Pulsating Psy Life In The UK

The complete story about Trance in the UK!

Author: Evy Magoulas
Date: Jun 23, 2005
Views: 3669

Pulsating Psy Life In The UK

In the beginning there was Doof, the Doof joined hands with the Doof and before anyone could question what was happening the almighty Doof Doof Doof Doof was born…

The UK has been pulsating to the sounds of all things psychedelic since the music and ideas where first brought back from Goa in the early 90s. Without letting our heads grow to big it’s safe to say the UK has been responsible for turning out some of the finest DJ’s, artists, parties and labels over the last decade. Spanning from the legendary UFO Club and TIP parties through to big club events like Megatripolis, Return To The Source and Escape From Samsara powered along by DJ’s and artists such as The Infinity Project, Hallucinogen, Mark Allen, Eat Static, Man With No Name … the list is endless! Anyway, without giving you too much of a history lesson here’s the guide:

When visiting the UK, chances are London will be high on your priorities. London is a massive, sprawling urban mass that plays host to cultures and people from just about every imaginable corner of the globe, all wrapped up in shiny concrete. If you want to get plugged directly into the London trance scene then head straight to Camden, an area that plays host to two key trance shops, the Psychedelic Dream Temple which is located in the famous Camden Market and features a café, music store, book shop and a good starting point to find out about both underground and overground events. Secondly, located just a short distance away is Access All Areas, which is more than just a party shop. Here the visiting traveller can get all the information on what is happening on the psy scene in London and beyond delivered with a personal touch. The staff have time to chat to you about what is on, where is good, how to get there - so it’s a good place to head to make an informed decision about what to do. Alongside party flyers you’ll also find political, environmental and drug awareness information. There are also numerous clothes shops aimed at the trancer including Hexagon and Cyberdog, both of which are located in Camden market. Whilst on things to see, alongside London’s numerous landmarks Portobello market is also a great place to check out. Stretching from Notting Hill Gate to Ladbroke Grove it’s home to some funky shops and bars.

Party-wise, London is bursting with events to cater for both the ‘underground’ and ‘overground’ scenes. The regular major overground parties to check out are Antiworld, a massive multi room party featuring psy through to London techno, chill out and tech house and a real ‘indoor festival’ type vibe. Chichime, currently London’s longest running psy party, currently running bi monthly parties and co promoted by DJ Kristian. Synergy, a multi room event featuring full on, progressive and chill sounds and Fairy Tales who are focused on providing safe party environments and cutting edge live acts and DJ’s all with excellent residents as well as bringing in a whole host of international talent over to compliment the UK talent. There’s also a whole host one off events and smaller club nights that are equally worth seeking out.

London also has a very healthy underground scene with some weekends seeing three or more underground parties taking place across the city. As these parties are illegal, they are not restrained by the UK licensing laws (that means no finishing at 6am, you can dance well into the next day and beyond!) and the talent at these events ranges from up and coming artists through to well known DJs usually for a very small entry charge. As fun as this might sound, it is worth taking note that the London underground scene has become diluted with some bad elements who due to the illegality of the events have been able to gain entry to some parties creating trouble, hassling girls and at worse, attacking people. That is not to say you will definitely find trouble at these events but it is worth baring this fact in mind. Be aware, be safe and don’t leave personal belongings lying around. Again, ask in the shops mentioned to find out what is recommended and what is not!

Outside of London there’s a good trance scene spread around the country so which ever way you decide to head, a party is never far away. For example, in the north of England you have Planet Zogg located in Sheffield providing full on trance, world music and chill out, moving into the middle of England you’ll find the very healthy Baraka parties located in Oxford which come strongly recommended by those that attend. Floating over to the West you’ll find Tribe Of Frog in Bristol. Alongside their legendary parties, their décor is inspired and has graced many festivals and parties across the globe. Head down South to Brighton and you’ll find another hotbed of psychedelic happenings, not only is it home to many DJ’s and artists on the scene but it also has a very healthy indoor and outdoor party scene. If you venture down, hook up with the Ajuca Productions crew at their shop called Ajucabox in the North Lanes area of the town and they’ll happily sort you out with a definitive guide to what’s going on in the area. Clubs and parties in Brighton include Party Possible, Insight Dynamiks, Enzyme and Psychedelic Cookie.  

