I usually dislike the practice of narrowing something down to a description of five words, but there is something comforting about the condensation when trying to review the experience of Freaky Forest. An experience that takes places annually over the last weekend of November in the Tsitsikamma woods, bringing all sorts of folks out of the woodworks for what is easily becoming South Africa’s best trance party – or at least that’s what the talk on the soft, jiving dance floor was.
So here are the five words I would use to describe Freaky, in some sort of an order – scent, dance, clarity, goodness and beauty. Well, maybe some more order than I think.
This year, it was my sense of smell that was particularly heightened at the party – whether from the incense wafting around the dance floor and camp sites as I gallivanted through the treacherous pine forest, the wholesome cooking aromas of the various food stalls and private kitchens and then those earthy, good, natural smells. The scent of pine needles in the air, the mud squelching between my toes on the most fun Sunday I’ve had in a while, or the sweaty reminder from my fellow party-goers that we were in the middle of a forest dancing rhythmically to sublime beats and hadn’t washed in days. Come Sunday morning I think we were mostly all smelling more sweaty than sweet after the particularly mind-buzzing and gloriously lengthy set delivered by High Style, having followed the feet moving magic of both Ben and Jack Source the previous night. For the hi-tech fans, Ben delivered a sneaky track that had many of us grinning from ear to ear! Earlier, we were treated to the grooviness that Cripz and Floating Grooves emulated which got the bums moving until Phillipa came on – bringing the girl power to the floor and easing us into the night time slots. Continue reading Review: Freaky Forest 2016→
After hearing whispers about Altered States for a number of years, I finally vowed to experience the magic for myself at LUNAR 2015. After a very special weekend of fun in my all-time favourite venue, the Circle of Dreams, I decided that Altered States had lived up to its reputation as one of the smaller and more underground psychedelic gatherings, and that I would return – year after year. By the time that the next edition rolled around, I couldn’t have been more excited.
On the 11th of March 2016, I was on route to enjoy the festivities once more. We arrived just before the sound journey – an Altered States tradition which helps to set the tone for the event as well as encourage more intimacy and openness among party-goers.
Earthtone was first to deliver his beautiful beats to our hungry ears. I loved the fact that the Headspace venue was being utilised as opposed to the Circle which is routinely used as the main dance-floor at Vortex Open Source. This slight change in setting brought with it a special ambiance that is unique to the Altered States event.
When I made my way back to the dance-floor, ScamAntrix was behind the decks dishing out her psychedelicious sounds. I couldn’t help but marvel the scene before me; as the sun began to dip in the sky, shadows cast on the purple-infused dance-floor.
Hips swayed and arms swung loosely as people enjoyed the vast space available to them. Dala was next up to lead us through the sunset. After an ear-enthralling two-hour set, it was time for Bruce – the master of night-time psy – to take the stage.
It was such a pleasure dancing beneath the stars as I watched the trippy projections and light show inside the DJ box. Bruce’s driving beats pulsated from my core and spread throughout my body like electricity. Before I knew it, it was time for the legendary Moog of Mushroom Mafia to take over. To this moment, when I shut my eyes I can still feel the vibrations of Moog’s hard-hitting bass lines rattle the earth beneath my feet. The music went from strength to strength with System Theory, who led us to the witching hour, and then Talking Decks.
As an avid fan of dark psy, I can attest to the fact that Altered States never disappoints when it comes to piecing together a killer night-time line-up. Though I will admit that I was fast asleep in the comfort of my tent when the first droplets of rain came down and Drifter took to the decks.
I was roused from my sleep sometime during Kalahari Kris’s performance which was – as always – an absolute treat. I can agree with Kris when he says that high energy music makes for high energy people. That was indeed the case when the beats from Canadian guest, Nailik of Grasshopper Records, imploded through the speakers.
The party was heaving by the time that Absynth got up to play his set. During the course of the morning the dance-floor continued to fill out with freshly-faced troopers joining in for some Sunday fun. Silo followed shortly after to raise the energy with his signature sound. Regretfully, I was not able to catch his entire set but fortunately, it’s available for your listening pleasure below.
I am told that the music was concluded on the highest of high notes thanks to Prefix who is fast becoming one of Cape Town’s most loved DJs. I am sure I am not the only one who was still smiling by the time they arrived home after a spectacular weekend. Altered States prides itself in creating a space where party-goers can feel safe to express themselves, to meet new people and catch up with familiar faces.
When it comes to their events, it’s not only the music that can’t be faulted but the incredible vibe and sense of harmony that this event aims to promote. A huge thank you is due to the organisers for making us party-goers feel so completely at home, and for reminding us of the essence of true psychedelic trance music.
To the amazing beings I met and new friends that I made, I hope to see you at the next gathering – and the one after that. After all, LUNAR has become somewhat of a family reunion for our little psy scene – and it’s all thanks to your continued support. We are so lucky to reside inside the psytrance capital of Africa.
“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.
I entered the Parallel Universe just before noon on Sunday – a little later than planned, but nevertheless I was there. When we got to the dance-floor Lucas was closing up shop. Beside him, Raja Ram’s fluorescent-orange peak cap bobbed up and down to the music.
Excitement moved through me as I dissolved into the crowd. Revelry was in full swing, and it wasn’t hard to tell who had been there from the start. Whether brightly clean or slightly bruised and battered, everyone had come to witness the Godfather of Psytrance in action. Suddenly the floor was packed. Continue reading Review: Vortex Parallel Universe 2015→