the time DJ Mark took the reins, it was all systems go.
I marvelled the light show casting visuals before me and, for a moment, I knew neither space nor time. I thought about what Mark had said in a recent interview – that Vortex always holds a great crowd – and how right he was. Only smiling faces surrounded me. Nothing but good vibes. Nothing but happiness.
Then Technicolor came on and kicked the party into overdrive with a powerful psychedelic set that remained true to Deliriant’s cheeky style, offering an element of surprise that is anything but boring. The party was going from strength to strength with K-Jos next in line. If my feet hurt, I didn’t know it. I fluttered off to explore the other tent. Something that us die-hard full-on fans don’t do often enough.
Whatever magic was going on in the Headspace Soundscape, I felt it flow through my entire body. An unfamiliar face smiled down at me from the DJ box, which I later learned belonged to Scam Antrix. Whether it was the general bliss of the party or something entirely different, her uplifting tunes elevated me to cloud nine right in time for Bruce at the main stage.
Ah, Bruce. What word can be used to describe this man other than amazing? No matter what party or what setting, you can count on Bruce to deliver a set that’s more unique and unexpected than the last. Enigmatic, enticing, enthralling. It’s safe to say that I’m a fan. (Also, where can I get that shirt?)
It was nearly time for Creator but my body had had enough for one night so I sauntered to my tent and let the music usher me to sleep. I awoke to the sounds of Bernz in the distance and decided to find some breakfast; might I add, nothing cures a hangover like a breakfast wrap from Oh So Peachy in the morning.
Australian headliner Zen Mechanics took his spot behind the decks shortly after; shiny new faces came out of the woodworks to see the highly talent artist at work. Sunlight filtered in through the canopy of trees giving the forest an entirely different atmosphere. Vortex Round 2 had begun.
Connecto’s afternoon tunes were the perfect aid to Sunday Funday. And things were still going strong by the time Kai got into the DJ Box to emanate his special frequencies. I took the opportunity to steal my friend’s camera to capture a little bit of the overflowing love and beauty which encircled me.
Despite the cries of protest, the music eventually faded out. The wake of the Altered States’ Sound Journey reminded people that the celebration wasn’t over. To those who stayed and formed part of this special ritual, thank you. The energy brought to life through the intention and presence of each and every one of you is inimitable. Though the sun had vanished, the light of Vortex remained in my heart burning like a thousand stars. Until we meet again…
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