The UK has two key festivals to watch out for, but saying that the summer is rammed week in, week out with festivals catering for just about every music persuasion. The Glade Festival is the UK’s only legal outdoor psy party, which kicked off for the first time last year in Southern England with 6,000 party people rocking for 3 days. This year sees The Glade Festival return with 7 stages for 3 days on 15th July, so hopefully the weather should be ok!

Also worth noting for any travelling party person is the Glastonbury Festival, an event so big and diverse in nature, when up and running it is actually the size of a small town and there really is no other festival experience like it in the world. The Nano Records crew will be in charge of providing the psychedelic beats, and this year promises to see more psychedelic activity there than ever before. This festival normally takes place on the last weekend of June, tickets do sell out months in advance so if you’re planning a trip to the UK DO keep an eye on their website.

The summer period (May – Sept) is also prime time for the underground party crews to set up ‘free’ events in the beautiful English countryside (as long as the weather holds out!) These range from small intimate gatherings through too much larger events with tribes travelling from all over the UK to attend. Two years ago regular outdoor gatherings were taking place on a weekly basis largely without any problems, but last year the police decided to be as disruptive as possible so we wait and see if they will leave us alone in 2005.

One to point out is The Little Green Planet who have been running a party to celebrate the start of the summer party season around June time for the last couple of years. For other outdoor parties, sound systems or events you’ll need to keep your eyes and ears open in shops, parties and also the Internet.

Another way to start summer in the UK is to attend the summer solstice, which takes place on the longest day of the year (around the 21st/22nd June) at Stonehenge monument near Salisbury in the South West. Having been built around 2000BC by Neolithic man, the monument comprising of a series of gigantic stones that create a geometric stone circle that many believe has mystical an healing properties. For the most of the year the general public are not aloud to enter the stones, but on the summer solstice you are allowed complete access. Last year saw some 20,000+ attend to welcome in sunrise.

Onto the UK acts/ DJ’s and artists. As mentioned at the beginning the UK has given the world with some legendary artists, so here we’ll focus on those not so well known outside of the country, ok and a few you might already know! Listen out for the likes of Kristian, Eskimo, EVP, Tristan, OOOD, Chris Organic, John Phantasm, Vlado, Metaphase and Compressor.


Date: Jun 23, 2005
Text: Evy Magoulas, Tom Real
Photos: Jonny Ladd, Eyal Yankovich
Taken from: The Trancers Guide to the Galaxy 2005



The UK is a leading trading power and financial centre of the world, which has an essentially capitalist economy… one of the largest of Western Europe.

Because of its location and other economic factors London has always been one of the most important cities for music in the world from rock & roll to punk to acid house to drum and bass to trip hop. London’s vibrant scene has always played a pivotal role in developing these scenes.

VJ’ing is an important side of the UK scene and has grown into an art form in itself, with many events springing up around the country focusing solely on mixing image. If visiting London check the monthly VJ Culture events at the ICA (www.ica.org.uk)

Drugs are illegal in the UK. Cannabis is currently being reclassified so as long as you’re not blowing smoke in a policeman’s face, your stash will be confiscated and you’ll receive a slap on the wrist. Other party drugs are relatively easy to find but if you are caught in possession (depending on the quantities) you will either receive an official police caution and/ or a prison sentence/ possible fine. It’s kind of chilled over here and people do forget they are illegal but be careful.

Essential travel resources can be found at the following websites:

UK Cities (www.ukcities.co.uk) offering a variety of useful resources for every city in the UK

UK Travel Guide (www.justuk.org) contains a complete guide to England for travellers





Evy Magoulas


Filmmaker and lover of the progressive trance sound

‘Visualisation equals manifestation’


Tom Real


Electro, house and breaks DJ/ producer, party promoter and part time journalist with an avid passion for all things psy

‘Life’s to short to be narrow minded people’


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