Looking back: Origin Festival 2018

Every year, Origin Festival promises a full weekend of music and revelry to party-goers who flock from all walks of life to join in on the celebration. Dance, comrade, freedom of expression—these are just a few of the threads which unite our psytrance community and make it one of the most unique scenes in the world. At Origin, it’s easy to get a sense of that.

As one of the largest outdoor psytrance festivals in South Africa, Origin is revered not only for its impressive line-ups but visionary art and psychedelic culture, too. Plus, it’s pretty cool that they’re striving to be a more conscious event by incorporating a strong ethos into everything they do, which includes protecting Mother Nature. Needless to say, Origin is definitely more than just a party—it’s an experience—and one of the most beautiful music events in Africa. Hosted at Elandskloof farm in Helderstroom, one cannot help but be marvel the world-class level of production that Origin aspires to (and achieves) year in and year out with the support of Good Time Events and the Nano Records crew.

After a 125km drive from Cape Town, we had arrived. We took it as a sign of good luck that it was overcast and raining, considering the dire drought the Western Cape is currently facing—and we prepared ourselves for a bit of a much-needed rain dance. One of the many things we love about this venue is the fact that it’s surrounded by the most majestic mountain range. It’s that combination of natural splendour with carefully-created psychedelic artistry that really sets the tone of this event.

We made our way down a rather muddy slope to a lush green valley. The forest, which is abundant in oak trees, provides great shade to the camping areas which is why Origin is one of our favourite places to set up base.

When we finally made our way to the dance floor, we had the opportunity to admire the hard-work of many talented Vjs, décor artists, riggers and sound engineers who invested their time in creating a visual and auditory masterpiece. The vibrant atmosphere and enchanting stage design really blew us away and reminded us of something out of Ozora Festival in Hungary.

The visual mapping by Afterlife was something otherworldly which—sadly—can’t quite be put into words but, instead, needs to be experienced in the flesh. The main stage, with its psychedelic temple-like aesthetic designed by Artescape, played host to some of the best local and international acts—many of whom represented the Nano Records label.

The Beats Stage, which was situated in a clearing of trees nearer to the camping sites, kept the techno, deep house and down-tempo beats pumping. The awesome stage design can be accredited to The Red Telephone crew, while the Good Times and Dimensions canopy provided extra shade.

The chill-out floor was brought to life with a visionary psychedelic art gallery, mellow beats, workshops and yoga practices—all of which added to the holistic experience that is Origin.

Efficiency is the name of the game when it comes to events of Origin’s calibre and it was refreshing to see such attentive planning manifest into an unforgettable festival. The only thing missing was a little more shade near the food stalls. However, this was a minor setback compared to the things we loved about this event like, for instance, the kindness and respect exhibited by fellow party-goers.

One of the first acts we had the privilege of dancing to was Nano residents, The Commercial Hippies. Other highlights included the super talented Killer Robot and international guests Extrawelt (on the Beats stage) and Earthspace (at the chill-out floor). Judging by the feedback from other troopers, Broken Toy’s set was something really special.

On Sunday, we had a chance to laze by the river as we enjoyed the Funktion One sound rig at the Beats Stage. Gripping sets from Pierre-Estienne, Thor Rixen, Spekta and Ian Skene ensured the grooviest funky techno beats which were perfect for a Sunday Funday.

After getting warmed up, it was time to head to the main stage for some of Cape Town’s best full-on and progressive psychedelic beat masters including the likes of Avalon, Headroom and Tounge and Groove who played the closing set. Hands waved in the air, laughter erupted from all around, massive smiles stretched from ear to ear and it’s clear that we were having it.

One thing’s for sure: we’re damn excited for the 15th instalment of Origin in 2019. Hats off to everyone who made this event such a raving success. Raving… get it?

Special thanks to Keith Stone from Missing Link for compiling this review on behalf of Psyked in the City. Editing done by Batia Efrat.

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