The mature side of Psytrance culture

Author: sam
Date: Aug 26, 2008
Views: 23819

While Psytrance is loosing it's followers, Boom Festival is overrun by freaks from all over the World. There must be something that these Portuguese dudes do right...

photo by sam@chaishop.comEvery two years the full moon of August enlightens a freaky international crowd at the shores of the Idanha-a-Nova lake in central Portugal: It's Boom Festival again and this year's seventh edition attracted an estimated 40,000 followers to the dusty but magnificent nowhere land in Portugal. These were 10,000 more than the organisers planned thus they closed their doors on the second day of the festival unlucky to those who traveled thousands of kilometers and be rejected at the door. At the same time Psytrance festivals all over the world are suffering a loss of followers of about 33-50% per year. So what is it that these Portuguese dudes do differently?

Lately I talked with a friend of mine who's with the scene since it's birth and sometimes djs using the name Fat Hotz Chill E Dippers. We were holding the usual Psytrance veteran talk at the shores of a Hamburg Techno dancefloor. Around us were Psytrance veterans trying not to be spotted as such. Before the beer got warm he said: "Psytrance these days is exactly the opposite of the reasons we joined the scene for." I had to confirm his observation. The reasons why we fell in love with (and sacrificed our life to) the scene 15 years ago were an alternative way of partying, individual and communal extension of consciousness, tolerance, respect and care for your fellow party crowd. Parties were a secret playground for an explicit crowd of people that were unhappy with the general structures of our societies and wanted to take a weekend off to live life differently, meet like-minded and learn. Music was catalyzing all this but it was just a tile in an mosaik of reasons that called for a good party. These days Psytrance music is a product, Psytrance parties are products and are basically integrated into our society just like any other musical scene. The creativity of the newborn is gone and has been replaced by a remix version diluting the once-great ideals.

photo by sam@chaishop.comLike the beaches in Goa or Koh Phangan that have been "upgraded" with high class hotels and metropolitan shopping and restaurant infrastructure, also most of our beloved trance parties have now high-class soundsystems, expensive artist superstars and even pay taxes. This in general isn't bad but the development of a trance party or scene should not only be governed by these blessings of civilization. Also idealistic development is vital.
The Boom Festival team have not only understood this fact but also worked hard on making it reality. And maybe this is the reason why Boom Festival is still growing.

You could say that Boom is not a pure Psytrance festival anymore as many different styles of music are played at it's stages and for many guests Psytrance is not their first reason to attend. But as even Psytrance is not Psytrance anymore you could say that Boom is more Psytrance than Psytrance. The general ideas of Psytrance culture like alternative lifestyle ideas, tolerance, respect, etc. have matured on Boom rather then being diluted.

photo by sam@chaishop.comFor example the liminal village at Boom is a congress of knowledge that includes readings, workshops and movies of alternative lifestyle ideas. It's predecessor has been started in Boom 2000 and since then it has been continuously developed to an organism within Boom Festival.
Body, Mind and Soul are caressed in Boom festivals healing area which has this year gained an extra star. This area offers the opposite of excessive partying: Relax your body, massage your mind, ground yourself. It's a perfect antidote to the strenuous party life.
The appliance of ecological practices to the every day life at Boom has been installed in 2006 and further professionalized this year. Half of the toilets are now compostable and the shower water is being cleaned by plants and enzymes to be given back to mother earth. The houses and structures of this Boom have been made from clay, staw, wood and other environment-friendly materials in order to reduce the impact that the festival makes on the local area. Electricity has been produced on the basis of used vegetable oil, etc. etc.
You might say that all of this is inadequate regarding to the million litres of kerosene that is burned to transport happy Boomers to the site... but in my opinion it's the message that counts. The people come for the party but - willing or not - they are experiencing the appliance of environment friendly practises, new-age theories and inside learning processes. These learnings they will bring to their home countries and these learnings will influence their future lives thus hopefully making our world a little better.

photo by sam@chaishop.comBesides of these idealistic targets Boom was also a great party. Six days of continues and pretty diverse music played from great sound systems on beautifully decorated floors allowed everyone to beat the beat in excess. The artists were not the top stars that we're used to from other big festivals but nethertheless there was excellent music for every taste. The main floor went a bit more back to Psytrance while the alternative stage (now called "Groovy Beach") has seen an upgrade in sound system, diversity and lineup. Here you could now listen to anything from Dubstep through Electro, Techno, House and even Funk and Soul. Also the acoustic stage (called "Sacred Fire") has been extended with bigger bands and stage and it's area made a perfect hangout even compatible for children. The chill out was an experience as usual and it's peninsular made a perfect relaxing place with many hangout platforms, sleeping places and even a fountain in the middle.
Another great moment was the fullmoon. Me and my friends were wondering for quite a time why there was a cloud stuck to the moon until realizing that we were actually witnessing a lunar eclipse. Finally this seemed like another suprise lined up by the Boom festival team!

photo by sam@chaishop.comThen on sunday afternoon the program of the main stage has been interrupted by a speech of one of the organisers: Diogo. He opened up that someone has died! A frenchman deceased by heart attack on the way to the hospital. I was deeply impressed that this death was mentioned to the whole party crowd as I'm not used to such news on a festival. Diogo continued that he believes a community such as ours should think about "the departure of this brother" and dance together for it. This death would be part of the live and death cycle and we should keep in mind that in every Boom there are some babies made as well. Last but not least Diogo called for respect for our own bodies and responsible use of substances.
Some might think that this subject doesn't belong to a party but I support the idea that good and bad experiences belong to a party as they belong to your every day life.

