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Review: Altered States ~ Lunar

As I arrived at my long-time favourite venue, the “Circle of Dreams,” I was struck by the beauty of Riversonderend once more. Home of Vortex Trance Adventures, this sacred clearing is nestled in a forest roughly 170km out of Cape Town. I was elated upon hearing that Altered States managed to secure this dream-space for LUNAR after a last-minute complication (or rather, a blessing in disguise).

Photo by: Athena Christoforakis
Photo by: Athena Christoforakis

I made my way to the dance-floor for the much-anticipated Sound Journey and was transfixed by the amalgamating rhythm. A few decorative details were strung from the branches of trees in the background, adding to the already vibrant display. Some milled about in conversion, others marvelled the gallery of artwork within the ‘The Psychedelic Dream Temple.’

decor altered states psychedelic sun beautiful forest music festival
Photo by: Kelly Turner

I managed to capture a brief snippet of the Sound Journey on video, although I’ll confess that I was too engrossed by the magic to fumble about with technology; Altered States has a contagious aura of tranquillity about it. I sensed that even before Earthtone got behind the decks, and the beats began.

This level of intimacy and mutual understanding was more than refreshing. Creativity radiated from every carefully-painted piece of décor and party-goers were mindful of the environment around them. This was a special gathering, indeed. And I was mystified by the time Prefix guided us into the evening.

Kineticz followed, and then Killawatt, who delivered a set unlike anything I have heard before. The vibrations of his high-energy beats pulsated through the forest floor and then up, through my being. I admired the openness of the star-filled sky above, as well as the spaciousness of an un-crowded dance-floor (something that’s become exceedingly rare).

altered states lights night time trance party
Photo by: Athena Christoforakis

The party was heaving when Compact got into the DJ box. I stood at the centre of the floor, experiencing the energy mounting around me. Happy faces floated to and fro but all that existed was the music. Out of nowhere, large illuminated creatures emerged from the floor reaching higher and higher towards the heavens as part of an epic performance by The Psychedelic Theatre and I decided to watch in awe from the warmth of the bonfire.

DJ Drifter was up next, in place of Talking Decks. I found myself asking when the music would stop being so amazing so that I could get some rest. After much contemplation, I managed to pull myself away from the dance-floor, (though I still enjoyed the sensation of the music from the comfort of my tent).

johan absynth music festival girl party
Photo by: LGeary

The next day, I was woken by a friend, beckoning me to the dance-floor. Flexture was wrapping things up and I grabbed a cup of Marley coffee along the way. The tunes of the talented Bruce (a.k.a Solar Axis) started up in the distance. A woman who had been curled up in the chill area, stretched out from the oversized bean-bag she’d been sleeping on to reveal a dog cozied up beside her (“I don’t even know whose dog this is,” she told me).

The feeling of love and unity was ever-strong; I found myself being magnetised by Bruce’s early-morning set, reeling me in deeper and deeper. I closed my eyes, floating through the dance-floor once more, a grin on my face. If there’s one thing I love about Sundays, it’s a morning set from Bruce.

Photo by: Johan Absynth
Photo by: LGeary

Feeling my enthusiasm build, I found my energy-levels replenish. Soon after, Absynth took the reins and the crowd began to fill out more and more.  His banging beats echoed through the trees for two hours straight.

I could hardly contain my excitement when I noticed Flooting Grooves a.k.a Pearce van der Merwe preparing for his set (read our exclusive interview with him here). Every expectation I had was exceeded as he teleported us on a journey of sound, aided by a majestic flute.

flooting grooves altered states music festival psytrance trance south africa psyked
Photo by: Kelly Turner

Bernz seized the floor sometime after that and the party gained new momentum. His psychedelic sounds, composed of hard-driving basslines and uplifting undertones, once again, had me fixed to the spot. Then the sprinklers turned the ground to mud and I sunk my feet into the coolness of the earth, colours swirling around me and bubbles drifting across the scope.

dancing happy pstrance music festical altered states absynth psyked
Photo by: LGeary

It was a sad moment when I rallied my troops, knowing that it was time to head home. Unfortunately we were not able to stay for Satori’s closing set but I’ve been informed that she finished things off on a high note with some seriously killer tunes.

namaste forest decor altered states lunar psytrance party music festical peace happiness
Photo by: Kelly Turner

If there’s one thing I gleaned at this party, it’s that the principles of P.L.U.R and the original vision of psytrance is still present. These like-minded individuals who come together to celebrate the spirit of African psy are not just our friends, they’re our family.

Thank you to the Altered States crew and everyone who attended, this was the first of many! Until then, stay psyked…


Photo credit: Kelly Turner, LGeary and Athena Christoforakis

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Win double tickets for Altered States – Lunar

Join us as we celebrate the moon and all her majesty at Altered States- LUNAR. Embark on a psychedelic adventure set on the lush green banks of the Berg River. With live art, yoga workshops, star gazing and the tribal “sound journey,” this gathering bids something special. And in remaining true to the authentic underground style that Altered States is known for, the line-up features Dala, Killawatt, Talking Decks, Bruce, Flooting Grooves, Bernz and Satori – among others.

altered states lunar

Psyked in the City is giving away 2 x tickets to the event. To enter, follow the instructions below.

Continue reading Win double tickets for Altered States – Lunar