After a self-imposed trance party hiatus for the past four months, I was really looking forward to Vortex Parallel Universe. Easter Vortex, as it’s affectionately known, has always had a special place in my heart; not only is it hosted at my all-time favourite venue but each year it promises a stellar line-up that can’t be missed.
Die-hard Vortexers may swear by the Circle of Dreams but in my humble opinion, Hillside Farm is an equally magical venue with its enchanted forest-like atmosphere and majestic canopies. This year, the dance-floor was moved ever so slightly – creating more space for stompers to get wild. And I loved how the arrangement of stalls made the party seem like a little gypsy village.
After arriving on Sunday morning, we were shocked to see how many people were leaving the party due to hectic weather conditions the night before. Nevertheless, we were prepared to weather the weather for this worthy cause! We arrived in time to catch the last bit of Deliriant (or rather the King of Psy) before Avalon came on, taking us on rhythmic journey which left me with goosebumps.
This was followed by Headroom (or should I say Headgroom!) who took to the decks in a pink wig and gold hula skirt as part of his bachelor party celebrations. Congrats, Adam! Then came a powerful and uplifting set from Divination AKA Sinerider’s newest project, which he describes as “the culmination of all the sounds that I have loved, utilising all the production skills I have picked up over the last 13 years researching trance production. I guess some people call this sort of music full-prog or psygressive.”
Read our exclusive interview with Sinerider here.
The beats throughout the day were rather mellow, and I spent most of my time exploring what the festival had to offer as well as receiving an amazing and insightful palm-reading from Lee-Anne at the Prema Shanti Healing Sanctuary. My friends and I enjoyed sampling the wide range of delicious food available – our firm favourites being the samoosas from Atma and the Tiropitas (tomato version of Spanikopitas) from Square Tomato.
Things started warming up with Itone on Sunday afternoon. Then Contra took over to warm us up for the crazy night ahead. Anyone on the dance-floor between the hours of 21h00 and 03h30 can attest to the absolute insanity that was the night-time session which kick-started with two local legends back to back – namely Absynth and Bernz. The energy on the dance-floor that was emitted during these sets was tangible, palpable and radiating with pure love. I was propelled on a psychedelic journey through sound in a space held by two masters of their craft.
I decided that it was bedtime after that, and I had just gotten all warm and snug in my sleeping bag when I heard the absolute madness Luna VS Wobbles was banging out. I sprinted out my tent at the speed of light and jammed to some of that phattest, ankle-breaking beats I have ever heard in my life. I partied until the end of Mad Science (Rubix Qube and EMP) – an experience so powerful that words simply can’t do it justice. (I don’t know what those guys are doing, but they are getting it right). That set contained some of the most mind-blowing trance beats I have ever heard.
For me, these adventures confirm just how special and transformative trance music is – it’s in the moments where you simply can’t tear yourself away from the dance-floor, regardless of how tired or broken you may be; where the music itself is what recharges and re-energises you. Music like that enlivens our primal urge to connect with the earth’s energy; it is where you viscerally feel and know in the deepest parts of your heart and soul that this is where you’re meant to be, this is what you’re meant to be doing.
Disco Volante‘s breakfast jam set the bar for what was going to be a legendary last league of the festival. Next up was Sinerider who, judging from the crowd’s reaction, was possibly the best international act of the weekend. What a talented producer!
Then came everyone’s daytime favourite, Dave Mac, who got the crowed grooving to his bouncy beats; this was followed by Broken Toy’s much-loved, funky brand of psy. Future Frequency (Avalon and Sonic Species) played a crazy closing set and finished things off with the ever-popular (and arguably the most overplayed though we’re not judging) progressive track, Vini Vici’s remix of Free Tibet (Hilight Tribe).
Despite the awful weather on the first night nothing could dampen the spirits of the people at this party. From the non-stop top-notch tunes to the mind-blowing décor and breath-taking venue, Parallel Universe was a resounding success.
Parties like this remind me why we return time and time again to the forest floor to connect to the core of our being through music. Usually after a trance party, you feel like you need to recover but despite being physically tired, Easter Vortex has always been the one party that totally heals and revitalises me. I would like to express the deepest gratitude to Heather, Atmosphere Decor and the team (and everyone else involved) for making this festival such an unforgettable experience.
See you next year!