I went home a happy man and again I was sad that I missed so many interesting things at Boom. But I am content with what I have experienced and saturated with new ideas and tickles for my personal development. See you again in two years!

Author: jacobcrystaldog / Date: 14.11.2008 11:21:47

absolutly i agree with Lizard, the groovy beach was dominating the sacred fire and the liminal village, i didn't really like most the music from groovy beach but i still think its a good addition, but next time it should be placed somewhere different, or tured down. I remember being at the sacred fire which in my opinion is one of the best parts of boom. I would go to portugal just for the sacred fire if it was a festival all on its own, but i remember listening to a sitar player and you could hear very loud techno infecting the amazing area and music that was the sacred fire, not good! also i remember trying to watch a film in the liminal village and you could hear the groovy beach infecting that area as well, this is bad! but other than that because i arrived 2 days before boom gates open so i didn't have to be stuck with no water food in lines waiting to get in, it was awesome! i loved the natural feel of the place it diddnt feel like a festival it felt like a real village, I liked the fact that there wasnt loads of tacky fluro decor and to many unessasary lights it was completely organic natural with lots of plants, cob building and amazing land art like the giant hunab ku made with real grass on the side of the hill! also the green grass circles which made the banner of peace which smelled of herbs like lavender or something, But the 13 moon planet art network area was much smaller and out of the way this year than in 2006, this was strange as the decor of the festival was very much PAN (Planet art network) I would like to see this back in the liminal village as more of a feature of boom especially as we are leading up to 2012! The bridge was thinner and much less beautiful as the 2006 bridge was bamboo not metal, i dont even think this metal bridge was more practical as it needed repairs just as much as in 2006 if not more, as the festival went on they even decided to make it one way, which meant waiting for one side to clear before they could let people cross to the other, making the other side then wait! but still its good to have the bridge its useful to get around and its nice to walk over the water which is cooler with a breeze and fantastic veiw of the whole festival. so all in all Boom 2008 was Booming Psychedelic happy and i made some life long new friends so 2010 im there! One love

Author: sam / Date: 08.09.2008 19:13:00

I'd like to inform you that I have deleted one comment by Aaron vectorselector on his request that reached me by mail on Sep 7, 2008.

Author: victory_jo / Date: 03.09.2008 21:03:02

hi beautiful people from planet earth
we have been to the boomfestival for the second time
and have a kind of mixed feeling taken home that we would like to share with you
pls read our mail to the organizer:::

ola, after the very great boom 2006 experience the boom 2008 was more than just a disappointment
actually for our feeling it was the biggest fuck-up that we could experience during 15 years of tranceing around the world

here are some (major) reasons for the negative impression that we have taken home ...
-first was the major disasster that you have created at the entrane...
it took 17 hrs befor we were on the car parking,,most of the time waiting in the burning water, no food, no info why you performed so badly and we got victimized...
no fukkking nothing,, but the lies at you www..
on the www you have created the false impression that you learned from mistakes of the past and that you will increase the quailty...but the oppositie was true
2 years ago we arrived more or less the same time (10 am) as last in line and we were ready to party at about 3 pm...this time to took 17 hrs
all the excuses on you mail are far from the break down of the you know all with a prepaid ticket had to show their id-card and the id card had to have the same name as the prepaid ticket
actually the entrance could have been much faster without the computer because checking the barcode step was missing...
also the one way road reason is nonsense...the promissed improvements should have also avoid the one way problems.

also your www promised of a ferry service from the car parking to the camping/festival was not more than just a lie

the next big bummer was the missing decoration...
man this was suposed to be a psytrance event ....but instead of flouro, the domiant green-brown color and the more gothic than trance design of the mud houses created the impression of a village fiesta with a few ideotic flashing lights on the dance floor....
there was no deco on the festival what a ripp-off
and again on your www you where creating falses expections with using very nice words

with all the million of plastic plates and cups used we go the impression that your talk of new age and ecco friendlyness was just a marketing trick to justify

what is nice on this kind of parties is that one can meet all sorts of people
and when meeting and talking to very nice people from around the globe we found out that you are either not paying pople that are working for you or you exploid them with salleries that are of a lower niveau as precapitalists or feudal landlords,,
eg we spoke to somebody stupid enough to pay you a 120 euro deposit in order that you can be sure that this person will come and allow you to exploid him working everyday from 10 am till 8 pm
and we met somebody working several weeks for 12 hrs per day building up and you paid 15 euros per day

the only good thing for us is to know for sure that the money you earned with exploitation is what is known as rubbish money and according to ancient knowledge this money will be lost
you can be sure that all will be lost and nothing but a bad name will be left for you

it was sad for us to see that the boomfestival has changed from a friendly substance users paradise to a coke infested shithole...
everywhere we could see people using coke openly and we got harrased by coke dealers more than one time while the security turned a blind ey on this most distructive of all activities

we could go on for much longer telling you about the bad feeling that you have created......

and that the victims where nice and the dj's played good tunes most of time is nothing that you can book on your account or be proud off

Author: lizard / Date: 31.08.2008 18:08:22

Nice one Sam,
i totally agree with ur words. boom (team) has created a different reality, a world that many of us have problem sneaking into in out everyday life, but we all desperately need that 'perspective switch' ...

all the compliments for the Diego and the rest of the guys, and only one small comment about the groove stage. i liked the whole idea, and the music, but i think that sound of that stage was a dominating the whole festival area. was that coz its proximity to water? dunno, but i believe that it shouldn't be that loud. other than that, great job!!

Author: iguanna / Date: 29.08.2008 13:43:28

Hi sam :)
I subscribe everything you said.

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